As CEO of Amplify Africa, Dami Kujembola is on a mission to create global representation for African talent and the diaspora, and connect them to their homeland.
The contribution of the African diaspora to the continent’s GDP cannot be emphasized enough. A total of $45 billion was remitted to sub-Saharan Africa in 2021 accounting for a 6.2% increase from the previous year according to the World Bank.
And Dami Kujembola, the CEO and Co-founder of Amplify Africa, is the man on a mission to harness these resources and connections further and bring about economic impact in Africa.
Along with his co-founder Timi Adeyeba, who plays the role of COO, he is creating platforms for education in different African cultures while promoting African creativity to a global audience.
At its core, Amplify is an entertainment/media company, born out of Kujembola’s passion for entertainment law and providing better representation and red-carpet treatment for African artists who travel to Hollywood to receive prestigious awards like the BET Awards.
“We started by throwing parties and we did our first parties to welcome our friends who were nominated for BET Awards and we wanted them to feel welcomed when they came to Los Angeles. We had artists like AKA and other big artists and we saw the interest in people being represented,” he says, recalling the journey.
From there, the parties got bigger and more prestigious, such as when they partnered with the United States Congress to throw a gala as a way to promote Africa to the world.
“A Congresswoman offered to speak at the first event and gave us certificates that legitimized our events and we started hosting the Afro ball gala in partnership with her office.
“We gave awards to amazing Africans but they didn’t get the chance to speak and empower people so the idea for Africon (Amplify’s flagship event) was to create a platform where you have people who were successful in their field to impact knowledge and get people learning from them and show the world that these amazing Africans exist,” says Kujembola.
This was a far cry from his early days in Nigeria. After the assassination of his grandfather who was a politician, Kujembola vowed to become a lawyer with the goal of putting bad guys away. After graduating from Babcock University with a law degree, he interned for a law firm and that is where he found his mentor who would be pivotal to his law career.
“One of my professors was really cool and well-dressed and he taught intellectual property so I wanted to be like him and that is how my interest in intellectual property/entertainment law started. So, I interned at his firm before I finished in law school and once I finished law school for the most part, I decided that was the area I wanted to specialize in,” says Kujembola.
After working for a year, he joined a fledgling record label startup.
“A friend of mine took me to this entertainment conference and there seemed to be a lot of chaos and lack of structure within the Nigerian entertainment system and as a lawyer I wanted to enter that space and build out that structure. I decided I wanted to focus on entertainment law because it wasn’t as developed and crowded like criminal law so I felt it was the best place I could grow,” avers Kujembola.
When he relocated to Los Angeles for his master’s degree at the University of Southern California, he found himself working for an entertainment company which amongst other things, managed artists.
“My experience as an immigrant in a different country pushed me more towards building a company that could help create representation for African talent and the African diaspora. So, I always pitched African talent but they didn’t take it. I also wanted to educate the world about Africa because I got tired of answering questions about gorillas and whether we had mobile phones in Africa,” avers Kujembola.
That drove him to create a company that would provide more representation for Africans and build a community. Africon is a ripple effect of the intention Kujembola and Adeyeba had to create a community, representation and educate people about the African continent. Another focus for the company is to reconnect African-Americans back to their ancestral homeland.
“We realized it wasn’t just immigrants that yearned for that reconnection to the continent. There are a lot of people [who] due to slavery have been robbed of that reconnection and because of the negative stories that are told by Africans in the mainstream media, a lot of people didn’t have any pride affiliating themselves to the continent,” says Kujembola.
Under his leadership, Amplify Africa has grown with a digital audience of over 50,000 millennials across the United States, United Kingdom and Brazil and has produced over 100 events focusing on telling authentic stores about the continent so people in the diaspora feel proud to associate themselves with Africa and ultimately boost its economy.