Anyone checking in for our Lagos flight tonight is in for a treat. In Terminal 3 at Heathrow, Sulaimon will DJ a set of African and Nigerian music and hand out golden tickets to four lucky customers who will then get upgraded flights or Clubhouse access. We caught up with Sulaimon to ask him about Nigerian Independence Day and Black History Month.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black history is not taught anywhere near enough at our colleges or universities. Sure they drop a few bits into your curriculum, but I went to Kingston University and had to take a module in African history to get a better understanding. So really, one month to celebrate black history, it's not enough, and certainly not enough to say everything that has to be said about racism and prejudice. For me, it's also a time to showcase the achievements of black people, and black leaders, like Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, the Director General of the World Trade Organisation. When October comes, you get to see glimpses of brilliance from black people, and it's a joy to learn about people of my colour who have achieved so much. But why is it restricted to just one month?
Tell us about Nigerian Independence Day.
Nigeria was under British rule for a long time until October 1st, 1960, when Nigeria got to proclaim itself to be an independent country. To put that into context, it's like you've been a slave to someone else for so long. You've been told when to drink, when to eat when to go to sleep. Then all of a sudden, the door is open for you to make your own decisions. So, on October 1st 1960, Nigeria was given the key to its own house, to make its own decisions and put its house in order with no influence whatsoever from the colonial masters. Nigeria was finally in charge of their own political affairs, their own economic affairs, and their own destiny with little or no control at all from Britain. October 1st is our freedom day.
And how is that celebrated in Nigeria?
Independence Day is a public holiday, so no one goes to work. There are parties everywhere with barbecued chicken with jollof rice, the national dish. Plus music, entertainment, shows. In Lagos, many people head to the beach to enjoy that bank holiday feeling by the ocean. It's a wonderful celebration and an important day for all Nigerians.
Tell us about your DJ set at Heathrow tonight?