MUNACHI OSEGBU | DIRECTOR / PHOTOGRAPHER
“I feel that meeting (VANDAL founder) Heather Heller was serendipity, since she produced the music video that ignited my passion for art and creating,” Munachi recalls, referring to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” (directed by VANDAL partner Francis Lawrence). “Lady Gaga was my biggest inspiration growing up because she was my beacon of hope. She showed me that being different and weird wasn’t something to be ashamed of, and that changed me as a person. I fully embraced it, especially in my newfound passion for creating, and never looked back. 10 years later, I’m making videos trying to have the same impact on others that those videos had on me.”
He’s definitely having an impact. In February 2019, Munachi made his debut as a director, and since then his videos have been viewed over 200 million times on YouTube. In December 2019, Billboard included his debut video – Megan Thee Stallion’s ‘Big Ole Freak’ – on their list of the top 100 music videos of the decade. In June 2020, his video for her ‘Hot Girl Summer’ won the Viewer’s Choice Award at the 2020 BET Awards. At 24, he has now shot for clients such as Converse, Nike, Rolling Stone, Depop, Nylon, PAPER Magazine, WWD, Wonderland Magazine, Roc Nation, 88rising, Nicopanda, Interscope Records, Epic Records, and 300 Entertainment.
His credit list must be considered in the context of his eye for fashion, colour and bold aesthetics. Munachi’s work is playful, experimental and full of imagination. He strives to create an almost folkloric, suspended reality, crafting stories from his own fears and desires that can be manifested to an almost obnoxious extent. His work has been displayed in the Louvre Museum and was a part of a traveling exhibition for Scholastic Art and Writing.
Born in Nigeria, Munachi was a toddler when he moved with his family to the US, growing up in Pennsylvania where he did everything from the Boy Scouts, to karate and musical theatre, also learning to play piano, viola and saxophone. He took up photography as a sophomore in high school and soon discovered the works of Serge Lutens, Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, and David LaChapelle, deepening his love for fashion and the larger-than-life videos of the 1990s.
“The boldness of my visuals is partially a response to knowing I’d have to create an avenue where none existed. Even in my first two years of college, there weren’t any black photographers shooting,” says Munachi, who graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of The Arts in 2018. “I’d make sure there was no chance to ignore or dismiss the work.” Post-graduation, he recalls, “I was broke and struggling, taking pics of rings and feet for $50.” He managed to find work with 300 Entertainment, the new label that had not yet signed Megan Thee Stallion. Everything was about to change. “I started working, then ‘Big Ole Freak’ came out and I stepped onto the scene with it. Suddenly, I was being flown to Dubai to shoot for Nike Middle East.”
Munachi’s latest branded project is for Amazon, a large-scale production shot under strict Covid protocols and part of a promotion around THE BOYS, the massive hit that’s grown viewership by 89% in its second season on the streamer.
Now dividing his time between New York City and Los Angeles, this believer in full-circle moments intends to create them for others. “I want to give back to my family, to support art and music schools,” he concludes, “so that people can find hope and opportunity, no matter where they are right now.”