In todays’ edition of Centre Stage, I share parts of my conversations with Feyikemi Akin-Bankole and Simisola Badiru. Feyikemi and Simisola – fondly nicknamed “F&S” by secondary classmates years ago – were recent grantees of Spotify’s Africa Podcast Fund which was announced in October 2022.
On every episode of “F&S Uncensored”, Feyikemi and Simisola discuss pop culture, Nigerian music, and share personal experiences like any best friend duo would in real life.
I’m bringing F&S to the Centre Stage because their podcast—which covers everything from Nigerian pop culture, their personal lives, new music they are listening to, and much more—is a bridge that connects many Nigerians in the diaspora to a home they miss and love.
F&S Uncensored meets the Africa Podcast Fund
Feyikemi Akin-Bankole: We knew Spotify had plans to announce the grantees that day, but we didn’t know what time the announcement would go live on social media. We just randomly opened our Twitter and saw ‘congratulatory’ messages in our mentions.
Simisola Badiru: It was actually your tweet that broke the news; when I saw my mentions blowing up, I thought I was in trouble or something.
Badiru and Akin-Bankole were two out of thirteen burgeoning African creators who were selected to be a part of the Africa Podcast Fund initiative. Other grantees include Joseph Nti, host of Simple Accra, a well-loved Ghanaian podcast (Ghana); Joan, Kibz, Nyamita, and Owen, co-hosts of The Sandwich Podcast (Kenya); and Gugulethu Nyatsuma, host of After School is After School with Sis G.U (South Africa).
FAB: We felt like we deserved to be on the list. We’ve been running “F&S Uncensored” for four years now and being a part of the Africa Fund is a win for us.
SB: Also after a few years of running a podcast, you are bound to experience some stagnancy and monotony; but we made a promise to ourselves to be as disciplined as possible with “F&S Uncensored”. For example, we record our episodes every Sunday. No excuses.
And their discipline paid off because “F&S Uncensored” has a 4.9-star rating and 100+ positive reviews on Spotify. But before Akin-Bankole and Badiru launched their podcast, they formed a sustainable friendship over their shared love of Nigerian music and conversational gist.
F&S Uncensored: Friendship, music, and keeping things authentic
SB: Feyikemi and I met on the first day at secondary school. She was talking to my younger brother and sort of invited me to join the conversation. But I wasn’t having it because I really didn’t want to go to that school; my heart was set on Greensprings. I definitely had a bad attitude in the beginning.
FAB: Yes, you did.
SB: But we ended up in the same class and over time formed a friendship.
FAB: We discovered that there was a mutual love for Nigerian music and Wizkid
SB: And back then, people in our social circles didn’t really rate Nigerian music like that. But Feyikemi and I were obsessed with the Naija sound and were really plugged into the industry.
Long before Ayodeji “Wizkid” Balogun became a global music phenomenon, his debut studio album, ‘Superstar’, was packed with tracks that have stood the test of time. Songs like Pakurumo, Scatter the Floor, and Love My Baby are classic songs loved by people of all ages and pedigrees.
In 2021, Flutterwave announced Wizkid as its global brand ambassador and face of its remittances solution, Send. Flutterwave isn’t the first African fintech brand to bring a Nigerian celebrity on board as a brand ambassador; Chipper Cash launched its services in the United States with some help from Damini “Burna Boy” Ogulu.
With several awards under Wizkid’s belt, including 1 GRAMMY, 2 BETs, and an Apple Music “Artist of the Year (Africa) Award, it is safe to assume that Akin-Bankole and Badiru saw a future superstar long before everyone else caught on.
FAB: We were early fans of Wizkid even when a lot of our friends didn’t understand why we loved him so much.
SB: But look at Wizkid now, right? Everyone loves Wizkid, including non-Nigerians. This was not the case back in 2011/2012.
Not only did Akin-Bankole and Badiru bond over their love for music, they also shared mutual interests in media and attending live music concerts and festivals in Lagos, even at a young age.
SB: Something about seeing red carpets and tables at concerts made me realise I wanted to work in media in my lifetime.
FAB: And because we always went to these events together and openly talked about our experiences in school, people nicknamed us, “F&S”.
SB: We even had a joint 13th birthday party as “F&S”. So when we decided to start this podcast 4 years ago, we didn’t have a hard time coming up with a name.
FAB: We added “uncensored” to the title as a way to inspire us to talk about anything and everything without censorship.
SB: We started off by focusing on our love and passion for music and then over time, we covered everything from university life to quitting jobs to moving back to Nigeria and even going through NYSC
FAB: And even though I don’t currently live in Nigeria, I still know what’s going on back home because of the conversations I have with Simi on the podcast. “F&S Uncensored” represents Nigerians who live around the world; we connect them to home even though they are away from home.
F&S Uncensored: Work/life balance, favourite artists, and Spotify playlists
Though Akin-Bankole and Badiru are verified citizens of Generation Z, they have impressive career milestones under their belt with a clear potential for explosive growth. Badiru, for example, curated music for Apple, provided editorial services for Culture Custodian and until recently, was an account executive at LSFPR, a Nigerian-owned PR agency.
SB: I’ve always worked with creative organisations so finding a balance between my 9-5 job and personal projects hasn’t been difficult for me. I currently work for TRACE as Head of Artist Services & Relationships and my role provides a lot of flexibility which has allowed me to nurture my creative side.
Akin-Bankole’s desk job is in Human Resources, but her work experience is refreshingly diverse and industry-agnostic. Like her co-host and best friend, Akin-Bankole curated music playlists for a media company – Bounce Networks – and did editorial work for Culture Custodian
FAB: I’m a more disciplined person because of my 9-5 job and I apply that discipline when I’m doing my creative work. I give my time to my corporate job but after the workday ends, my creative side comes to life; I listen to music, send new songs to Simi, and work on the podcast. I feel like I have a work-life balance, but I intentionally invest in my creative career.
After the conversation wrapped up, I asked Simi and Feyikemi to share new artists, playlists, and songs that they currently have on rotation. All their recommendations can be found on Spotify.
Simisola Badiru’s listening list
- About Time – Sudxn ft. Fadi
- SOS – 9t9
- Africa Heat
Feyikemi Akin-Bankole’s listening list
- Jorda Rae
- Gone Abroad
- Ginger Me