Hysteria here and controversies there, 2019 is surely a year that has it all. From Burna Boy’s 2020 Grammy nominations to Tonto Dikeh and Olakunle Churchill’s post-divorce face-off. There is no doubt that the year has witnessed several spectacular moments and showbiz scandals alike in a manner that saw entertainers make the headlines.
Here is the 2019 list of the top talked-about Nigerian Celebrities:
Calling 2019 Burna Boy’s year won’t amount to exaggeration. The award-winning singer arguably shattered the records of the country’s entertainment scene, making him a topic of discourse in several showbiz reviews.
It all started with his Coachella face-off after his name was written in small fonts, a development which birthed the ‘African Giant’ album, his award-winning project that sums up his remarkable 2019 ride.
As if these weren’t enough, the Afrofusion singer snagged a nomination for the 2020 Grammys’ ‘Best International Album’ category — ahead of January, when the event is billed to hold.
His rapidly blossoming relationship with Steflon Don, a British rapper, with whom he claims he intends raising a child, spiced up Burna’s year with a twinge of romance.
But the narrative momentarily turned sour after rumours spread that the duo broke up. Burna also enraged South Africans after he took a critical stance in reaction to xenophobic attacks on Nigerians.
This had resulted in the cancellation of a diplomatic show the singer was initially billed to headline after he had failed to apologize and retract his swear-laden words which included a threat to boycott South Africa.
The 29-year-old singer went berserk and vowed he’ll get justice after learning that a fan who attended his recently held ‘Starboy Fest’ was gunned to death by an irate police officer after a heated argument near the venue.
Beyond the tragedy, Wizkid had caused a buzz after he announced he would be getting married in 2020 — on the heels of his short-lived altercation with his manager, who doubles as the mother of one of his children.
He also got fans talking on account of his repeated romantic stunts with Tiwa Savage, a 39-year-old Afrobeats singer, which has severally involved butt smacking, stage kissing, and other intimate displays.
His nominations, award wins, career strides and record-breaking collabs have seen him own his 2019 — although he had piqued fans after failing to release his long-announced album, even after a protracted hiatus.
From welcoming a child with Chioma to the marriage proposal that saw Chris Brown, American rapper, asks to be on his “bridegroom train,” Davido has severally dominated talks with his romantic gestures.
Ahead of their 2020 wedding ceremony, the 27-year-old had caused a buzz among fans after he declined a seductive dance with Megan The Stallion in a move that saw many conclude he has “respect for his fiance.”
But beyond romance, Davido recorded increased global presence, having competed with Taylor Swift collaborated with Chris Brown, joined forces with other global stars, and made laudable career strides.
Fans, however, rained curses on the singer after he failed to appear at a Jos show he was billed to headline.
He also suffered backlash for arresting and parading two Nigerian ladies who accused him of impregnating them.
Among other well-discussed achievements, Davido emerged the richest Nigerian on Instagram on Hopper HQ Indices just as he made his Hollywood debut in ‘Coming to America 2’.
Naira Marley, a Nigerian street singer also known as Azeez Fashola, is proof that controversies could sometimes be tickets to fame. From obscurity, 2019 saw the 25-year-old top Google’s 2019 most trending searches in Nigeria.
He has been in a legal battle with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) ever since he was arrested for his controversial 2019 track and social media comments alleged to have upheld cybercrime.
In addition to the 11-count charges of “conspiracy, possession of counterfeit credit cards, and fraud” on him, the EFCC had said it retrieved more evidence against the singer after a forensic probe on his belongings.
The 28-year-old singer, who rode to stardom on the back of the protracted controversy, was also recently alleged to have been involved in car theft, an allegation he dismissed.
Yet Marley has amassed a deluge of diehard fans, including both old and young, who parade themselves as Marlians such that a tweet of his containing just a dot amassed over 14,600 likes, 1,700 comments, and 1,900 retweets in hours.
Chronicling a listicle of the most-talked-about Nigerian celebrities of 2019 without mentioning Regina Daniels would most likely attract criticisms, no matter who spins it. Her marriage to Ned Nwoko, a Nigerian politician and businessman, continues to be an issue that has attracted heated criticisms, discussions, and even banters on social media.
But that hardly meant anything to the couple beyond serving a luxury ride to more fame. It was no surprise that she emerged the most searched actor on Google’s 2019 most trending searches in Nigeria.
In October, the movie star revealed in an interview that her “stubborn” nature had made her opt for someone who’s older than her. This came as her mother hedged that she did so because she had always wanted to marry early.
Dikeh’s face-off with Olakunle Churchill, her ex-husband, was unarguably one of the most heated controversies that rocked the outgoing year and saw her dominate discussions across social media platforms.
From branding Churchill an internet fraudster to claiming he only lasts “40 seconds in bed,” 2019 saw the mother of one bare it all on her rocky union with the tech mogul in a three-part video dubbed “The Evidence”.
Outside her marital outbursts, Dikeh also made headlines when she claimed that the best part of her body is her private part.
Yet, indications have shown that 2020 could be another interesting year to watch out for as the actress’ formidable partnership with Bobrisky had hit a crucial milestone. Are we up for more dramatic combos? Time will tell!
It certainly won’t be nice to end the list without including the internet personality and cross-dresser, whose knack for controversies knows no boundary.
In 2019, the 27-year-old Snaptchat celebrity, often referred to as “male Barbie doll,” paraded himself as Nigeria’s first transgender amid claims that he severed his genitals.
He also debuted a movie ‘Bobrisky in Love’, which was investigated on homosexuality suspicions. He took centre stage in August when the Lagos police deployed over 100 operatives to venues of his birthday to prevent a potential breach of public peace.
While the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) described him as a “national disaster,” several human rights groups issued a statement to protest the alleged threat and harassment on his person.
He was later involved in a fight with an irate youth who brushed his vehicle, pounced on him and smashed his iPhone when he attempted taking pictures of the offender’s plate number ahead of legal actions.