In The Making, Longlist - Branded
Shortlist - Branded

WhatsApp Expressions / Naija Spirit: Tobe

Dumas Haddad

Chelsea Pictures

To celebrate Nigerian Independence Day, WhatsApp tapped three music artists and three illustrators to create a series of stickers to use on the messaging platform. Called “Naija Spirit,” the new range of 29 visuals pay homage to the country, known as the Giant of Africa, by bringing together emerging visual artists with globally-renowned musicians who are giants of Africa in their own right. Naturally, each pairing collaborated via WhatsApp to bring to life the themes of rhythm, optimism and determination — traits that are at the core of their culture and their own practices. To fuel inspiration for the stickers, each musical talent shared personal stories that relate to their particular theme to foster a meaningful connection to the illustrator and his or her designs. Singer and rapper Tobe Nwigwe tapped into optimism for his partnership with Ohab TBJ, marking the first time the Houston-based musician worked with a fellow Nigerian — a longtime goal of his. Holistically, the talent represents the Nigerian diaspora across three countries and continents, including the US, UK and Nigeria. It’s a testament to the global appeal of WhatsApp and its ability to create conversation in every corner of the world. A new short film showcases this, highlighting the collaboration and dialogue between the creative pairings and the bond they formed from their shared roots and vision. “The energy of Nigeria is fueled by connection and it was exciting for us to take this moment to celebrate Nigeria and the creativity that the connection of Nigerians brings to the world,” says Vivian Odior, head of global brand and integrated Marketing at WhatsApp. “No matter where Nigerians live, they showcase resilience, determination and a sense of pride and connection to Nigeria.”

Dumas Haddad is a director and photographer raised in London who has developed his craft from the worlds of fashion, music & bleeding edge culture. Crossing over from the music industry, his work elicits powerful uses of analogies and on-the-pulse narrative and character underpinnings. Focused on storytelling and dramatic action, his desire to reframe contemporary culture represents a rising generation of filmmakers that are trying to transform both today and tomorrow’s voices. Dumas’ accolades include Film 4, Kinsale Shark Awards, Vimeo Staff Pick, Berlin Commercial and 1.4 On The Cusp of Greatness selection.