The Guardian

Ayishat Akanbi: 'My problematic ideas are my favourite ones'

Stylist who’s dressed Dizzee Rascal and appeared in viral videos knows how to maintain integrity in the age of self-promotion
‘If I had the audience of 20 people, what would I want to say? That’s what informs me about what I share online,’ Ayishat Akanbi says. Photograph: Glodi Miessi/Sydney Opera House

In the video that went viral in October last year, Ayishat Akanbi sits in a sunny park, dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and plastic-rimmed glasses with her dreadlocks piled on her head. The problem with wokeness, she explains, is that social justice awareness can turn into “oppression Olympics”.

It’s a daring topic. As Akanbi tells Guardian Australia ahead of her appearance at : “With wokeness we’re speaking from a place of emotion, which is why things can get as drastic and dramatic as they do.” And yet, respect has amassed around Akanbi precisely because of her rational approach and unfazed cool. Backlash?

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