Africa and Skate Culture
Updated: Aug 6, 2021
Do they mix? Thanks to skate brand WAFFLESNCREAM, they go hand-in-hand.
If we were to tell you that one of the coolest, emerging markets in the world is Africa, would you believe us? We'd guess that the majority of people would disagree. But because of WAFFLESNCREAM, after you check them out and realize what they're doing, you'll think twice.
So, short answer to our question? Yes, they damn well go hand-in-hand.
Founded by brothers Jomi and Nifemi Bello along with their friend KC Obijiakwu and originally in Leeds, the tight family unit brought WAFFLESNCREAM back to Lagos with the intention of providing not just a cool skate brand, but skate culture. According to an interview with Indie-mag.com, Jomi says there were only a handful of people skating around. Once he unveiled the brand in Lagos, the sparks seemed to fly and more people became interested.
"I think it was different kinds of people. But definitely the left-wing people—free-thinkers, LGBTQ+ people. It’s still a very different unorthodox brand because it shouldn’t be in Lagos, Nigeria. It’s weird. It’s a weird brand cos here it’s quite conservative." - Jomi Marcus-Bello, Indie-mag.com
Looking at the clothes they produce, particularly their 2020 capsule collection "African Love," you get a taste of why it all makes sense. Their passion of skate, colors, culture and drive, are all infused within their designs. Something like "love" and "Valentine's Day" here in the states are things we think of as corporate manipulation. I mean, $50 chocolates and $100 bouquet of flowers are things many people have complained about (some #CROSSxOVER peeps are guilty of this). Over in Nigeria, it's a cause for celebration, like Christmas. And who doesn't love Christmas?
Digging in deeper into their social media and other exposés written about them, there's definitely a rebel mentality or edginess to them. They are unafraid of getting in the face of establishment, yet they are not anarchists. They've been vocal about what they want and will claw their way through to whatever they have to do to achieve it, like raising funds for Nigeria's first skate park, something that Nigerian's have never even heard of before. Very much inline with what we know as skate culture here in the states. They aren't ballers like LeBron James or Russell Westbrook in the sense that they rock $5,000 pairs of Jordans. Flashiness is not their style. But they are fun-seekers. Like any skater, the community WAFFLESNCREAM have built want roll up to anywhere they can shred, just like any ball player can roll up to any open basketball court in any park and hoop.
When the US first started to open up to gaming and eSports a few years ago, it feels like that's what WAFFLESNCREAM is bringing to Africa with skate culture. We've been used to skate culture since the 70's. This is practically brand new to Africa, and it's almost like us re-living the 70's through their eyes. What a time to be alive!
Now, we'd be lying to ourselves if the first thing we think of when we think "Africa" is skating. And admit it, you'd be lying too. But looking at WAFFLESNCREAM and how they're purposefully pulling together everything from collections to partnerships, you now realize they are honoring heritage but looking to the future. They're changing the stereotypes of Africa, and particularly Nigeria. A place that normally doesn't get the same recognition on the grand stage of "cool" like Japan or the US, Jomi and WAFFLESNCREAM make sure, at least in our minds, that African culture is not lost. They're making sure Africa and its traditions are felt, but can also have a seat at the table of defining what "cool culture" is too.
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