In a world where storytelling often bears the stamp of mainstream media, Chelsea Nwasike is creating her narrative artistry—one woven from the rich cultural and historical threads of her culture. A writer, director, and BA graduate of Media Production from Bournemouth University and MFA graduate of Filmmaking from the New York Film Academy, Chelsea has transformed her art into a sanctuary and a bridge to her heritage.
As an immigrant from Nigeria, Chelsea brings a nuanced perspective to the immigrant experience. But her journey wasn’t always smooth sailing; it was punctuated by personal challenges that, while daunting, strengthened her resolve to tell stories that matter. In doing so, she has come to find that her craft serves as much more than a creative outlet—it’s a lifeline.
Central to Chelsea’s art is her collaboration with Seun, another storyteller deeply invested in authenticity. Oluwaseun, who spent years pondering the influence of American-centric media on her cultural identity, found a kindred spirit in Chelsea. United by a shared vision, the duo set out to counter the stereotypical portrayals of Nigeria often seen in the media. Together, they conceived “The Ones Before,” a developed TV series that is now taking on a second life as a book series. “The Ones Before” is an epic series that transports you into a precolonial fantasy world inspired by Nigerian political drama, cultural superstition, and mythology.
But Chelsea’s work isn’t limited to the screen or the page; it extends to the experience of the audience. Her ingenuity reveals itself in elements like personality quizzes, designed to heighten fans’ connection to the fictional universe they’ve constructed. In this universe is Nanyile—a place where linguistic alchemy fuses Nigeria’s three primary languages, Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba, into a unique dialect known as Ighayo.
Chelsea’s rising star in the world of storytelling is solidified by a string of accolades, including a standout win for her film “Written Words”—the 2020 Winner February Award for Best Original Story, complemented by seven additional awards for the same project. This acclaim is amplified by the success of “The Ones Before,” which has clocked 1.6M views on the global stage of social media, further supporting her international impact.
As an artist, Chelsea passionately safeguards Nigerian storytelling, providing inspiration to those who wish to share their culture and universal human experiences through the art of narrative. Her work with “The Ones Before” offers a vivid illustration of storytelling’s transformative power, both on a personal and a cultural level. With a dedication to authenticity and richness, Chelsea is lighting the way for the next generation of storytellers.
As we move further into a new decade, Chelsea’s “The Ones Before” series stands as a beacon in the literary and film & TV world, a testament to what can be achieved when diverse voices are elevated. Each volume, each story, each artist serves as a unique brushstroke in a larger masterpiece of cultural relevance and reverence. This is in line with the mantra of cultural preservation and pride that threads through the series, creating a ripple effect that promises to shape the future of African artistry.
In a world yearning for authenticity and representation, “The Ones Before” is not just keeping pace with the times; it’s setting the pace. It exemplifies Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s poignant words, “Culture does not make people. People make culture.” And through this series, Chelsea and her featured artists are indeed making—and remaking—culture, one page, one artwork, one voice at a time.
If you’re interested in exploring “The Ones Before,” and following its journey from conception to execution, you can find it on various platforms, including the series’s official website and social media channels like TikTok and Instagram.