Currently catching my attention: Kayus Bankole’s cultural recommendations from Young Fathers.

Currently catching my attention: Kayus Bankole’s cultural recommendations from Young Fathers.


Kayus Bankole was born in 1987 and has lived in both the United States and Nigeria. Eventually, he moved back to his hometown of Edinburgh, where he attended high school and met Alloysious Massaquoi. Together with Graham “G” Hastings, they formed the hip-hop group Young Fathers. In 2014, they released their first album, Dead, which went on to win the Mercury Prize. They have since released three more albums – White Men Are Black Men Too, Cocoa Sugar, and Heavy Heavy in 2018. Kayus Bankole currently resides in Edinburgh. In March of 2019, Young Fathers, along with the NIA community choir, will headline the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival in Greater Manchester.

1. Documentary

The production of “Coconut Head” directed by Alain Kassanda.

Students discuss taboo topics in Coconut Head Generation.

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A group of students at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria have started a weekly film club where they gather to openly discuss controversial topics such as politics, race, feminism, and modern living. As someone with Nigerian parents and a strong connection to the culture and language, I found it fascinating to hear young people openly discussing issues and stigmas that older generations may not feel as comfortable addressing. One of the topics they explored was family dynamics and responsibilities within the household, which sparked a thought-provoking conversation.

2. Photographer

Giles Duley

Self-portrait by Giles Duley in a shirt and tie, eating spaghetti.

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Giles Duley is a multi-faceted artist with skills in photography, cooking, writing, and presenting. His contributions to the Legacy of War charity are remarkable. After his trip to Afghanistan, he established the foundation to aid individuals who have experienced war. One of his most memorable works is his series of updated portraits. He initially captured a photo of a mother from Lebanon several years ago, and recently revisited to capture another portrait. Comparing the two images is like looking through a time capsule, witnessing the passage of time through the mother’s wrinkles and the growth of her smile.

3. Art

The upcoming Liverpool Biennial in 2023 will feature an exhibition titled “uMoya: The Sacred Return of Lost Things”.

The installation Disease Thrower #8 by Guadalupe Maravilla (2019) at the Liverpool Biennial

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Last year, I attended the event before starting my journey. Accompanying one of my friends who was headed to Liverpool for meetings, I went along. The exhibition was organized by Khanyisile Mbongwa, an artist, performer, and sangoma (a spiritual healer). As I explored the artwork from different artists, I noticed a cohesive theme – each piece felt interwoven with the others. One particularly intriguing artist, Guadalupe Maravilla, focuses on themes of healing and spirituality. I was captivated by their incredible sculpture made from indigenous materials and volcanic rock.

4. Food

Bongou Cafe, Edinburgh

An akara falafel flatbread sandwich from Bongou Cafe.

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The Bongou Cafe, situated in my hometown of Ogun State, is owned and managed by a remarkable Nigerian woman named Tosin. She proudly embraces her Nigerian heritage and does not modify names to fit a Western perspective. Instead, she proudly declares “This is ata rodo.” My personal favorite is the akara falafel wrap with avocado and a spicy sauce, and the soups are exceptionally delicious. Beyond just a cafe, it serves as a gathering place for the community. You may even have the chance to play a game of chess with Tosin’s son. It has a welcoming, homely atmosphere, reminiscent of going to my sister’s house for a meal.

5. Book

House of Bondage by Ernest Cole

Black boys in 1960s South Africa in jail for trespassing in a white areaView image in fullscreen

While traveling, I make sure to visit nearby art galleries to keep my creative spark alive and break the monotony of my routine of soundcheck, performance, sleep, and repeat. During one such visit, I discovered the powerful work of Ernest Cole, a Magnum photographer whose photographs depict the segregation and injustices of apartheid in South Africa. His portrayal of young black men behind bars is particularly striking. Despite the difficult subject matter, Cole’s work remains brutally honest while also preserving the humanity of his subjects.

6. Album

Jerusalem by Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou

Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou at her piano.View image in fullscreen

A friend of mine from Los Angeles was playing music and I used Shazam to identify it. I have always believed that the best way to connect with someone is through their singing, but hearing her play the piano was the most emotional experience I’ve ever had listening to someone play an instrument. It felt like the entire room was filled with sound. I felt like I could grasp the range of emotions, the passion, and the love expressed in her music. That album has been my go-to for walks and workouts. There is something about it that captivates me.