That Grape Juice Storms Nigeria
 Sam Ajilore
Sam Ajilore

That Grape Juice, the online music phenomenon and the brainchild of Sammy Ajilore, is set to enter the Nigerian music scene with a big bang. The site plans, later this year, to launch series of initiatives aimed at bringing the Nigerian music industry to global reckoning. The reputable site’s foray into Nigeria’s music scene is part of its long time plan not only to extend its reach to the nooks and cranny of the country but also to further showcase the country’s musical talents to a choice international audience.

Sam with Kelly Rowland
Sam with Kelly Rowland

Although, details of the site’s activities in the country are still sketchy, the site wants to, first and foremost, register its presence in the minds of music and entertainment lovers in the country. This logically follows the successful launch of the site in the UK and the US and with the site emerging as a global music website of repute, its owner, the British born Nigerian Ajilore now plans to expand the scope of the site and to extend its reach to Nigeria.

Sam with Toni Braxton
Sam with Toni Braxton

“sel“Making That Grape Juice site a spot for the latest Naija music news too is the long-term goal, but not where the site is in the here and now. Hence, I feel like there’s a lot of “cultural sell” in me being of Nigerian heritage, f-made” and young having started That Grape Juice at just 18,” says Sammy who sees the site’s planned activities in Nigeria as a personal contribution to the development of the country’s music industry. This, he feels very passionate about. is a formidable London based regular source of fresh urban pop culture music, videos, live performances, news, gossip, celeb Interviews, and more. It is arguably, the Internet’s premier urban pop culture websites with daily readership is in the high thousands and has emerged as an internationally established source for urban news, music reviews and celebrity interviews.

Sam with Michelle Williams of the Destiny's Child
Sam with Michelle Williams of the Destiny’s Child

All these,  the site serves its visitors daily in graphic details and using simple everyday language. Its long list of exciting celebrity interviews is better enjoyed with friends. In the words of the site’s managers, viewers are advised to immerse themselves in the “brand new social reader experience and share the latest urban music news with friends”.

No doubt, the Nigerian entertainment industry is huge and it remains one of the most vibrant in the world. But it still remains largely under-reported. That Grape Juice is therefore seeking ways to bring the industry at par with its counterparts in the developed West. The site aims to embed itself in the minds of Nigerian music lovers this year. For Sammy, 2013 offers the site good opportunities to create more awareness and to present itself as veritable gateway to the global music/entertainment scene.

Sam with Usher
Sam with Usher has garnered coverage on major and globally recognised media platforms such as in The Independent, Huffington Post, New York Post, and The Voice, which is the biggest black newspaper in the UK as well as on MTV, BET, AOL, and E! News (TV).  What’s more, BBC 1 Xtra recognised That Grape Juice as “the UK’s number one urban blog” and as one of the most popular on the net worldwide. Its founder, Sammy Ajilore is equally celebrated. Indeed, he was named, last year, as one of the most influential black people in Britain. Other accolades include being recognized as one of Black Britain’s Future Leaders. He was actually ranked number 5 out of 100 in 2011.

Having taken both the US and UK by storm, Ajilore, who is remarkably just 24 years old, and his That Grape Juice empire consider the Nigerian music market as the next huge target given its size, dynamism and a legion of world class entertainers the country boasts of. The young entrepreneur aims to slowly integrate Nigerian artists onto what is, in essence, a very American/British skewed music site. As a Nigerian descendant, Ajilore, called Sammy by his family, holds it as a duty to make the site a ready veritable spot for Nigerian artists.

Sam with Mary J. Blige
Sam with Mary J. Blige

Sammy’s upbringing in the UK has really nurtured a can-do spirit in this fiercely ambitious and very enterprising Nigerian. He is well driven, eager to succeed, well grounded and religious. Luckily, Sammy enjoys tremendous support from his dad, Sunday Ajilore from Ilesha who also lives and works as a legal and management consultant in England. Sunday, the senior Ajilore, is a Compronian, a member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), as well as being a member of International Marketing Management associations.

What’s more, Ajilore Sr was a co-pioneer, in Nigeria, of the Top Ten album countdown radio show that was popular in the 1980’s – a role he took up while working for Research Marketing Services (RMS). Sammy’s mother, Bunmi Ajilore, is a Senior Accountant from Ijebu Ode, Ogun State. Since childhood, Bunmi has instilled in Sammy, her school, that is, Abeokuta Grammar School’s motto which says that “anything that is worth doing is worth doing well”.

Sam with John Legend
Sam with John Legend

Such upbringing has ensured that Sammy has remained a Nigerian to the core and relishes the country’s possibilities, her cultural heritage and her cherished values. He is also an unrepentant lover of anything Nigerian especially its music – he notes that artists such as Tiwa Savage and DBanj are particular favorites of his. He also is an ardent lover of Gospel music.

Presently, That Grape Juice site is US heavy and has featured the Janet Jackson’s, Beyonce’s and Usher’s of this world. The next step is to bring into practical reality the site’s ambition for Nigeria’s music. According to Sammy, that ambition is to see the site emerging as the global site to showcase the best of Nigeria’s music industry. But how did the That Grape Juice site emerge? And what actually informed its emergence? And of course, why the unusual name, That Grape Juice?

That Grape Juice officially launched in February 2007 when Sammy, then 18 years old, decided to set up a site that would stand out among the numerous urban entertainment websites and blogs. Sammy’s idea then was just to share his thoughts and opinions on the latest happenings in the crazy world of urban entertainment. However, the site blossomed beyond his wildest imagination by achieving today an incredible two million plus hits per month. But how did he come about the name for the site?

Sam Ajilore with Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child
Sam Ajilore with Kelly Rowland of Destiny’s Child

“I vividly remember sitting in my university halls during my first year, trying to brainstorm a name. With several hours having passed and many a wack name left on the cutting room floor, I began reminiscing on an A-Levels Media Studies project I had achieved an ‘A’ grade in a few months prior to starting university. The project was about a sample urban magazine called The Grape Vine.

This was a spin on the classic Marvin Gaye song of the same title. My magazine’s grape vine wasn’t to be like the unreliable, gossipy grape vine described in the song. My grape vine was going to be concrete, legit, yet at the same time equally, if not more, entertaining! So, drawing on aspects of the magazine’s concept as well as today’s blog/internet culture of supplying the ‘juice’, That Grape Juice was born. The rest, as they say, is history!” says Sammy.

Sam with Kelly Rowland
Sam with Kelly Rowland

About Sammy:

Sammy Ajilore was born in North London, England. He graduated from Brunel University, Uxbridge where he studied Sociology & Media Studies. He has also earned a Masters Degree in Media & Communications (MSc). His works with the That Grape Juice website are widely recognised by the UK media and some giants in the UK entertainment industry. He has been recognised by MTV, MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Awards, BBC 1 Xtra, among others.

News Reporter
Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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