Whether it’s fronting Mowalola campaigns, making a rap debut that Twitter likened to Nicki Minaj’s career-launching feature on Monster, or writing, directing and starring in a viral Instagram short film about a scorned woman seeking vengeance, DetoBlack has pincered an unmissable hold on social media.
“My Twitter bio is Yung Everything and that’s exactly it – I do everything,” the 25-year-old polymath explains over the phone from her home in Lagos. And when she says everything, she means everything: DetoBlack, born Deto Tejuoso, is about to qualify as a chartered accountant, has an undergraduate degree in Social Anthropology and a masters in Global Governance. “I just do whatever I feel like or am drawn to,” she continues.
Even though she’s driven by a unifying raison d’etre to “make the world a better place”, the Delaware-born, Lagos-raised, occasionally London-based artist above all wants to use her growing platform to help promote gender equality. “I have three brothers and I noticed from an early age in a very clear way how people interact differently with them,” says DetoBlack. “But being educated and being exposed to different cultures made me realise that actually, you don’t have to accept that.”
It’s an issue she tackled on her feature on Odunsi’s club-ready banger Body Count, which dropped back in May. Despite it being her first time recording a proper song (“I’d done a freestyle once before, but I was just messing about.”), DetoBlack slicks her verse with the energy of a seasoned rapper, imploring women around the world – and especially in her home continent – to own their sexual prowess.
The messaging seems to have hit home, with lines such as “Don’t worry ’bout yo body count, let your body bounce” and “tell those aunties I’m a bad bitch/Don’t catch feelings, boy you know say I be savage” sending Twitter into a tizz. Seun The Artist has been inspired by her, saying, “To my aunties reporting my tweets to my parents: stop hating on a bad bitch & focus on yourselves”, before shouting out DetoBlack’s line “and tell those aunties I’m a bad bitch” as her mantra for reaffirming her sexuality.
DetoBlack is is the queen of Twitter call-outs on demanding more respect for women and she’s keen to share that style and sexuality don’t mean you’re not smart and ambitious. “I have my degree and I have my masters, and I’m still going to be a chartered accountant, but I can dress however the hell I want. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.”
This attitude has made her the perfect poster woman for her best friend Mowalola’s proudly Nigerian brand, which counts the Kardashian-Wests, Drake, Solange and Skepta as fans. Mowa has tapped DetoBlack for multiple campaigns over the years and the pair share an unwavering commitment to pushing boundaries by showing skin, being comfortable with their sexuality and subverting stereotypes.
So how did they meet? “We’ve been best friends for over twenty years,” she explains. “We met in reception at school and as soon as we saw each other, we knew we were gonna be a total power couple,” says the model-muse on their shared motivations.
As for what’s next, it could – quite literally – be anything. Another single by the end of summer, an EP by the end of the year, a new batch of self-styled-shot-and-directed visuals…? One thing’s for sure though: “Whatever it is, it’s gonna be fire.”