Black Excellence: Meet The Nigerian Innovator Behind The LiveShow+ Filter For Instagram Stories

by Duke Magazine

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms across the world. It is a photo and video-sharing app that allows users to engage with their relatives, family, and friends. It also has so many features that create a wonderful user experience.

Each year, new features are added to the platform to enhance the user experience. One of the features that excite users is the LiveShow+ filter created by Ayoola John-Muyiwa, a Nigerian-American entrepreneur, designer, and digital creator.

LiveShow+ filter is an augmented reality filter that simulates being in a disco or a dance party. It is designed in such a way that it puts the user at the center stage. Lights shine all around the face and even blend well with darker skin tones.

Facebook and Instagram’s augmented reality software known as Spark AR Studio enables creators to create their filters on Instagram. And that is how John-Muyiwa created his LiveShow+filter for Instagram Stories.

John-Muyiwa said his creation was “inspired by the culture” and it is being used by over 100,000 people worldwide. The entrepreneur and engineer were born in Lagos, Nigeria, and developed a passion for technology at a tender age although he did not have access to a personal computer and reliable internet.

He told Techpoint. Africa, “Whenever the lights would come on [the kids] would run out onto the street and celebrate, and then the lights would go out again. Honestly, back then I was happy. That was just the norm, what I knew.”

“I remember creating my first website in 2009 at the age of 13 on a mobile phone — it was an online community for Internet enthusiasts. That was the beginning of my journey of using technology to create experiences that delight people,” he said.

John-Muyiwa migrated to the United States with his mother at the age of 15 where he enrolled at the University of Houston and studied engineering and corporate entrepreneurship. He subsequently learned how to code via online sources.

He then established Blademy, an online learning platform that prepares Black millennials for in-demand careers in tech, entrepreneurship, design, and finance.

“In March of 2018, I stumbled upon an interesting statistic — the median wealth of an African American household in America is $11,000 and projected to hit 0 by 2053. This statistic was surprising to me because my intuition would have suggested a number significantly higher than that considering the demographic’s annual spending power of $1.2 trillion.”

The data he found inspired him to start Blademy, he said. Before starting Blademy, John-Muyiwa worked as an engineer and trading analyst at ExxonMobil, BP, and Goldman Sachs. In 2018, he was named a Forbes Under 30 Scholar.

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