Growing Up As A Man In Nigeria Requires A Lot Of Work — Man Like Adekunle Gold

February 14, 2021

What does it mean to be a man? Surely, it’s not one thing. It’s a series of little moments that add up.

“Man Like” is a weekly Zikoko series documenting these moments to see how it adds up. It’s a series for men by men, talking about men’s issues. We try to understand what it means to “be a man” from the perspective of the subject of the week.


The subject of today’s “Man Like” is Adekunle Gold (AG baby), a singer, songwriter and fashion icon. Adekunle Gold tells us about enjoying his fatherhood journey, learning and unlearning stereotypes Nigerian men are raised with, and takes us on a brief history of his evolution from Ikotun to his current reality.

Everyone gets their “man now” moment. When was yours?

I think this was 2011/2012 when I moved out of my parent’s house. I was 25 years old, and for the first time, I had to cater for myself — buy food in the house, buy fuel, pay light bills. I was like, yes, I’m now on my own.

LMAO. What pushed you to leave?

I’d always wanted to leave my parent’s house since I was 18, but I couldn’t afford to. I grew up in Ikotun and I didn’t like the area at the time, so I wanted to leave to see the world. I still remember when my friends and I went to one area outside Ikotun to find out the cost of a mini-flat. That’s how badly we wanted to leave. By the time I finished NYSC, I  felt it was time, so I packed my bags and moved to Lekki.

Ahan. Biggest boy. 

LMAO. My parents thought I was mad. They kept asking how I could afford to move from Ikotun to Lekki. I told them that I’d be fine. I didn’t have more than a year’s rent neither did I have a car. The only thing I had was my energy, which is to always do things nervously. I’m grateful I moved because going from Ikotun to Lekki exposed me and changed my life. 

Noted. I too will move to Lekki.

What was the toughest part of moving out?

Ọmọ, everything was tough. When I lived in Ikotun, my transport fare was ₦100 to most places, but in Lekki, because there were barely public buses, I was spending ₦2,000 daily on transport to work. In between transport, stocking up my house and still trying to do omo boy, I was struggling. It was tough but at least it pushed me to increase my earnings.

How much were you earning during this period?

My brother, I was earning ₦150,000 before tax and spending like ₦40,000 out of that money on transport. That’s how badly I wanted to leave home. 

Mahn. What drove you then and what drives you now? 

I didn’t have a lot of exposure growing up — I can count on one hand the number of times I went to Lagos Island before I turned 18 — but I always knew there was better beyond my environment. Stepping outside Alimosho LGA to the island was a dream for many kids in my area, and I wanted to see why. 

Adekunle Gold

I’ve never been comfortable with a fixed idea of me because there has to be more to the type of conversations I’m having, more to the type of sound I’m making, more to what I can become. I’ve always been a curious person who is all about more. 

Hmm. How does this play out in your life?

One major place is my sound. If you take my first recording as the final version, you’ll be disappointed. I easily change my mind. I can decide to change the tempo of the song or remove an instrument from the background. I’ve learnt to detach from the idea that there’s a fixed version of me.

Interesting. Doesn’t constant change scare you? 

Most definitely. There’s nothing I’ve tried that I haven’t done nervously. One thing I’ll never do is hold back. Not trying will bother and fill me with regret. If I fail, at least I know that I tried. It might sound stupid, but I don’t see how anyone can thrive by playing safe. Everything I’ve done, I did it afraid. 

Tell me about your biggest failure. 

Anytime I “failed”, it turned out to be a stepping stone. I’ve made many mistakes in my life, but God found ways to switch it around because there’s no way my decisions have been perfect. I won’t say I’ve never made mistakes, but I don’t see them as failures. THEY all added up. 

AG baby is Jesus’ baby oh.

Lol.

I’m curious about your sense of style. Tell me about it. 

From my sense of style, you can already tell that I’m a spontaneous person — if I think it, I’m doing that shit because I don’t believe there should be fashion rules. Wear the shit that looks good on you: If you like palazzo, wear it. If it’s beads you like, wear it. If you want to dye your hair, dye it.  Life is too broad, too wide and short to be worrying about how fashion should be done. 

Adekunle Gold

The most important thing is that you’re comfortable with your style. I know it comes across like I have my fashion shit together but the truth is that I don’t overthink these things. 

My president! Has there been pushback? 

So many times, and it’s not limited to fashion alone. There are decisions I’ve made that people around me were not happy with. I remember losing friends when I switched to Afropop. I kept on hearing, “You’re the King Sunny Ade [KSA] of our time, why do you want to switch?” I told them that I’m AG and not KSA, so I’m going to live life and make art on my own terms. I’m not going to allow anyone to project their fears on me. The switch to Afropop was scary, but it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. 

AG baby is our baby!

Haha.

What are some things that give you joy?

Quality time with my friends and family. I’m happy playing PS 4 or 5 with my boys in the house. Or when my boys are in the house, and we spend time throwing banter. Then of course, I enjoy spending time with my girls because they give me the most beautiful feeling in the world.  I’m at peace just chilling with them. 

My chest. I want to hear about your fatherhood journey.

Even though I’m still fresh, I enjoy being a dad so much. I enjoy being responsible for raising a beautiful girl. Fatherhood is such a beautiful feeling and my prayer is that my daughter grows up in a world where she’s able to do whatever she wants. I want my daughter to live her life and grow up to be an amazing person. 

Did anything prepare you for fatherhood?

I’ve always liked the idea of starting my own family, so I was looking forward to fatherhood. I was curious about the type of man I’d be with a child, and I don’t think I’m doing badly so far. 

One minute while I confirm from Simi.

You can ask her. LMAO. 

What would you say has changed since you became a father?

I make sure I don’t use swear words around my daughter because I’m very conscious about how my actions can influence her. I know she’s still small, but kids these days are very smart and this is a foundational period for her. I also spend more time at home — if it’s not money, you will always catch me in the house with my girls. 

Family seems important to you. Would you say your background influenced your love for family? 

I didn’t have a good family experience growing up and that’s why I’ve always desired to have my own beautiful family. Because my experience wasn’t something I wanted to carry on, I made a covenant to do better when I got the chance to start my own family. 

What would you do differently from the way our parents raised us?

I’m never going to beat my child the way my father beat me. I’m not one of those “but I turned out good” gang. I’ve also learned that communication is important, and I’m going to ensure that I create an environment where my child is comfortable enough to tell me anything.

Can you adopt me? 

Na so. 

I’m curious about what you think is different about being a man in Nigeria.

Growing up as a man in Nigeria requires a lot of work. “To Be A Man Na Wah” is still a valid song because it’s not easy. My desire is that as men raised in Nigeria, we do a lot of unlearning especially regarding understanding and respecting women. I’m hopeful that in a few years, we raise mindful men who know to not harass women, unlike the current way where we raise women to be careful of men. I know that it’ll take a while because Nigerian men are raised on pure vibes. 

Dead. I’m curious about the things you had to unlearn. 

First thing is that rubbish mentality we had about not marrying a woman who can’t cook. Who says that a woman has to cook? If you can afford to hire a chef, do that shit. I’ve also learned that house chores are not a woman’s responsibility. You’re living with your friend, not your slave. Some people have told me that I’m not the lord of the house because I’m not “controlling” my wife. In marriage, you’re not lord anything. Ogbeni better calm down. 

I feel you. 

How would you describe your masculinity?

I am a guy-guy. If I like something, I show it. I cry if I’m emotional about something. I’m also clearly a lover boy.

LMAO. Has anything ever threatened this idea?

That one is normal everyday yarns for Nigerian men. That’s why you’ll find men who find it hard to say “I love you, bro” to their fellow men. It’s also why you’ll tell your dad you love him and he goes cold and says, “God bless you.” 

Adekunle Gold

You’re a man doesn’t mean you’re a rock. Men also run on blood and emotions, so farabale and loosen up because life is not hard.

I love you, AG!

Lol. 

What has changed between Ikotun AG baby and the current you?

One thing that hasn’t changed is Ikotun. LMAO. I’m still that excitable boy who doesn’t know how to form — if I like or dislike something, you can tell on my face. One of my prayers is that I never lose my sense of wonder because I’m still that Ikotun boy who is learning and unlearning about life. 


Check back every Sunday by 12 pm for new stories in the “Man Like” series. If you’d like to be featured or you know anyone that would be perfect for this, kindly send an email.

Zikoko Donation Banner

Help Zikoko keep making the content you love

More than ever, people are turning to Zikoko for stories that matter and content they love. But still, we, like many media organisations, are feeling the financial heat of these times. If you find us valuable, please make a contribution to help keep Zikoko zikoko-ing.

Thank you for your support.

We are also cool with Crypto.

Donation Close
Zikoko Logo

Complete Your Commitment

Donation confirm

Your Contribution is confirmed! Amount

Hassan Yahaya

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

January 8, 2021

Overtime we’ve come to realise that there are the different kinds of readers. Now, let’s break it down. 1) The Quiz takers What’s their business with any of Zikoko’s articles? They just want to take our quizzes, and find out what kind of yam they are in peace. 2) The Economists They’re very interested in […]

July 16, 2020

Everyone knows that sometimes, a good cry is all you need to feel better about your existence. Today, Zikoko shares 7 best places to cry as told by Nigerians on twitter. 1. Outside In The Rain According to this Nigerian twitter user, when you need to get things off your chest, nothing beats standing under […]

adekunle gold and kizz daniel's "jore"
January 30, 2020

Adekunle Gold — “Jore” ft. Kizz Daniel For the past year, Adekunle Gold has been on a mission to show off his range, and with every new release — be it a solo effort or an unexpected feature — he unveils an exciting new layer to his artistry. His first single of the year, the […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

March 1, 2021

All your friends are in love, and you are part of the ‘’God when’’ association wondering when you will get your own boo. We are sorry to break it to you that you may never find love due to the reasons stated below. 1. You are best in English Anyone who mistakenly sends you a […]

March 1, 2021

Do you know what one of the most awkward things in the world is? Your friend comes up to you, handing you their phone to listen to their music while smiling hard, their eyes filled with hope and love so you listen but realize, it just isn’t good. Then they ask you, what do you […]

March 1, 2021

February went by very fast, but Twitter NG users had a lot to laugh about. From tweets about Valentine’s day to an entire generational war, here are some of the most hilarious Nigerian Tweets from February 2021. 1. You had to be there to understand this one. 2. This sage advice. 3. Violence? Yes, please. […]

Recommended Quizzes

January 2, 2020

Do you have even a single romantic bone in your body? Well, if you’re not sure about just how sweet and thoughtful you can be to someone you love, that’s what this quiz is here to answer. 11 Quizzes For Nigerians Who Are Ready To Marry  Are you ready to marry? Take these quizzes.

November 22, 2019

It can be very stressful when you’re trying to find the love of your life, but you only keep meeting people that are exactly like your yeye ex. To help you be more aware of that problem, we’ve created a quiz that lets you know the kind of people you are attracting. Take it to […]

October 29, 2019

We are going to be attempting to guess when you’ll marry based on your favourite Nigerian foods. What does your fave swallow have to do with when you’ll tie the knot? Please, don’t ask complicated questions. This quiz is rigorous and accurate (don’t quote us), so just take it already. QUIZ: Why Do You Have […]

November 7, 2019

These days, everyone is always talking about how much sex they’re getting, or how little sex they’re getting, or how disgusting sex is etc. There’s just so much talk about sex, it’s almost impossible to know who’s lying and who’s telling the truth. In anticipation of our new series about the sex lives of young […]

More from Man Dem

February 28, 2021

What does it mean to be a man? Surely, it’s not one thing. It’s a series of little moments that add up. “Man Like” is a weekly Zikoko series documenting these moments to see how it adds up. It’s a series for men by men, talking about men’s issues. We try to understand what it means […]

February 24, 2021

Marriage is a big deal, no doubt. A few months ago, we spoke to a few Nigerian women who regret making the decision to commit their lives to one partner. We spoke with a few Nigerian men about the same issue. Here’s what they had to say. 1. Zayn I didn’t envisage that getting married […]

February 15, 2021

Horrible exes are the great common denominator. Most of us have them – people that we, at some point, thought or hoped would be the one but by the end of the relationship, we were like WTAF. As today is the day after Valentine’s Day, we got four Nigerian men to tell us about their […]

zikoko- dating advice
February 5, 2021

For most men, dating people who are younger than them age is the only way to go. However, its 2021 and the script is being flipped and more men are willing to explore dating older people. So we asked four men who exclusively date older people about their experiences. Fidel, Gay. I was sexually active […]

February 3, 2021

Valentine is coming again and, as usual, Nigerian women a particular set of people are getting ready to furnish their men with the usual gifts we see every year. I’ve decided to save you the trouble and make a list of things Nigerian men don’t want to receive this year. If you really want to […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X