Photography Oluwapelumi Andikan Edwin

Inside Homecoming, Nigeria's buzziest festival

Last weekend, thousands of revellers descended on Lagos for a celebration of Africa's hottest music, fashion and art. Here's what went down.

by Ekow Barnes
|
22 April 2022, 4:21pm

Photography Oluwapelumi Andikan Edwin

If you were in Lagos last weekend, you’d have been forgiven for thinking that New Year’s Eve had come early – it hadn’t, of course; the cause for the rapturous celebrations that lit up Nigeria’s cultural capital was in fact the return of Homecoming, the three-day festival that stretched across the Easter weekend. A vibrant melee of music, art and fashion, the event was originally conceived in 2017 by Nigerian-born and London-based cultural connector Grace Ladoja, the co-founder of Metallic Inc. A platform for cultural exchange, it offers a vital opportunity for Africans – both on the continent and in the global diaspora – to return to their roots; a way to “take the world to Africa and Africa to the world,” she says. 

Since its inception, Homecoming has cultivated a proud reputation as one of the biggest and best parties Lagos has to offer, with this year as no exception. From intimate parties to arena-sized gigs, it’s known as the place to see Africa’s music titans and hottest rising talents. Kicking off the first physical iteration since the pandemic was a welcome shindig attended by a veritable who’s who of the contemporary African music scene, with Lojay, Teezee, Black Sherif and Odunsi The Engine all among the guests. It served as a beautiful prologue to the main live shows, which took place the next day. Set against the backdrop of a star-strewn sky, Lagos Harbour Point brimmed with the energy of showgoers jamming in full force to everyone from Rema to Deto Black, Fireboy DML to London drill star Central Cee.

 Beyond the rave, the festival was also a fete of creative ideas. Panels on themes including content creation, collaboration, music production and more were held in collaboration with TikTok and The Orchard, with members of the continent’s youth coming together to exchange ideas on how to move the needle forward, and bring Africa’s white-hot talent to the world. “African fashion and music is happening now,” said Joey Lit, the founder of streetwear brand Free The Youth. “It’s about time that the Western world embraced young talents from Africa,” he continued, echoing a sentiment felt ubiquitously across Homecoming. 

HC22 Editorial_07_©Danielle Mbonu.jpg
Photography Danielle Mbonu

Where this perhaps made itself felt most strongly was on the fashion side of things. A vital incubator for young African fashion talents, Homecoming has played a key role in supporting and launching the careers of some of the Nigerian scene’s flagship names – think: Mowalola, Motherlan, Vivendii. After previously collaborating with institutions like Browns to bring the country’s design talent to a global audience, this year saw a collaboration with Lagos-based concept store, Alara. From the latest collections by designers like Stüssy, Off-White, Denim Tears and Mowalola to Homecoming-themed merch capsules from homegrown streetwear brands like Free the Youth, Pith Africa, Motherlan and Ash Luxe, the clothes on offer epitomised a new generation’s approach to fashion, and using style as means of transmitting their values to the world. 

After three days of joyously eclectic programming, frantic partying, connection and celebration, this year’s edition of Homecoming was a testament to the bounty of talent and potential that calls Africa home. Though it may have come to a close just days ago, attendees were overheard clearing their calendars for next year’s edition – and if you know what’s good for you, you will, too. 

HC22 Editorial_10_©Danielle Mbonu.jpg
Photography Danielle Mbonu
HC22 Editorial_13_©Danielle Mbonu.jpg
Photography Danielle Mbonu
HC22 Editorial_14_©Danielle Mbonu.jpg
Photography Danielle Mbonu
HC22 Editorial_16_©Danielle Mbonu.jpg
Photography Danielle Mbonu
HC22 Editorial_18_©Danielle Mbonu.jpg
Photography Danielle Mbonu
HC22 Editorial_21_©Danielle Mbonu.jpg
Photography Danielle Mbonu
HC22 Editorial_23_©Danielle Mbonu.jpg
Photography Danielle Mbonu

Follow i-D on Instagram and TikTok for more festival content.

Tagged:
Festivals
λαγός