Last month, history was made. Nigerian-American Hip-Hop Photographer and Documentarian Chi Modu teamed up with Budweiser under their BUDX platform and media platform, Melanin Unscripted, to produce a 2-day photo exhibition, party and workshop in Lagos, Nigeria. Though BUDX celebrates music and youth culture around the world and champions artists who are pushing boundaries and shaping the future of the industry, this was the first event to strictly cover Hip Hop in Africa. Continuing Chi Modu’s “UNCATEGORIZED” photo exhibition tour, this marked Chi’s homecoming exhibition in Nigeria and was the first time he exhibited his work on the continent of Africa.
Chi Modu first picked up a camera while a student at Rutgers. After honing his skills at the International Center of Photography, he landed a job at The Source, which was the definitive magazine of hip hop culture, it was here that Chi developed relationships with the biggest icons of the hip hop movement, like: Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G., Mary J. Blige, and LL Cool J, most of whom were not yet famous.
In addition to shooting over 30 cover photos for The Source as their Director of Photography, Chi was able to capture the musicians in candid, unexpected moments, due to his disarming manner and unique perspective. He not only chronicled and defined the most important phase of the Hip-Hop movement, but was also able to give the artists the freedom to define themselves, showcasing them as real people, rather than one-dimensional celebrities.
UNCATEGORIZED Lagos photo exhibition served as an opportunity for young creatives to gain exposure on the power of storytelling and preserving creative commodities in the digital age. Through dialogue on music, visual art and connecting through community and technology, attendees had the opportunity to learn, exchange and build on new ideas. This conversation continues through The UNCATEGORIZED Lagos short-documentary released through Melanin Unscripted.
UNCATEGORIZED Lagos short-documentary is a visual journey through New York and Lagos with Chi Modu. Even after decades later, Chi is still sharing the magic of storytelling with the world. In the film, Chi reflects on his dual upbringing and how that led him to his homecoming exhibition in Nigeria with BUDX and being able to bridge two cultures through the event. The documentary also explores Chi’s story as a Hip-Hop Documentarian while also highlighting how his work and story that has inspired young people around the world, even fueling youth culture in places like Lagos. As a keeper of history and generation shaper, Chi’s narrative powerfully connects the past, present and future of Nigeria’s creative and cultural renaissance.
Released through Melanin Unscripted platform, watch the short documentary below