#MORETHANINKANDLOCS: Persons With Tattoos And Dreadlocks Speak About Stereotyping
Sometime early in the year, the spokesman for Lagos State Police Command Bala Elkanah said persons wearing dreadlocks and tattoos are automatically profiled as potential criminals by the men and officers of the command.
He believed tattoos and dreads were antithetical to the Nigerian culture.
His comment immediately attracted an avalanche of backlash. That comment also motivated the former editor of Guardian Life and creative consultant Chidera Muoka to reach out to youths who have thriving careers who have tattoos and/or wearing dreads.
The result of her conversations with them is a five-part YouTube series tagged #MoreThanInkAndLocs.
“Through this project, we are addressing society’s bias against appearances which are considered to be deviations from the “norm,” Muoka said. “Our belief is that our value and relevance are more than the symbols on our body and the style we wear our hair.”
Eight persons from different industries were interviewed for the series done with Niyi Okeowo, a photographer and Kayode Idowu, a video editor.
The profiles of the persons interviewed are below.
Funfere Koroye is an Industrial designer and Product Developer Based in Lagos, Nigeria. With over 5 years of experience, he is eager to improve his knowledge of the inner workings of hardware – innovation, branding, manufacturing, advertising, and development.
His skill set spans across several industries which include but not limited to FMCG, Fintech, Footwear and Furniture. He has received global recognition for his work across America, China, Italy, and Australia. Funfere is a co-founder of a tech and design startup, the Nupe Project, an initiative focused on solving the many challenges affecting many third world countries, while fostering the ignored 1% of African talent in Hardware development.
Currently the Head of Marketing for Trace Urban (Nigeria & Ghana), Lanre Masha is a brand strategist based in Lagos, Nigeria with experience in consumer goods, retail and music business.
Tenny Karim is a Director at Shoreline Energy International and the founder of the Bearded Genius clothing lines. Bearded Genius has become an integral part of Nigeria’s rising streetwear narrative.
Bankole Oluwafemi is Editor-in-Chief of TechCabal.com, Africa’s fastest-growing tech blog covering technology, start-ups, mobile and digital media. He is also a co-Founder at Big Cabal Media, a Nigerian digital media company creating food content that African youth audiences love with brands such as Zikoko and Radar.
He has blogged extensively on these and related spaces since 2011. Bankole’s musings about technology in Africa are regularly featured in prestigious publications such as Quartz, Fortune and on TV via his tech segment on TVC.
Olajumoke Tychus is versatile makeup artist that has trained and worked in the Nigerian makeup industry for three years now. She has spent most of this career servicing the film and TV industry in Nigeria where she has acted as a team leader or assisted other teams that were responsible for the creation and maintenance of character looks in TV shows. These works include EbonyLife TV’s Desperate Wives Africa, and other productions for 12 Stones Pictures.
She has also spent a good time as a freelance makeup artist where she has serviced private and corporate clients. Her jobs have been featured on over 20 editions of Guardian Life magazine and several other front pages of renowned magazines and editorials in Nigeria. She recently started her beauty company “EYESOME BEAUTY” from her studio in Lagos.
Amanda Iheme is the lead psychotherapist at Ndidi Health. She is also a Nigerian architecture photographer living and working in Lagos, Nigeria. Her works explore the themes of history, truths, emotions and spirituality in relation to buildings and spaces.
Edwin Okolo is a fashion writer and blog administrator. He is the Editor In Chief of YNaija and a Senior Editor at The Native Magazine. He is also an Artisanal Crocheter and a co-founder of Knits and iMo
Ade Balogun has made it a full-time mission to educate other women (and men) on the beauty of locked hair. After practising as a full-time architect for 3 years and designing two buildings, she had brief stints at eCommerce giants Dealdey and Konga. In 2015, she committed herself to style locs – since she was already making some money from it.
Between Locitude, her loctician studio which morphed out of her website, and the company’s well-followed Instagram page, she spends hours every day explaining the benefits of locking natural hair. She has been interviewed by the BBC, Channels TV and has even spoken at a local TEDx event in Lagos.