A Nasty Boy, a 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.
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.