Nigerian-Inspired Hoodie Made For Giannis Antetokounmpo By WhatsApp Stars At Premier Of Naija Odessey
WhatsApp and Giannis Antetokounmpo recently celebrated the premiere of the four-part epic, Naija Odyssey, a short film that explores the significance and importance of having international connectivity, with the story chronicling the Greek and Nigerian basketball prodigy, NBA All-Star, and champion. The film held a private premiere on September 20 at the Metrograph in the Lower East Side, New York City. Following the premier of the short film was a Q&A session with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Head of Global Marketing at WhatsApp, Vivian Odor, moderated by Jian DeLeon.
The Nigerian performing arts group Ijo Ugo would serenade Antetokounmpo and guests with a traditional Yoruba dance, including DJ Buka, who spun Afrobeats as the evening progressed. Restaurant Buka NY curated an authentic Nigerian menu, incorporating a Greek fusion offering. The evening resonated with the star athlete, but the pillar of the evening was the custom hoodie created specifically for Antetokounmpo.
Designed by the Post Imperialism brand and its founder Niyi Okuboyejo, a Nigerian-American designer based in Harlem, New York, this unique hoodie would encapsulate the essence that Antetokounmpo holds dear to his heart, his home country of Nigeria. The hoodie is inspired by all of Nigeria, first displaying the calling code for Nigeria, +234, across the chest, a play on his Milwaukee Bucks jersey number, 34. On the back of the hoodie, designer Okuboyejo embroiders Giannis’ last name in Yoruba, “Adetokunbo.” Antetokounmpo’s popularity is partly due to his Greek-translated name across the back of his team jersey, not just his talent. The hoodie has layers of connectivity to the athlete’s past and present.
Antetokounmpo describes his new favorite fashion statement hoodie, “Beginning with the +234 Hoodie, this partnership with Whatsapp has always been about the importance of connection for me, whether it’s to my home back in Greece or to my family roots in Nigeria.” He continues, “this film is the next interpretation of this, portraying how having access to my communities wherever I go has helped build me into the person and athlete I am today—and how Whatsapp has played an essential role in keeping me connected.”
The Post Imperialism brand has built its brand on employing African artisans to craft textiles that are traditional to Nigerian people. The corduroy and chenille blend of the hoodie is dyed in a Nigerian process of Àdìrẹ, an indigo dyed cotton using a resist-technique, creating a unique tye-dye look, reflecting the Nigerian flag color of green. Antetokounmpo represents the global connection that WhatsApp provides to the world, sharing his pride in his Nigerian culture and heritage.
Vivian Odior, Global Head of Marketing for Whatsapp states that “whether you’re facing adversity, or feeling the support of a loved one, for billions of users WhatsApp is a part of that journey — so we want to share some of those stories with the world. When we first began working with Giannis, the product had already played a role in his life. After meeting and getting to know [Antetokounmpo], we realized we share this belief in the connection is a powerful tool in helping find your place, home, and identity.” Odior concludes by saying, “that’s where we believe WhatsApp’s greatest potential exists, not as a cure-all but a tool for greater self-discovery, progress, and connection.”
This short film Naija Odyssey highlights the journey of Antetokounmpo from childhood into his stardom and gives light to hope for stronger international relationships with family and friends. The hoodie is a universal fashion piece that often sends mixed signals to viewers but holds a sense of comfort for the wearer. This one-of-a-kind hoodie in collaboration with WhatsApp, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the Post Imperialism brand founder, Niyi Okuboyejo, emphasizes a traversed experience of the African diaspora and the global diaspora.
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