PAPER Magazine is out with its 2019 predictions list, a list that spotlights the 100 people taking over their different industries.

The list spans across every aspect of pop culture — music, film, art, activism, social media, fashion, beauty — for fresh new faces that are about to look a whole lot more familiar.

See the African game-changers that made the 2019 cut below



I am a musician, actor and author. 2018 was quite a big year for me, so it’s difficult to choose one thing. I’m going to list three: 1) Released my album You Will Not Die everywhere except North America. It’s coming out on the 22nd of February 2) Won the “FIPRESCI Prize for the Best Actor in a Foreign Language Film” at Palm Springs International Film Festival 3) Realized a dream: Played on Jools Holland. I’ve watched that show since I was a teenager. I’m writing for my next album, and as pleasurable as that is, it’s always a wrestling match. You Will Not Die being released in North America is fucking amazing.

Little Simz

I create art. I’m proud of the completion of my third album. Finding the time to take a holiday.
What do you think will be your biggest opportunity in 2019? Only God knows…

Layla Saad

I am Layla Saad and I’m a writer, speaker, podcast host and racial justice advocate. I am an East African, Arab, British, Black, Muslim woman who was born and grew up in the West (United Kingdom), who lives in the East (Qatar), while sharing my work with a global audience. My work explores the intersections of race, feminism, spirituality and leadership. I am the author of the “Me And White Supremacy Workbook,” which is a first-of-its-kind personal anti-racism tool for people holding white privilege to begin to examine and dismantle their complicity in the oppressive system of white supremacy.

Laetitia Ky

My name is Laetitia Ky and I’m 22. I was born in Côte d’Ivoire where I live. I consider myself a polyvalent artist and activist. I do a lot of things. My principal art is sculpting my braids into a lot of shapes. I do it to spread a message of self-love and self-confidence, tolerance and equality of gender. I also design clothes! All my big features. A lot of big magazines and media highlighted me in 2018 and it gave me a lot of strength and courage. It helped me to touch more people and because my art is political, to help more people. It’s hard! There are so many things I want to achieve in 2019! Principally maybe find a way to move to L.A. I think from there I’ll be able to achieve move things than from here.

Shay Lia

I’m Shay Lia, a 25-year-old artist based in Montréal. I’m French Djiboutian, I was born in France and I grew up in Djibouti (east Africa) before moving to Montreal Canada 7 years ago. What do you do?I’m a soul/R&B singer songwriter. My most popular songs right now are my collabs for both Kaytranada’s projects. Leave me alone on his debut album and more recently “Chances” on his Ep with Ty Dolla $ign. I work a lot with Kaytra but also with STWO, Sango et BadBadNotGood. I finished 2018 with the release of my song “The Cycle” then immediately after “Chances” with Kay and this year i put out one more single then my debut EP! The fact I got more professional with all of this. I was putting music out on soundcloud just for the fun of it while I was at school but, i really decided to make this my job. I feel like my team and i, managed to build the foundation upon which i can build a real career for 2019.


I’m Masego. What do you do? Create.
What are you most proud of from 2018? My band traveling with me on my headline tours.
What do you think will be your biggest challenge in 2019? Texting back in a timely matter.
What do you think will be your biggest opportunity in 2019? My band living with me in the TrapHouseJazz Mansion.

Isaac West

I am Isaac West. I’m Liberian, born in Liberia and raised in Ghana. What do you do? I am a photographer and creative director. I direct music visuals and short mini films as well. All my photography is directed and edited by me; moreover, 80% of my photographs are style by me. I am very hands on and detail-oriented. There are numerous of things I am proud of from 2018; however, I am mostly proud of the inspiration I have become to others. I get lot of people from all walks of life, race, creed and gender telling me how my photography has influenced them and how it affected their life. They all have great stories, which I cherish. To honest I really don’t know what that challenge is, but I can assure you, I am prepared. I’m speaking it into existence right now because I believe whatever energy you put into the universe is the same energy you are going to get back, and also life is in the tongue. In 2019, I will be represented by the biggest creative agency in the country, I will photograph the cover for PAPER one day, and I will get to work with Vogue and Rihanna.

Olivia Anakwe

I am a model and student studying Psychology Pre-Med. 2018 was really productive for me and for that I am grateful. I’m most proud of being one of the faces of the Marc Jacobs Beauty Shameless Campaign, Miu Miu spring 2018 Campaign, on the cover of Tush Magazine, walking for Burberry spring 2019, opening Yohji Yamamoto spring 2019, and being a part of the Miu Miu Holiday 2018 Video Campaign. This is the year of positivity and good energy for me so my biggest challenge will involve combatting negative energies, fears and doubts. The biggest opportunity is traveling and meeting people from all over the world. I just want to continue to work with incredible artists and I’m really hoping to go to some new, exciting destinations this year!

Adebayo Oke-Lawal

My name is Adebayo Oke-Lawal. 28-years-old and from the beautiful country Nigeria *pageantvoice*. I am the creative director of Nigerian based androgynous menswear brand “Orange Culture,” a brand I started eight years ago. 2018 was quite a turbulent year for me. A lot of ups and downs. A few come to mind: being a Nigeria-based brand recognized by the CFDA; being the first African brand to be nominated for the CFDA; being on Forbes 30 Under 30 Africa; my spring 2019 collection has been my favorite collection in a long time; getting more involved in the fight against abuse which is something I’ve talked about in previous collections and in my counseling programs with young people. I’ve been self-funded for the past 8 years and we are considering opening the business to investors; that is one of the trickiest dynamics to handle.
What do you think will be your biggest opportunity in 2019? Retail globalization and so much more. I believe that so much greatness is coming in 2019 for my brand Orange Culture and for myself as a person. On a lighter note, I could start dating. Orange Culture might finally allow me to get into a relationship.

See the full list on

Illustration by Austin Call (@Duhrivative)