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Exploring the “otherness in fashion, people and culture”: Richard Akuson talks to CNN about “A Nasty Boy”

BellaNaija.com

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Richard Akuson

A Nasty Boya new Nigerian fashion publication founded by Richard Akuson, a former fashion journalist at BellaNaija, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan has attracted international attention, receiving its first feature on CNN.

A Nasty Boy is described by Richard as a radical agenda-setting Nigerian fashion publication that joyously curates the best of Nigerian fashion and pop culture, catching a whiff of the underground while staying true to the mainstream through the eyes of young discerning millennials.

Richard tells CNN that the publication has a clear message – it is not interested in fitting in the status quo.

Richard says that not everyone must fit into society’s expectation, and A Nasty Boy is seeking provide this space.

“There cannot be one kind of Nigerian man or woman, there has to be room for other definitions that don’t necessarily fit that opinion,” he said.

He says he was always bullied growing up for being different.

“I was always called a boy-girl. In university, I was called a yansh man which means a guy with a big butt…my classmates thought I was too polite, in their words too polished and that was not the way guys were meant to be.”

He says society must accept the “otherness in fashion, people and culture,” adding that A Nasty Boy is a platform for self-expression and shape-shifting ideas.

A Nasty Boy’s Debut issue with Adebayo Oke-Lawal of Orange Culture on the cover

Richard said: “There are people who do not fit the status quo but are however very Nigerian. We should hear their stories and also celebrate them.”
“I once did a story on EJ Johnson… and how I felt his wardrobe could inspire, but the conversation in the comment section completely moved from the subject matter to me. ‘Why are you always interested in stories like this?; and some responses were ‘Oh you know Richard is gay’. That was the awakening for me. And from that morning I knew I would start ‘A Nasty Boy’,” he said.
Fast Rising Model Elizabeth Ayodele Covers A Nasty Boy's June/July Issue

Fast Rising Model Elizabeth Ayodele Covers A Nasty Boy’s June/July Issue

Although undeterred, Richard said one challenge is that people, especially investors, are afraid of associating with this kind of publication.

Richard observed something after one of his editorials titled “Boys,” which tried to challenge the perceived notion of strangeness surrounding men being naked around one another, was published.

“I could see from my analytics that the photo had been seen many times but the engagement was not as much. Then I got messages and calls from people who thought it was impressive work and I asked, ‘why didn’t you leave a comment?'” he said.

Richard says he’s driven by the fact that there are people who connect to the message of the magazine.

 

11 Comments

  1. darlin

    June 15, 2017 at 12:01 am

    The guy is dirtytacky dot com

  2. Sugabelly

    June 15, 2017 at 2:34 am

    Trying too hard to be high fashion and not really succeeding at it.

    • Jamie

      June 15, 2017 at 8:58 am

      Did you say trying? Lol. Unlike you, he’s on CNN. And in the media for his work and not for what you got famous for. It’s hard typing this, because we all empathized with you. But I can see how bitter your life truly is.

  3. Dakore Bae

    June 15, 2017 at 6:19 am

    Sugar belly, it’s interesting that the same guy wrote a long epistle about how he thought you deserved better from those hausa boys. But I guess you have no loyalty whatsoever. So sad to be this messed uo!

  4. Kosi

    June 15, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Richard, I have no problem with you being different. Denrele, Denola and co are different and I root for them. My problem with you is that you come off as a phony! You’re not really high fashion or edgy or whatever it is you think you project. Maybe you should search deep into your soul and find what you really love. But as for being different, trust me you’re ok.

  5. lolarae

    June 15, 2017 at 10:36 am

    All these wanna be lagos boys Richard, Denola, bayo orange and the fat one
    better get something doing instead of keeping up appearance we all know behind the scene all na packaging.

    • Priscilla

      June 15, 2017 at 9:03 pm

      This one sounds like they didn’t accept him into their friendship group. ?. Denola and bayo are quite successful while you’re there commenting anonymously on bellanaija – bring your accomplishments to the table xo

  6. largerthanlifealice

    June 15, 2017 at 11:54 am

    i do not get the vibe he describes from his person……

  7. Grammar Police

    June 15, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    People, the focus here is on the body of work. Not his person or his personal style. It hurts to see this much destructive criticism in the 1st few comments especially when the larger world is commending him. Maybe they’re seeing something you’re not?

  8. Concerned_Boyfriend

    June 15, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    I was in Lagos last December visiting family. I had gone to this nice mansion party and I saw this Bayo Orange (Guy on that mag cover) and his other friend he’s also a wannabe Fashion Designer with receding hairline (can’t remember his name). Both were undoubtedly gay in their mannerism. Both pointing at me and staring at me uncomfortably. I knew they were gay. I agree with Lolarae, the high fashion wannabe fashionista na packaging….But to each his own sha!…

    • lolarae

      June 16, 2017 at 3:25 am

      I dont know about who is and who is not gay my own is stop wasting youtr time

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