Bankole Wellington, popularly known as Banky W is a Nigerian musician, actor, writer, speaker, politician, MC and entrepreneur. For over 11 years since Banky W started up in Nigeria, with Empire Mates Entertainment (EME), he has gathered a diverse portfolio and various experiences.
- In 2009, Banky W returned to Nigeria from the U.S where he had been studying. His return was to establish Empire Mates Entertainment (EME), which he had created in 2002. ‘Hope is what my best friend and I held on to in 2002, when we were crazy enough to start a record label in my University Dorm Room. We had no idea what we were doing, or what it would take… we didn’t know one single person in the music business home or abroad’
- Wizkid, Skales, Niyola were some of the artists initially signed to the label in 2009. Wizkid was with the EME label for 5 years, releasing two albums – Superstar and Ayo under its management.
- In 2017, EME was dissolved as a record label, it was rebranded as a talent management company with focus on creative marketing, advertising, PR and brand events.
- Banky W successfully completed two courses from the New York Film Academy (NYFA), on screenwriting and filmmaking. Speaking on NYFA Alumni Spotlight, he says ‘The name “New York Film Academy” has a certain level of stock… The evolution of my career, I knew that I was going to get into movie making, I knew I wanted to progress from being just a musician, to being a director of videos, and TV commercials, to eventually hopefully being one of the great African moving making, story tellers of our time…’
- In 2016, Banky made his official debut into Nollywood, starring in the wildly successful Wedding Party, which he starred in alongside his wife, Adesua Etomi. The movie grossed over 400 million naira in the box office and spent seven weeks at the top of the box office. He has featured in a couple of other movies since then, Up North, The Wedding Party 2, Sugar Rush. All these movies have done very well in the cinemas and Banky is officially building his image and reputation as an actor.
6. In 2018, Banky W declared his intention to run for the Eti-Osa Federal Constituency seat in the House of Representatives, on the platform of the Modern Democratic Party. He, however, lost to the All Progressive Congress contestant. Banky’s message for the election was hope. ‘It’s incredible what can be achieved with a dream, the willingness to work hard, and the courage to hold on to hope in spite of the odds.’ These words were given during his campaign in 2018.
7. Though Banky lost the elections, he made a success of his campaigns. He had a very visible campaign period and was able to canvass for public support by leveraging his status.
8. Before making his intention to run for office public, Banky had already engaged in some public speaking, using his platform to spread the message of hope to Nigerian youths. And it was this same message of hope that Banky shared when he had a larger platform during his election.
9. Banky W has also proven to be a worthy brand ambassador and partner. He has been an ambassador for Samsung and Ciroc for years now and has successfully worked with Etisalat, Coco-cola, MTN, Tom Tom, Airtel and several other brands, both on and off-screen, bringing his scriptwriting and filmmaking skills to bear.
10. Recently, ‘Mr Capable’ added to his list of ventures. Sooyah Bistro, a fast-food restaurant chain, selling Suya ‘with Masters degree’. The everyday suya has been repackaged and upgraded to a meal, with a variety of options to pick from. Sooyah Bistro currently has four outlets through Lagos, three on the Island – Ikate, Oniru and Landmark beach and one on the mainland – Ilupeju. Sooyah Bistro is expanding quickly and it will be interesting to see how far the venture goes.
11. In the span of 11 years, Banky W has amassed a wealth of diverse experiences – making music, managing a label, creating a talent management company, politics, acting, speaking, writing and now he has invested in food distribution chain.
12. He has shown that he is not afraid to take risks and even sometimes detour from his original entertainment career. Some of his risks have paid off, while some have bummed out, but it is obvious that Banky’s entrepreneurial spirit will see him in a new venture.
13. Banky W is conscious of the unstable nature of the entertainment industry in Nigeria and anywhere in the world, so he is casting his net wide and not relying on only one stream of income, he has opened himself to opportunities.
14. Banky is in his prime, and he still has a long way to go. We’re sure that we haven’t seen the last of his entrepreneurial side.
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