To bring awareness to the current #EndSARS Movement in Nigeria and the poor economic conditions Nigerians, Africans, and Africans in the diaspora endure with police brutality, Washington, D.C.’s Nikki Billie Jean and All Things Ankara, her ankara print fashion and entertainment brand, has produced a Tiwa Savage 49-99-inspired campaign.
The campaign was released just in time for Halloween and many said it was the perfect time to bring awareness to the ongoing conversation on broader reforms for Nigerians.
The #EndSARS campaign is a collaboration between African and Caribbean creatives from Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Haiti. It was executively produced and creatively directed by Jean (Nicolette Orji) who also designed and styled the models. Troy Massa was the creative director, and the project was managed by Jasmine Ngegba with assistance from Nicholas Orji.
Nigerian models, who are some of the top influencers in the African fashion and entertainment industry, were enlisted for the project.
The popular phrase 49-99 is a phrase coined by Fela Kuti in his 1978 hit song, “Shuffering and Shmiling”, which refers to the tribulations of an average Nigerian. 49-99 refers to a transit bus, known in Nigeria as a molué, which originally seats a maximum of 49 passengers, according to a statement released by Jean.
However, the bus often has twice that number (99 passengers) which mirrors the poor economic conditions prevalent in Nigeria. It also shows the economic growth disparity where the rich get richer and the poor, poorer.
During her 49-99 London listening party last year, Tiwa said, “I wanted my first global single to have a message that we are suffering and smiling, and music is a powerful tool. I wanted a title which could be a conversation starter…”.
“The song encourages the young to put down the sense of inheritance and work for what they desire in life, for a better tomorrow. We can’t sit on our old glories and expect things to change for the better.”
Tiwa has seen the campaign and reacted on social media, saying, “It must have taken so much to re-create this. Truly appreciate it. Thank you! “