…but I still put it down, as ‘this is where I wanna be’. It’s something I’m learning now; that our hopes and dreams and God’s hopes and dreams don’t align. That’s something that I am still to accept.
Dami’s interview took place in Costa on the last day of August as we drank Caramel Ice Lattes. I love his personality and enthusiasm for so many things, and I find that our interests cross on many levels, such as social justice, music and faith. Talking to Dami is always fun because he is so open to ideas and discussions about anything. It’s refreshing to not wonder if the topic is too random or broad. He’s the kind of friend that you want to stay in your circle forever.
Here is his response:
Hi, what’s your name?
How did you feel when you turned 18?
No different. There’s no difference in how you feel; it’s just the same.
Did you feel any kind of sadness? Like ‘I’m getting older’, or do you not mind getting older?
I didn’t really feel it until about last month, when I started buying stuff. Like there’s no free NHS in some areas… you’re an adult now. Even the way people would look at me, I’m not that child or baby boy anymore, you’re not that 4 year-old that I saw growing up. I’ve had to accept that.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Um, (He sighs sharply) I wanna go into banking. Yeah.
Who do you miss?
Who do I miss? What do you mean?
(Smiling) Is there a person that you miss?
Expatiate, are they dead, are they…?
Dead or alive, someone you don’t talk to anymore…
Um, I don’t think there’s a person but there’s… I miss Barack Obama. (I laugh) Which makes no sense at all, but –
That makes sense. I miss him too.
When he was there, things just fell in place and the problems we had weren’t as big as the ones we’re facing now. We’re not facing like, um, the problems we saw – even though he wasn’t that good a president, but the problems weren’t that big. Compared to now, where we’re dealing with potential world war, and so many things.
(I stopped the recording to make sure it was picking up his voice as it was quite noisy around us. Then we resumed.)
Next question. What do you miss?
What do I miss? I miss… I miss year eleven. No why am I lying? I miss year nine. It was probably the most care-free time of my life. When I look back, we had no responsibilities. I wish I was a bit more inventive than I am now.
Okay. What will you miss?
I’m gonna miss… what am I gonna miss? (He thinks). I’m gonna miss the comfort of knowing the people that I have. Does that make sense?
The people around you?
Yeah. I’ve always known them. In primary school, I knew people there. Secondary school, I knew the people there. It’s not until now – Uni, that I’m going in not knowing anybody, or anything that’s gonna happen. So I’m gonna miss that comfort of being able to sit back, knowing that I know somebody that knows someone.
Okay. That makes sense. Is there anything you get carried away with?
Um, probably music, and talking.
You mean listening to music?
Yeah. I think it’s an addiction sometimes. (He starts smiling) If I’m not doing anything… I can’t have more than five minutes just sitting without either putting my headphones in or I’ll start tapping or something.
So you always have music playing in the background?
That’s cool. (Pause) Can you use an analogy to describe love?
Ok. (A happy sigh) Oh, wow, wow. Love is like (he thinks for a while) love is like the moon. Oh wow (we laugh). I hope this works. Love is a bit like…yeah, I’m gonna say the moon. It’s there when we need it… but even when we don’t need it, it’s always there. Does that work?
You can’t –
Yeah, just.
You can’t see it, but you know it’s there.
(Excitedly) You know it’s there. Ooh, that did work, I’m happy!
(Giggle) What is the thing you look forward to?
I’m looking forward to actually resting properly, and being able to say that I’ve done this, and I’ve done that, and I’m just able to tick things off.
Is that like, after university for example?
Nah. After life.
After life! (He laughs) You mean when you’re dead?
No no, just before that.
You know, when you’re reminiscing in the last couple of days you have. You get what I mean. And it would probably be a continuous thing.
But that’s with the hope that you’ve achieved everything you’ve wanted to achieve?
Do you have a diary?
(Smiles) I don’t – my life’s not that interesting to have a diary.
You should have a diary, I’ve had one since like, year seven.
So do you look at it often?
Yeah! And it’s funny, because the things I used to write about are so ridiculous, but now it’s a good way to see how I’ve developed as a person. It’s interesting.
Do you believe in God?
Yeah I do.
Um, because there’s too many things that have happened where I cannot but believe in God. There are too many thing that we see around us that there has to be a higher being of some sort. They can’t have just happened randomly.
Do you think your belief is by choice?
Now, yes. But before I would have said no.
Yeah. It’s the same with me. Um, define expressing yourself.
Expressing yourself is being able to do what you want to do (the first thing that comes into your mind) without thinking of anything else.
How do you express yourself?
Um, through music.
How are you?
Now? I’m great. (I laugh)
That’s good.
My was hope to see patterns in how everyone responds to certain questions, but after hearing Dami say this, I realised that there are also similarities in people’s answers. Eboni and Femi both said that they don’t have any regrets. Dami and Jonathan both express themselves through music, and at the time of their interviews, they both felt ‘great’. Although we are respectively different, we are still quite similar to each other.
Pink or white?
Black or white?
Black. (We both laugh, but I don’t remember why).
Have you ever been told that you’ve changed?
Yeah I get told that a lot. I don’t like it.
For the worse or for the better?
Um, both (laughs)
Aw. That’s sad. So if you’ve been told that you changed for the worse, what do people usually say has happened?
Apparently I talk posh –
How is that changing for the worse?
I don’t know. I think I’ve become a bit shut off. And, apparently I’ve become a bit more “woke”. So that’s for the worse.
It used to be for the better though.
Yeah. I don’t really like the word “woke”. Anyone can be woke, but there’s always a section where if you go past it, you’re no longer “woke”, but instead you someone with an opinion. So it’s not a good definition.
What I realised is that with “wokeness”, people turn opinions into fact.
So it just becomes a bit blurry. Are you aware of the crisis in Syria?
I am.
What do you think of it?
I think it’s a shame. And I think that there’s a lot more that western nations can do in order to help them. We should also help refugees; it’s the least we could do. We bring them in, and people complain that they’re ruining the country, but the demographic that complains make up 90% of the whole nation. So there’s no point in complaining.
Are you interesting in travelling?
Yeah in the future.
So what’s your top five? Where do you wanna go?
First, I wanna go to the Vatican. Also, I wanna go to Thailand. I don’t know why, but it sounds good. I wanna go to California, just for culture reasons. Where else do I wanna go? I want to go to Edinburgh as well.
What was your least favourite part of school?
Exams. I just feel that they’re not built for everyone. It’s just a memory test to be honest, and it’s about who can apply it the best. That doesn’t really test anybody. But, the issue is that there can be a suitable way to test everybody – meaning that whatever method we choose, there will always be someone that will lose out. But that’s life anyway. There has to be a loser for someone to be a winner. That’s the only thing I hate about education.
Define yourself.
Wow. Um, (he sighs) wow. Define what?
(I smile) Define yourself.
Yeah but what do you mean? (He smiles too)
Who are you?
Who am I? I’m Dami.
People I’ve asked so far have been like ‘I’m awkward, I’m funny…’
Oh ok.
You don’t have to list it though, I didn’t ask them to.
Define myself. I am… I think I’m two-faced, because I feel like certain people get different things out of me. If I’m not comfortable around you, there will be a certain part that you won’t get. I think I’m very interesting. Yeah.
I find this funny, because when I asked him if he has a diary, he said he doesn’t have one because his life isn’t interesting. However he sees himself as an interesting person!


What’s your favourite song at the moment?
A song by a guy named Moelogo, called Shine Your Light. And the literal Yoruba translation is ‘God don’t turn off my light’. And it’s about shining your light – don’t be scared to do you. Don’t limit yourself, just express yourself as you are.
Okay. Do you think you’re photogenic?
No! (I start laughing) I’m very anti-photogenic. I’m terrible. Honestly, I hate pictures. But I need them.
I’m yet to find a person that says yes to that question.
Yeah but if you’re photogenic, you are. There’s nothing you can do about that.
Do you really want to go to university?
I’m not sure at this moment. I’m not sure. I don’t feel like I’m just going for the sake of it, but it’s the better option to working. And I think – that’s one of the biggest things I’ve learnt this summer. I’ve been around people that are twenty, thirty years older than me, and I’ve realised that I have no life experience at all. And it is so bad, because when they’re talking about this and that, I’m looking at myself thinking ‘I need to experience life for myself’.
I feel like people that are like our parents’ age, and 40 year-olds etc., seem to have lived a lot more; especially when they were teenagers, they went through a lot more than we do.
Even people that I’ve spoken to that haven’t gone to university, in a year, they have changed so much. And it’s scary.
So what do you think you need to do to change and develop like that?
I think I need to put myself out there. Take more risks. Because I play it safe a lot, and that’s my biggest crime, yeah.
How old are your parents?
My dad is 49, and my mum is 46 or 45. One of the two.
What have you learnt from them?
From my mum, I’ve learnt that you need to encourage others and you need to be there for other people. Also, that you’re never too old to learn. From my dad, I’ve learnt that sometimes you’ve just got to give everything for people, and even if you don’t get anything back, there’s someone watching. You’ll get it back eventually.
Is there anything you think about on a regular or daily basis?
I think about what I define as failure. Because the goal post is always moving for me. Like, every day I have to re-evaluate myself and say ‘okay, are we getting closer or are we getting further?’ It’s ‘am I failing?’ or ‘am I underachieving?’
What is the difference between happiness and joy?
Joy is long lasting. Happiness is temporary.
Do you often feel lonely?
No, but I’m on my own.
You can be alone without feeling lonely?
(I read the next question and start laughing, and Dami starts laughing too, even though he doesn’t know what made me laugh). This question is so awkward to ask. It’s funny. Can you spill your heart out to me?
Um, what anything on my heart now?
Um, wow. (We laugh). Wow, okay. I feel that… I don’t wanna be really personal because I know you’re gonna publish it, so people I know will read this but… I feel that there are certain things that I should have told people at the time. But now I can’t say it, it’s too late. So I have to leave it and literally, it’s going to haunt me for the rest of my life. Yeah.
Um, name one thing that everyone but you seems to understand.
How Orange Is the New Black is so good. I don’t get it.
I don’t get it either!
I don’t like it because all of the jokes are black, but all the writers are white –
Are the jokes black?
Yeah, have you watched it?
I haven’t watched it because it doesn’t look interesting to me.
I looked and the writers and it was all so whitewashed, so I’m thinking ‘who is coming up with these jokes then?’ I don’t really like that; it you’re gonna make jokes like that, you can’t just cut out the people you’re getting it from.
I didn’t even know that. What’s your favourite word?
(He thinks for a while, then smiles) Ambience.  It’s like ‘atmosphere’.
What do you buy when you’re treating yourself?
What’s the most cliché thing about you?
Most cliché thing…That apparently I’m a hipster, but I don’t see it.
I feel like people classify hipsters as those that aren’t conventional. People that are just alternative. People call me a hipster but I don’t see it either.
It’s kind of a juxtaposition, because being a hipster is popular, but being a hipster is also meant to be on the edge. It’s so funny.
Yeah it’s not weird anymore. Quote something or someone.
I was on the train from work, there was this drunk old white lady and she was just raving on. She said… (He wrote it in his twitter bio so had to find it) “Family; where life begins and love never ends. She had it tattooed on her arm.”
That’s true, I feel like family should be the one place where love is unconditional.                                
Let me ask you a question. Do you think your parents have to love you?
I think they do.
I don’t think so!
I mean, if my parents don’t love me, who’s gonna love me? (He laughs)
I don’t think they have to –
So who has to love you then? No one?
You’ve got to love yourself. But I don’t think our parents have to love us. They have to treat and take care of you, but they don’t have to love you. I heard it in Fences. He said “I don’t have to love you. I choose to love you”.
What do you deserve?
I deserve nothing in life. If you don’t work for it, you don’t get it.
If you could start a charity, who would it help?
If I could start a charity… it would help working class kids. I feel like they’re the most neglected. The people in the middle – there’s no actual support for them. And I feel that they’re the ones that get the least opportunities as well.
When is the last time you cried?
I cried, oh my God. Results day. I cried. I had to call my mum to come and pick me up. I cried my eyes out on the bus. There were so many things going through my head. I started blaming God, I started blaming myself and I started blaming the system.
There were so many things that just happened. That’s another thing. I’m waiting, like ‘what’s God… what is the purpose?’ I kind of felt that God didn’t want me to be in the Uni of my choice, but I still put it down, as ‘this is where I wanna be’. It’s something I’m learning now; that our hopes and dreams and God’s hopes and dreams don’t align. That’s something that I am still to accept.
What are you tired of?
I’m tired of black kids being told that they’re special.
(He goes on to explain how especially in African households, the children follow the same university, job, marriage, kids, and nice house etc. regimen. Then he says that because of the pressure of academia, we’ve lost a generation of footballers and creatives because parents have forced their children down routes they didn’t want for themselves).
Do you have a favourite place?
Yeah I do. My favourite place at the moment is in my uncle’s house. He has a grand piano that takes up half of this room. It’s so beautiful, I really like it.
What’s your favourite type of sandwich?
Prawn and mayonnaise.
Prawn and mayonnaise? What? That’s the sandwich I avoid! (We laugh) What do you not care about?
That’s a good question. I don’t care about aliens and stuff like that. But I do believe that there’s life outside of our planet. It’s very egotistical of us to think that we’re the only ones. I think that anywhere there is water, there is some form of life.
Is there something that you don’t like about yourself?
I feel that I hold back a bit, especially in the way I dress. I think I could be a little bit more creative and expressive in what I do.
Do you have any regrets?
Yeah, loads. My biggest regret is not telling someone that I love them. And because they’re probably going to move on and they’re in my close circle, it’s going to hurt me a lot.
Is it love, or in love?
In love.
Is there something you want me to know?
That I’m supportive of what you do, and that I feel that you could do public speaking. If you put yourself out there, I actually think you could do it.
Cool. Is that it?
(I sing) Thank you!

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