Lanre Aluko: Love and Freedom

You may consider it a curse that the bulk of us will not suffer from amnesia. As a result, nothing we see will ever be unseen and nothing we hear can never be unheard. We may forget for days, or minutes or seconds, but the memories remain, lurking in the shadows.  I've found people to be evasive. We are all aware about the issues of the world but we prefer to turn a blind eye to them. If they are not in sight, then they are not in mind, and even if they should by some unfortunate incident enter our line of sight, we look the other way and forget about them the moment they leave it. We are the shapers of the world and the victims and creators of conformity. Even though we are restricted by it, we hold the whip ourselves, chastising those who ignore the rules we've created. We are like slaves who punish others for being free. I find these people who express themselves in defiance of all the world's muteness inspiring.


Lanre Aluko (@Jazzofficial) is a 21 year old fashion blogger, musician, singer, song writer, personal shopper, and employee of the Bank of America. He runs a blog (http://lanrealuko.blogspot.co.uk) where he documents his hustle, one outfit at a time. It is perhaps this that has gained him the most notoriety, for several of his clothing choices are so compelling that once they have been seen, those who have seen them are forced to discuss them and what they may or may not imply for the rest of the day.


Rather than contribute ill formed thoughts to the rumour mill, I decided to ask him for an interview, that we may better understand the reasons behind his choices. I didn't expect him to agree to it, for those criticised as violently as he is, are often reluctant to discuss the reasons for their criticism. 






I wasn't at all surprised to find that he was guarded. After everything that has been said about him, it is admirable that everyday without fail, he releases pictures of whatever it is he is wearing, knowing full well that his adoring public may not be adoring at all. It is this that I find inspiring about him, not his sense of style. The only thing commendable about his sense of style is that he has one. Being stylish isn't synonymous with being fashionable, trendy, or tasteful. But it is likely that if you were to see him out and about in the real world, and not on your laptop or phone screen, you wouldn't dislike his outfits as much. He has a certain confidence about him that makes me believe that he is extremely capable of pulling them off. Of his critics, he says, "All I can say is there are some passionately crazy people out there. It's sad that I use all my energy to chase my dreams while some use all of theirs to follow my progress and hate on little ole me." He converts their crazy into further motivation. It is no surprise he is so composed, for he lost his father just before his final year exams at Loughborough. He describes the loss of his father as his greatest struggle, but even in that he is positive. 

"It was awful, but God has a way of turning our pain into blessings! It was the period where I learnt to love myself and move on in life. I started this journey by losing 60 pounds"

60 pounds is approximately 27 kilograms. 


The before's on the left and the after's on the right. He lost his weight by going on a diet and adhering to a strict fitness program. The picture on the right was taken at London Fashion Week. It is perhaps his favourite look.

He counts learning to love himself among his greatest achievements, and I agree, for if you cannot love yourself flaws and all, then you cannot expect anyone else to do the same. This is perhaps the reason why he is so fond of Whitney Houston as it was she who popularised the lyrics, "learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all." He calls Whitney Houston and God his greatest inspirations. 

His dreams are numerous. While most would expect that he reduce the number of his artistic dalliances as he advances, he focuses on all of them with a single minded intensity. "Fashion is 'Lanre Aluko'. It's simply who I am, and so is music. They're both parts of my core, and my heart! I am just being myself."

On the music front, Lanre has released two mix tapes - Memoirs and Freedom, and a number of singles. When he isn't recording original material, he can be found on youtube, singing well known ballads to his webcam. His voice is remarkably similar to his style as they both boast of a complete disregard of all thoughts of moderation. He powers through every note with all the subtlety of a tractor dragging a plough. At the end of every performance, you cannot doubt that he has a good voice even if you may have had to turn down the volume on your laptop three or more times. 



I asked what influenced his artistic choices, and he said, "love and freedom". While I cannot say anything about love, for it is relatively difficult to convey how love has influenced you over the internet, and to tell such personal information to a complete stranger. I didn't press him on the issue. However, it is easy to see how he is influenced by the concept of freedom. Everything he does, is a proclamation of just how free and unrestricted he is. 

He has several plans for the future. I for one await what he's got up his sleeve (musically, fashion wise and stylistically) with bated breath.

Happy Days,
Afam.



11 comments:

Belle said...

this was nice of you to do Dami, i get quite irritated when i see people constantly bashing him on twitter like he is some faceless celebrity who wont see these hurtful tweets. even though im not a fan of his sense of style, im happy to see someone just do their own thing and not give a shit about other peoples opinions. well done Lanre!

Anonymous said...

Agreed.

bobby Ezidi said...

to me his style is overwhelming and a bit daunting, simply bcos i'm not used to seeing such brazen display of 'what it is he's doing' its just like change, we dont like it, cos its unusual.. i'm not saying i'm a fan of his outfits, buh one cant help buh admire his courage & resolve.. he really has found strength in freedom. and to those that call him names, what gives u the right to say how one should dress and not dress.. buh then again, in our society privacy seems to have lost the battle..

Anonymous said...

that Prince dude is a fucking nuisance on twitter. im tired of his shit, and the fools who join him. he is way too fucking old to be tweeting the way he does, and he needs to get a life

Anonymous said...

Lol, @ prince now and tell him ur concerns

Anonymous said...

Well said! I don't know him but we have a mutual friend and I know of his struggles. He seems to have a lot of inner strength. I get irritated when people start dissing him because of his dress sense,acting like he's wearing it on their body. Especially that omowunmi Akinsola person. Always the first to go to his blog and capture screen then share it on twitter smh.

Imoteda said...

He amuses me but I'm not a huge fan. Everyone knows I like my gender roles1960s style. However, I hadn't seen those tweets or any about him till I read this and googled. Absolutely ridiculous! I don't understand why you would want to take the time to go through someone's blog and read their stuff only to move to twitter and insult them. Have you no job? No education to be getting to? No future aspirations in life? If you dislike someone ignore them and foci on what you do like. spending time and energy insulting someone who is clearly living life happily and for himself is an absolute waste of time and makes you look bitter and childish.

Woo sah

Afam said...

Well said imoteda. Well said.

Anonymous said...

Can everyone stop talking about how 'they're not a fan' like the boy wakes up everyday dressing with you all in mind? Lanre's only sin is waking up every morning and serving up that fierceness through his fashion preferences. Or if we want to be straight about it(no pun intended) the real issue is what his style of dressing connotates - which would bring us to a whole other issue of sexism and homophobia in the Nigerian community that I don't have the energy to go into for the umpteenth time. Leave the boy the hell alone! If you don't want to see him or what he happens to be wearing, DON'T LOOK! DON'T FOLLOW HIM and certainly DON'T BASH HIM because he chose not to live your conforming lives. Wake up everyday, wear the same thing and look like the next Nigerian male or female, be a robot by all means. Those however, who wake up and KNOWING people like you are going to be waiting like wolves to pounce on them STILL have the balls or ovaries to BE THEMSELVES and LOVE WHO THEY LOVE are THE BRAVEST PEOPLE walking the surface of the earth because people get killed for it EVERYDAY. There is nothing greater than LOVE. Nothing. Even the bible says this. Lanre Aluko has chosen Love(of himself and whoever) over hate and fear so I say CONGRATULATIONS Lanre. Enjoy your inner peace and freedom. And to those who choose to hate, enjoy also - Cos we both know NOTHING feels good about that.Here's wishing you more love and happiness and peace than you can handle lanre :) Good Luck! - love, Anon Femme Fatale(who went to Dowen when you were there actually) lol take care <3

Anonymous said...

I am not sure who you are but thank you very much for what you said. I do not see why people have to be so hateful towards something they do not understand. He is not the first and neither will he be the last person to challenge fashion the way he's doing it and frankly his style is actually very commendable. Not many people can combime colors and not end up looking like "sulia kan ayetoro kan" after leaving "bend down select". especially as a Nigerian challenging norms is very difficult because although we are a progressive society we seem to behave like we're still in the village with no electricity and a river source. Bros if you ever read this, continue to be FIERCE. Anon Masc (also from Dowen)

Afam said...

Dear Anonymous Femme Fatal,

Your use of shouty capitals IS VERY EFFECTIVE. There's only one bit of your rant that I DISAGREE WITH. I think we have a RIGHT TO NOT BE FANS. But we do not have a right to BASH him.

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