Teni the Entertainer has been the one to watch since she burst onto the music scene last year. Back to back hits later, Teni’s star status is cemented and she sits down with Vogue magazine for a revealing interview.
Teni has been one of the most joyful additions of the pop culture scene in recent times. With her infectious personality and stunning smile, Teni has worked her way into the hearts of everyone. Sister of singer Niniola, the mega-talented songstress Teni has already given us hits like ‘Uyo Meyo’, ‘Askamya’ and ‘Case’. As she releases the visuals for her latest hit ‘Sugar Mummy’, Teni sits down with Vogue’s Fashion News director Chioma Nnadi to talk about living life without limits and redefining what it means to be a woman.
Our Homecoming was arguably one of the biggest events over Easter with a variety of starts including Skepta, Rema and Teni the Entertainer headlining the sold-out concert. Chioma got the opportunity to catch up with Teni over the jam- packed weekend. Talking about the visuals for Teni’s upcoming project, Chioma writes, ”Teasers for her upcoming “Sugar Mummy” video are all over her Instagram account, each one more audacious than the next. There she is, decked out in traditional Nigerian pink lace, a bedazzled fascinator perched atop her signature durag like a crown. Another clip features Apata casually swinging off the side of one of Lagos’s distinctive yellow danfo buses, dressed in a black T-shirt, jeans, and a towering cobalt blue headwrap, or gele. The aesthetic lies somewhere between streetwise cool kid and soigné West African auntie, and somehow hits just the right note.”
Speaking about the title of her new single, Teni reveals, “I want to make ‘Sugar Mummy’ a positive term. She is a woman with swag, who looks good, who is proud to be different.” It’s that pride, that refusal to conform that has set Teni in a different lane to her peers. Pushing against the sexy narrative and choosing to be unapologetically herself, Teni has already redefined what it means to be a woman and marched to the beat of her own drum.
Teni continues, “There’s an assumption that women have to look a certain way to be feminine, but I don’t want to conform to that stereotype,” she says. “My thing is this: You don’t get to decide how I choose to live my life. I’m being me—respect that. UGA, the university I went to, was mostly PWI—that’s short for a predominantly white institution. I remember someone even asked me if I had elephants in my backyard, it was wild. The other students would look at me crazy when I showed up to class in traditional dress, too. But you know that’s who I am. That’s my culture. If you can wear your blue jeans, I can wear this.”
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As well as being a talented singer, Teni is also somewhat of a comedienne, thrilling her 1m Instagram fans with hilarious skits. She reveals the moment she realised that whatever she was doing, she was doing it right when her videos helped save a life. “This girl was on the verge of committing suicide, so I immediately got her number and reached out to her. She explained that watching my funny Instagram videos had kept her going. It was in that moment that I realized how powerful my influence can be. If I can be a source of hope and joy to somebody, then I’m doing something right.”
Vogue-certified, if you were in any doubt of Teni’s influence, it has just been confirmed. Getting the international recognition she so deserves, it seems we are only witnessing the beginning of Teni’s colourful story.