R o o t s
We talk Music, Art and African Culture with Lloyd Nwagboso, in the last instalment of our Black History Month celebration!
What does BHM mean to you?
To me, Black History Month is a celebration and appreciation. It’s much more than just celebrating people of colour and a culture, it's a celebration of life itself. I don't think it should be restricted to a month as there is so much black history around us. Black history life would be an even better way to describe it :-)
Can you tell us a little about your family history?
My African heritage is on my fathers side. He came to England on his own from Nigeria aged 18, around 1977, and came on a university scholarship to study here
What’s your earliest memory?
My earliest memory would be my mum going into labour with my little sister when I was 3, and up until then, I had a pretend friend called 'cotchi'. He was my best friend, only no one else could see him!
What was it like growing up for you?
Nigeria is a very religious country. The north is mainly Muslim, and the south Christian. With my dad being brought up in quite a strict Christian environment, this was passed on to us. We attended Sunday school and church every weekend and my dad also made sure we attended something called the Nigerian house. This was a gathering of like minded Nigerians who basically ate, drank and danced to african music. I think it was his way of making sure the culture he was brought up in was not lost on us. We ate mainly african food at home, but when my dad was away from home or late back from work, my mum would put us on a cheeky pizza and chips for dinner :)
Tell us a little about your childhood
I grew up in the North of England in Bolton. It wasn't the most forward thinking of towns and as a result it could be difficult at times when experiencing racism. It wasn't so much in my face as I was always tall for my age, but I certainly experienced the occasional comment and slight bullying around the ages 7 -10. I used this to really fuel my desire to not be stuck in Bolton all my life, but rather to travel and achieve bigger and better things
What inspired you to pursue a career as a model?
I was at university and everyone was getting bar jobs, but I just didn't fancy pouring pints - it wasn't me. I had been approached a few times by various agencies in the past so I just thought why not. I sent my pics off to an agency near my house and they invited me. I think my first job was for JJB Sports, I can remember being so nervous and I turned up an hour early just so I wasn't late
Who is your own personal inspiration?
My own personal inspiration growing up, and still now, is Muhammad Ali. I collected all his fights and interviews on video tapes - I was a bit obsessed. His whole story inside and outside of the ring fascinated me, and made me feel anything was possible. He was a great man, and I am sad he's no longer with us.
To me he is the most pivotal figure in black history. Not only has he inspired millions of people, but he was a man of great belief. He stood up to the US government and refused to fight in the Vietnam war, even though he faced jail, and being stripped of the things he worked for his whole life; the world heavyweight title. They took it away from him and we never saw Muhammad Ali fight in his peak years, but it taught us to stand up for what we believe in no matter the consequence
How important is your heritage to you?
Heritage is greatly important to me. I carry a Nigerian name, and the African culture; the music, the art, the beauty of the continent is something close to my heart and always will be. Should I have children, I intend to make sure they are fully aware of where there name comes from, and make sure they get to visit where they come from as young people, to influence them as they grow
Follow Llloyd on Instagram: @lloydnwagboso