Actor, director and owner of Kelechnekoff dance fitness studio, Kelechi Okafor was made to move and inspire movement, both literally and figuratively. Citing “facilitating the empowerment of other women” as what brings her joy in her work, the Lagos-born, London-bred Okafor knew she had a progressive spirit early in her childhood. “I had always felt the passion to be amongst others, impacting change.” The self-described fitness badass and twerk innovator is currently working on an e-book, gearing up to direct several short plays and facilitating a Twerking as Self-Care workshop during WOW—Women of the World festival at Southbank Centre in London this month. WOW celebrates women and explores ways to ensure they can hurdle the stumbling blocks in their way; an issue close to Okafor’s heart. “I’m passionate about any issue that involves the subjugation of Black women.” She looks to dance as a way of communicating things for which she has no words, and sees twerking as a way of mending the soul. “Dance to me is a form of healing, and I think this is probably another reason why it resonates with so many women...” she told BBC.
But she also understands that the battle women fight for complete autonomy won’t be won alone. Never having a mentor herself, the upliftment of other women is meaningful to Okafor. “As I grow, I understand the importance of support and guidance,” she explains. “They say if you want to go somewhere fast, go alone but if you want to go further, go together. This is where we are now. There are many African women doing incredible things as individuals but the power of community is that our reach will be far greater and sustainable as a collective.” Next up on her goals list is marrying the power of community with her passions. “My biggest aspiration is to open my own performing arts school...I also want to create the film adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s novel Wild Seed.”