Last summer when JAY-Z and Beyoncé surprise dropped the visuals for their single “Apeshit,” it was Nigerian-British and award-winning filmmaker Jenn Nkiru who was to thank. As the second unit visionary behind the groundbreaking video, Nkiru shook Black culture with her brilliance.
However, her work extends far beyond the Beyhive’s stamp of approval. In addition to her work with The Carters, she has also directed captivating music videos for Kamasi Washington and Neneh Cherry. Her most celebrated project, Rebirth Is Necessary, is a short film that encapsulates her thoughts and dream-like visions of Black universality. "Creating this piece felt like therapy,” the MFA film graduate of Howard University said of the project to Nowness. “It's where I got to reconcile my worlds—the material and the spiritual, the human and divine. This film is jazz; black magic in motion. I hope it can be a source of inspiration, affirmation, and healing to others as it has been to me, especially the Black diaspora.”
Named one of the 200 women redefining the creative industries in 2018 by The Dots and one of the 100 global Creative Superheroes shaping culture by Utopia in 2018, Nkiru hopes her radically artful offerings will help Black youth explore ideas and push thought processes forward. “I want my work to encourage audiences to ask questions,” she told The Drum. “Nothing is for sure. Everything can and is to be questioned if we want to move forward.”