The Nigerian culture scene is exploding, literally! From new entrances into the publishing, film, music and arts industries, to a growing social calendar filled with new festivals, networking parties, and concerts, the youth culture is growing exponentially.
One of the many visionaries spearheading this cultural renaissance is Tomisin Akinwunmi a 21-year-old design undergraduate in University, through her e-magazine called Lucid Lemons and her project, the Lemon Curd, a music festival that is hosted in the now popular Muri Okunola Park. The last Lemon Curd fest saw a thousand young Lagosians descend on the venue for a night of alternative music and high-street fashion, a mixture of fanny-pack-strapped-bucket-hat-wearing young Lagosians in the signature Lagos cool (a phrase we just coined).
Tomisin’s Lucid Lemons and Lemon Curd have indeed grown in both size and appeal within the emerging subculture scene in Lagos. Read our chat with her about the emerging culture scene in Lagos and her niche within it.
(A Nasty Boy): Can you tell me a little bit more about Lucid lemons and why you decided to name it that?
(Tomisin Akinwunmi): Basically, Lucid Lemons is an e-platform [which allows] like-minded young people to freely exchange views about any subject [including any] issues [we find] important to us, including politics, socio-environmental and economic subjects. The platform lets our creative work do most of the talking and provides the opportunity to meet other like-minded young adults from across the globe, who have a passion for art, music, poetry, spoken word, photography and more. For the name, I actually have two stories. One, true, and the other a sort of epiphany that occurred in the process.
The name came from absolutely nowhere, for a completely different project but the name got rejected. When I was starting my own platform, I was chilling…and trying to come up with a name, it just popped out and I went with it. Now the epiphany, I started to think deeply about what the platform is about, opening the mind to new experiences, people, projects, and ideas, to be lucid, and my love for lemons.
(ANB): And Lemon Curd? What started that?
(T.A.): I’ve always been passionate about music and as I got older, a lot of my friends got into the music industry, even some of them in the Lucid Lemons Team. Friends talk, so I got to hear a lot of their complaints and as a team, we wanted to play a part in pushing this generation of young & budding creative and entrepreneurial spirits we have amassed. So, in 2016, we had our first one. [It was] a scary process but we did that.
(ANB): It’s amazing, seeing how aware young Lagosians are of the Lemon Curd. Did you know it was going to be that way? And what would you say sets you apart from all the other music shows around?
(T.A.): I knew that what we were doing [would be] supported by our generation, a generation more willing to collaborate, connect & grow together. So I was confident we would have the buzz we needed. Our job was to ensure we entertain, inspire and put young people onto the best crowd of incredible minds in Lagos. I guess what sets us apart is our aim. Every single member of our team is a brilliant mind on their own but together, we are driven to make a few adjustments to the way our society works through all our platforms. The Lemon Curd is constantly evolving and developing with the aim of adjusting our society by providing a platform to push young people in the entertainment industry and young entrepreneurs. We’re building ourselves to work for our peers, to inspire the kids.
(ANB): What would you say are some of the most nuanced things you had to learn about the Lagos youth culture? What makes it different from, say, London’s?
(T.A.): Apart from different settings, culture, and potential situations, I personally don’t think there’s much difference. London is super diverse, so you’ll find influences from our culture especially within the circles I have found myself most drawn to. Lagos, in the past few years has only just started to pay attention to its youth culture because we’re tired of being ignored. We’re bolder, more entrepreneurial, more willing to collaborate and push our own agendas than ever. I’ve just been learning to adapt and how to make my own mark in advancing the culture.
(ANB): How would you describe the Lagos Culture?
(T.A.): The culture in Lagos is developing and flourishing as it does so. It’s picking up new ideas and making changes. Some work and some don’t, as expected, but it’s incredible that we still keep pushing. More young people are hopping on the bandwagon in their individual spheres to take matters into their own hands. This produces a vibrant, diverse, enigmatic culture, combined with our elevated entrepreneurial spirits, we’re virtually on our way to [being] unstoppable. We’re scaring members of society with our willingness to do the most, they’re frightened by the kind of exposure we are [getting] because the youth culture in Lagos is greater than they have ever seen.
(ANB): How would you describe Lagos?
(T.A.): Lagos, home of the “suffering but smiling.” Where the 90% are living the most broke, word to M.I, and our leaders are leading us like the ‘Pied Pipers of Nigeria’ into what in summary is basically a hot mess. I love Lagos. I love the chaos, the knowledge that at no point during the day, on any day, the city will stand still. I love how quickly it’s changing to embrace new things, well, a lot more things than it previously did.