O.G. Members of SoulPay were drawn to each other in Manchester UK, each hailing from the West African diaspora, mainly Nigeria and Ghana.

We met at an event hosted by Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester in 2017. Inspired by the advice of Dawn Walton, former Artistic Director of Eclipse and Michael Buffong, Artistic Director of Talawa, we mulled over our solo attempts and thought: “Hey, why not put our heads together instead. We have so much to contribute to the Manchester Art scene.” We challenge, inspire and most importantly support each other’s work as true collaborators should.

As SoulPay, we produce art through longform and shortform film, theatre and literature. Why do we make art? To challenge the status quo of the region and country, question traditions and their purposes in today’s world and get people screaming… with laughter mostly.

We create through sharing and development of ideas with respect as a top priority. We bounce off one another’s experiences, coming to joint inspiration! Our projects are infused with swag and vibrancy. We eagerly share our wide and varied stories, to reach out to the rest of the Diaspora.

We are looking forward to working with those who’s personalities differ from the norm. People we’ve never met before and whose spirits align with our mission. Those that have plenty to say and are looking to ensure their narrative is protected and respected, that’s what we do for each other and we’ll do this for you too, when the time comes.

We are challenging ourselves to contribute to the voice of the Northern Brits of the Diaspora in a big way. This means holding a mirror up to our surroundings, the actions of our country towards us and the reactions we have to the world at large.

We hope you enjoy our journey as much as we have so far.

Justina
Aina
Actress, Vocalist & Producer
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 My favourite film is THE FIFTH ELEMENT, directed by Luc Besson in 1997. It’s just so random; a space apocalypse story that turns into a love story in the third act, where Milla’s character is this bad-ass hero alien that dance fights to a Blue Alien opera score. Besson started writing it at 16 and had it made at 38. Every time I learn something new about the film, I fall in love with it even more. Although it’s entirely a victim of the Born Sexy Yesterday trope (Youtube: Pop Culture Detective, 2018), buuuuut it was the 90’s and we know better now (arguably)! My second favourite film is DELIVER US FROM EVA, directed by Gary Hardwick in 2003, because who doesn’t love a Black womxn who knows her worth and ensures others understand and abide by that too.

Morayo
Sodipo
Writer
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Morayo is currently exploring the nuances of marketing and publicising stories - both those that are real and imagined - instead of pursuing the life of a chartered chemical engineer. Her favourite TV show at the moment (because there is yet to be a true favourite) is STRANGER - a Korean crime drama that deftly plays with your attention and emotions through its brilliant storytelling, undeniably talented cast and its enchanting score. Trust her when she says,`Trust me, it’s a great show!’

Kunmi
Ogunsola
Writer, Film & Stage Director, Recording Artist a.k.a. Zion
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My favourite album is Lemonade by Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter. My love for this album is in two folds: first, the hour long art film that is a visual masterpiece showcasing blackness is such vivid form. Secondly, the music which shows the prowess of the genre-bending artist that is Beyonce. She gave us a perfect album with bops, rock, country, trap, dance-hall, and powerful ballads. Lemonade is an exploration of the ups and downs of a relationship rocked by infidelity with the backdrop of the black lives matter movement. As a musician and filmmaker myself, I appreciate Yonce’s skillful ability to use film and music to get us to think introspectively, shake our tail all whilst making powerful social commentary and effecting positive social change.

My writing is centred on the exploration of the human condition: love, race, gender  and social justice.

Naomi
Yeboah
Actor, Writer, Director, Producer

In addition I am also a community nurse. Yeah you read that right when I’m not cultivating a creative masterpiece you will find me in the community as a nurse for adults with learning disabilities. My favourite film is the Good Lie which is based on real life events. It tells the story of sacrifices that siblings make for one another whether they are blood related or not. I'm very family oriented and this film makes us wonder to what extent we will go to for family. My favourite album is the Miseducation of Lauren Hill and that album was played on repeat until the CD couldn’t take it anymore and stopped working (it’s all good though because the album is now on my phone for unlimited repeats).

Oluwafunmisho
Writer, Filmmaker, Actor
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Creator of ideas, writer of stories, eater of plantain chips. My favourite film is the certainly flawless, Cidade de Deus. If you’ve never seen it, do, but it doesn’t count if you watch it with an english dub. Subtitles only, it makes all the difference. You’re welcome.  The Sound of Music is a close second and I’ll fight anyone about it. My favourite album is anything by Kendrick Lamar. Honestly, chuck ‘good kid m.A.A.d city’, ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ and ‘DAMN’ into a hat and pick one for me please. He’s unrivaled. My favourite TV show hasn’t been produced yet but watch this space ;). And just because you were wondering, my favourite football club is Arsenal.

 
 
 
 
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