Nicolette Orji, popularly known as Nikki Billie Jean, debuted her new fashion campaign on Saturday which is also an #EndSARS call-to-action. The campaign is a remake of Nigerian singer, Tiwa Savage’s "49-99" music video and calls for continued dialogue about the current injustices taking place in Nigeria.
Orji the the founder of All Things Ankara and since 2015, when a photo of singer Jidenna wearing apparel from her collection went viral, her company has been tagged as a source for ankara print and fashion. She went on to create fashion campaigns depicting celebrities like Jidenna, Cardi B., Yemi Alade, Akon, and model Cynthia Bailey. Her work has also been spotted on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Forbes.
"Growing up in America as a first-generation Nigerian-American, I have always been aware of the common problem both countries have with police brutality and I can no longer afford to be silent," Orji said. "The #EndSars movement has become another iteration of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and it's important, now more than ever, for Nigerian-Americans to also support and speak up for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria."
Videographer, Wale Olawoyin
Orji's #EndSARS fashion campaign video references how Nigerians are suffering yet smiling at the same time and the #EndSARS movement highlights the reality of this suffering, said Orji.
The phrase 49-99, coined by Fela Kuti in his 1978 hit song, “Shuffering and Shmiling,” refers to a transit bus known in Nigeria as a molué. The bus originally seats a maximum of 49 passengers but often has twice that number, 99 said Orji. It is a direct reflection of the country's economic conditions and the life many Nigerians endure.
When Tiwa Savage saw the remake video of her song on Twitter, she appreciated it. "It must have taken so much to re-create this," Tiwa commented on Orji's post. "Thank you!"
Original Tiwa Savage 49-99 video