Meji Alabi is a director and photographer based in London, UK.

Below are Meji’s selects and what he had to say:

Selects: Films

1. Heat (1995)

Directed by Michael Mann

I mean there’s a number of reasons I love ‘Heat’. One of the dumbest is I played Counterstrike a little as a kid and Val Kilmer looked like one of the characters in the game and I thought that was cool. You know, I just loved the rawness of the shootout scenes – the quotable moments and all that wrapped around the tension built between Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro throughout the film. It’s a long one but I mean, these are two legends and the film definitely stands the test of time.

2. Gladiator (2000)

Directed by Ridley Scott

After ‘Lion King’, this was probably the second film that ever made me cry.  Russell Crowe as Maximus was incredible. I just loved everything about it. We watched it over two periods in history class in 6th grade (I grew up partially in  Texas). Long before I ever picked up a camera, I was completely captivated.  The story of overcoming betrayal of the highest order and avenging his family in the end was a beautiful one to me. And Maximus simply put was an absolute badass.

3. Judas and The Black Messiah (2021)

Directed by Shaka King

As I peer more and more into the world of narrative trying to figure out what direction I want to go in I find myself watching more films. I actually caught this one on a super long plane ride to LA from Qatar and just found Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield’s performances captivating. It really had me on the edge of my seat and the film also stood for something. It kind of humanises and demonises the villain at the same time but really just takes you for this wild…. yet true ride… while making you wonder who is the villain the whole time? Does that make sense? Big recommendation.

Selects: Music Videos

1. ‘Do For Love’ Tupac (1998)

Directed by Bill Parker

This was probably the first music video I really loved. I remember sitting as a child on my aunties’ carpet and being excited when this video comes on because of all the different types of animation and claymation used throughout to tell the story. The kid in me loved it and still does. But I also love the song as well. I hadn’t seen anything like it before and Tupac looked cool in all those different renditions. May he RIP!

2. ‘Firm and Strong’ Popcaan (2019)

Directed by Nabil

I just love this video. I think it speaks to me spiritually as well. And knowing Popcaan it’s just powerful coming from him. Nabil really portrayed Jamaica differently here – and through Popcaan really delivered a spiritual and striking black and white film following Popcaan on this journey to the top of the mountain. It’s gospel in its own right.

3. ‘Smooth Criminal’ Michael Jackson (1988)

Directed by Chilvers

This video just captivates me. The scale of production paired with Michael Jackson’s legendary performance energy as well as his theatrical acting throughout… It’s just incredible. Just thinking about all the work that went into masterpieces like this and how they still stand the test of time up until this day. There are so many things to love about this video from the costume to the choreography to the outstanding performances of the cast… It’s a masterpiece.

4. ‘What’s It Gonna Be’ Busta Rhymes ft. Janet Jackson (1998)

Directed by Hype Williams

This is one from my childhood that absolutely blew my mind when I first saw it and still kind of does. The level of the special effects especially during that time was kind of unfathomable in music videos. The costumes and set design were out of this world. I mean, it is one of the most expensive music videos of all time but still… Hype was ahead of his time and definitely in his bag.

Selects: Campaigns

1. ‘The Game Starts Here: Richie McCaw’ Beats (2015)

Directed by TWIN

I’m an avid sports fan but not really an avid rugby fan… but this commercial got me. I love the way it builds up the tension throughout whilst giving us a glimpse into Richie McCaws story leading up to the rugby World Cup. It featured Jonah Lomu (RIP) and was just shot so beautifully. And the way it incorporated the Haka and their culture throughout so cinematically. I think whenever you can mix a strong culture and tradition with film… it’s the most beautiful thing. It’s scored so beautifully as well. I get goosebumps every single time up to this day.

2. ‘Always Cool’ Coca Cola (1996)

I think advertising should be simple and captivating and this commercial just kinda did it for me and a lot of people at that time. It also helped launch Tyrese’s career as a superstar. Just seeing this happy go lucky kid jump onto a bus with an infectious smile singing the Coca-Cola jingle…. it just makes you smile. And the way he sang it rings in your head. Something I can never forget.

3. ‘Black Shines Brightest’ Guinness (2021)

Directed by Meji Alabi

This is one of my own and I just love what it represents. Working with the agency creatives was a pleasure and being given the creative freedom to represent elements of different parts Africa in an authentic yet aspirational way was a great opportunity. I love the colours, the vibrance, the energy, and the realness of each of the scenes we crafted based upon the ingenuity and clever workarounds we find in Africa. I hope you guys love it as much as I do!