Ayinla on Netflix was a refreshing celebration of Yoruba culture

Tosin Omowole
4 min readMay 23, 2022


The film, Ayinla, is a true life story about popular Yoruba Apala musician, Ayinla Omowura, showing the events leading up to his untimely death. It stars Lateef Adedimeji, Adebowale Adebayo (Mr Macaroni), Ade Laoye, Omowunmi Dada, Kunle Afolayan and Bimbo Manuel, amongst others.

The introduction

I really liked the introduction to the film. It was a short documentary from people who knew Ayinla when he was alive. I liked it because I didn’t know who Ayinla was before so it was great to get a short background before going into the film. Although the documentary told us about the events leading up to his death, it was still quite nice to see it all play out so dramatically on screen. Some might say it was a spoiler and that they could have left that bit for the end after he died, but it’s a biopic so anyone who knows his story would have already known this. I mean all of us know how 2pac and Biggie died but we still watch their films.

Things I loved

I absolutely loved the colours, the scenes, and the picture quality. Everything was so pretty and the shots made me want to visit Abeokuta.

Did you see those old naira notes, the old cameras? That’s attention to detail right there.

I loved the acting. It all felt so natural. Lateef Adedimeji who played the role of Ayinla, is a fantastic actor. Wow. He’s so versatile. I watch Yoruba movies quite often so I’ve seen him play a lot of different characters but this is the best one so far. I’d love to see him play more daring roles like this and less of the comical characters he’s always given in the English movies. I’ve always said that Yoruba actors are elite.

Kunle Afolayan is a better actor when he’s not directing. He just seemed like he was in his element with his Mercedes’ and his cigar.

I loved the costume. The styling was topnotch, nothing was out of place. My absolute favorite has to be when Omowunmi Dada’s character, Deborah is introduced, she was dressed in a simple blue Adire dress that was well accessorized with a cute leather purse, cute shoes, nice jewellery and a flamboyant hairstyle. It was very obvious that she was here to take everyone’s man.

As the main character, Ayinla’s pieces really stood out. He was dressed like a Yoruba star in the 80s. You could also see the growth — as he became more popular, his outfits became more expensive.

Did you see those colourful lace fits? It’s what a typical Yoruba man living well in Abeokuta will wear. I will never forget the lace from the interview where they asked him to go and wear a vest. Premium!

Ade Laoye’s character was also quite fantastically dressed.

I loved the celebration of music and culture. There was something about Ayinla’s music and lyrics that brought people together and it was so beautiful to watch. I’m not a fan of Apala but there was just something about it that made it feel so nice and jam worthy — I’ll be more patient with this style of music henceforth.

Besides the documentary, there was a way the story was told that made us know that Ayinla would never make it to London. All the tours, the events and finally when he finally agreed to be interviewed by Jaiye, asking her to come the next morning.

What I didn’t like

I feel like they gave too much screen time to the journalist scenes with Ade Laoye and Bimbo Manuel, which weren’t really needed. I understand the importance of it but it didn’t need to be so long so it kinda felt random and sometimes boring.

I wished that we didn’t need to watch a whole hour of the film before it got good. Even though it was a biopic, it still had the potential to be a really good story. It was really boring for a whole hour but I kept watching because everything was so pretty and I enjoyed the music, seeing the culture, etc. I feel like when we saw Deborah then the film started getting good and then Ayinla died. Meh! They had the opportunity to do a lot more.

The overall story just shows us how fickle life can be as the life of this superstar who is at the peak of his career is cut short as a result of a flimsy bar fight.

The intersection of old and new with Tunde Kelani as Director and Jade Osiberu as Producer was great to watch. Overall it was a nice feel good film but I’ll give it a 6/10. The film is available to watch on Netflix.



Tosin Omowole

Here goes my journey to becoming an African storyteller…Nollywood, Tech, Relationships, etc