Ten influential black dynasty families in pop culture
In the arts sphere, there are people who call or used to call the shots. Jackson Onyango looks at some of the most powerful players of the African descent in entertainment.
1. Kibukosyas (Kenya)
Musically speaking, the Kibukosyas are Kenya’s first family. With the first of them Peter Kibukosya among five people lending a hand to write the country’s national anthem as the chairman of Kenya Music Festival, then followed his only son Gido Kibukosya, a musical genius.
Gido was an instrumentalist and a mix engineer who started one of the country’s pioneering record labels Samawati Studios, the first digital recording music studio in Kenya.
Of Gido’s five children, son Marcus Kibukosya was the anchor producer to popular Kenyan pop band Camp Mulla, a fresh group nominated for a BET Award in 2012, who worked with African heavyweights such as Wizkid, M.anifest and Just A Band, among others.
2. The Simmons (US)
Consisting of Danny, Russell and Joseph Simmons, they are one of the world’s most ubiquitous families in popular culture.
Music mogul brothers Russell and Joseph (popularised Run) are hip-hop royalty, whereas abstract painter Danny is held in high acclaim in the fine-art world.
The three brothers from Queens, New York, are woven in the music, media, fashion, and media trades.
In their own right, they have each led a flourishing family turnover through their skills and crafts.
Russell, 63, co-founded revolutionary hip-hop record company Def Jam Records alongside Rick Rubin, Danny auctions in-depth neo-expressionist art, while Joseph is a lead-artiste for iconic hip-hop group Run DMC.
Combined, their net worth is at US$500 million (Sh50 billion) according to Forbes.
3. Adenugas (UK)
Joseph Sr and Ify Adenuga are the parents to one of British’s most powerful art exports.
Skepta, JME, Jason and Julie are idolised in contemporary culture for their roles in music, broadcast, and visual arts.
For Joseph and Ify, they survived and eventually fled a war-torn Nigeria in the 60s to start a new and almost desolate life in London.
This convalescence led to Ify and Joseph Sr working minimum-wage jobs to make ends meet and raise their four children in the 80s.
Today, Joseph Sr is an accomplished architect, Ify is a businesswoman and author, while Skepta and JME are decorated MCs in UK’s grime music scene.
Jason is a well sought for graphic designer and music producer, while Julie is a marauding broadcaster for Apple and YouTube.
4. Otedolas (Nigeria)
The third richest man in Nigeria Femi Otedola at US$1.2 billion (Sh120 billion) has three daughters in showbiz; fashion blogger Temilade, deejay and producer Florence Otedola aka Cuppy, and Christine Otedola aka Tolani.
The petroleum, real estate and imports tycoon has a last-born son Fewa who keeps a low profile.
Fewa is diagnosed with Autism, while Christine isn’t as popular as her other sisters.
Temi is dating Afrobeats superstar Mr Eazi, therein Cuppy is a successful DJ and record producer with a Masters in Music from New York University. In September 2020, the billionaire dad bought all his daughters brand new Ferraris as gifts.
5. The Jacksons (US)
The Jacksons are among the brightest and most impactful families in pop culture and entertainment.
Exploding to fame in the 60s in the Motown era, the Jackson 5 blew the minds of many people during that golden era.
When Michael Jackson went into a sense of self-awakening and took over music and acting in the late 70s, he peaked when he showed his business acumen acquiring the music catalogue of ATV Music for US$41.5 million (Sh4.15 billion) in 1985 owning half of Sony Music Entertainment, including The Beatles’ music catalogue.
Sony Corporation would later purchase half of the catalogue in 2016 for US$750 million (Sh75 billion) and later US$287.5 million (Sh28.7 billion) for the remainder in 2018 adding up to just over US$1 billion (Sh100 billion) going to the Jackson Estate.
6. Ngxokolos (South Africa)
African luxury wear is not unorthodox anymore thanks to brands such as South Africa’s Maxhosa by Laduma, a high-end couture company run by Laduma Ngxokolo and family.
During his humble childhood in Port Elizabeth, Laduma’s late mother exposed him to knitting early, telling him “a sewing machine is more important than a TV”.
The trickle-down effect to her children is an inspiring one. Laduma is a creative designer, Lilhe is manager, Mghaliso the accountant, and Tina the designer, and together they founded a design house, factory, and flagship store in Cape Town’s Water Front Mall.
Their bespoke pieces range from Sh30,000 to Sh200,000. They have been featured in the New York Fashion Week, worn by Beyoncé, and hailed by high-fashion greats including Zara.
7. Knowles (US)
Beyoncé and Solange Knowles are two powerful black women that have managed to remain untainted by the treacherous Hollywood politics and scandals mania.
The two sisters started as teenagers both managed by dad Matthew Knowles, have unequivocally had seminal contributions through music, acting, charity, business, fashion, and voluntary work around the globe.
The Knowles girls’ combined worth is estimated at US$409 million (Sh40.9 billion).
8. The Okoyes (Nigeria)
The wealthiest African musicians Peter and Paul Okoye (P-Square) atrociously split ways in 2017 following a dispute.
Even so, the duo that began their music career in 2003 has represented Africa, breaking boundaries and winning multiple awards.
They boast of a luxurious lifestyle that includes private jets, mansions and fleets of supercars to say the least.
Forbes estimates their wealth to be about US$150 million (Sh15 billion) from music and business ventures.
9. The Balls (US)
The Ball family is steady growing a legacy that will be remembered in time to come. With business and sports savvy oozing in their DNA, they are excelling on and off the court.
Former football player dad Lavar Ball has three sons Lonzo, Lamelo and LiAngelo that are all touted as hot prospects by National Basketball Association (NBA) analysts and pundits.
Lamelo was the NBA Draft 2020 first pick by basketball great Michael Jordan and his franchise, Charlotte.
Businesswise, they have two companies; Big Baller Brand that designs sports apparel, and Junior Basketball League an official B-League for youngsters projected to produce NBA superstars besides the traditional college basketball route.