Jonathan Adewunmi: A light is gone, Africa losses a staunch advocate

Many are in mourning following the death of Jonathan Adewumi from COVID-19.

Late Jonathan Adewumi

“Jonathan Adewumi was a Nigerian American who lived in New York. He was a staunch advocate of African culture. He set up a restaurant that sold jollof rice, goatmeat peppersoup, fried plantains etc. Created a Nigerian film festival. He has now died of Covid19. He was only 57,” Nigerian U.K. based doctor, Dr. Olufunmilayo, tweeted.

Spectrum News reports that for many, Adewumi was also a trailbrazer. He helped to introduce African fabrics into the city’s pop culture in the 1980’s and 90’s with the creation of Nigerian Fabrics and Fashions, a company he started with two siblings. Their high end clothing and wedding designs were seen in magazines and on television after becoming a huge hit with celebrities, like Stevie Wonder and Wesley Snipes. Many new Yorkers wore the clothing to show their heritage through fashion.

“He was a great ambassador for Africa in showing breadth and the wealth and the regalness of our culture and history to the American populous,” Adebayo Adewumi, Jonathan’s brother, said.

Adewumi was born in Nigeria but moved to the U.S. as a child. He went to Utica College and was a member of Kappa Alphia Psi fraternity. After the clothing business folded, he opened Amarachi with his siblings, which became a popular meeting place for Africans. He also ran the Nigerian Film Festival and a travel business to introduce African Americans to Africa and vice versa. In fact, he was planning a trip to Liberia and Nigeria when he fell ill. His death came as a shock to his family who thought he had beaten the COVID-19 virus.

“They got him stabilized. No more fevers. His vitals were back to normal but at this point he was on a ventilator for two weeks. So they were trying to get him off the ventilator and that’s where from us being excited that he would be coming off the ventilator to his demise. It just happened so fast and so sudden it just detroyed all of us,” his brother added.

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