I love brown roof cities: Abeokuta, Ibadan. I guess it must be because of my love for the Yoruba culture. A love that causes me to pay attention while the bricklayer tells the amala woman of his day; or as the beer parlor musician tells his stories to people too busy with pepper soup.
I see potential: in myself, in the Yoruba tradition and values, in Nigerians and in Nigeria. I want to tell what I see and I bid you listen. I want to tell some of the stories of the Yoruba, the Nigerian and thus the African man as he deals with this bitch of a life.
There, I somehow have let my love for music, Fela Anikulapo Kuti in especial, into this. I admire his audacity; not just because he stood up to tyranny in government but because he sang to nations in his mother-tongue and asked only that they listen; because he sold the Yoruba culture, the African culture really, to a people who wanted us to be nothing if not an ashen copy of themselves. Westernization.
I’m heavily influenced by the passages and poems of Edgar Allan Poe. You may have guessed. My name is in part a tribute to him, and to the first character I ever created: Laolu. Laolu’s story never got told but I never forgot him. So, L.P Alani. L.P Hartley is worthy of mention at this juncture. How beautiful the passages I culled from his books! It is an honor to share the same initial as him. I may someday write passages as beautiful.
Let’s not forget Khalil Gibran. Or Gill Scott-Heron.
There, that’s all you need to know for a start.
Laolu Poe Alani.