Lola Adesioye (Robinson 2004)

Lola Adesioye is a British, New York-based writer, commentator, broadcaster, and singer-songwriter. Through her writings, Adesioye seeks to advance new, more diverse perspectives and use media, culture, and creativity as tools for social change.  

Adesioye was born to Nigerian parents on November 4, 1980, in London, England. Her grandfather Ebun Adesioye was one of Nigeria’s pioneering figures in journalism and public relations. She attended Rosemead Preparatory School and James Allen’s Girls’ School, both prestigious private schools in South East London. Adesioye excelled academically and musically, becoming the Head Girl and a Music Scholar at James Allen’s. She also participated in the European Youth Parliament and competed on the debating team.

Then, Adesioye came to Cambridge University to pursue her Bachelor of Arts, matriculating in Robinson College in 2001. At first, she studied Italian and Spanish in the Modern and Medieval Languages course but later switched to Social and Political Science (now HSPS). Adesioye later received an honorary master’s degree from Robinson College.

Adesioye engaged in politics at Cambridge both at her college and throughout the entire institution. She served as the Anti-Racism and Ethnic Minorities Officer of the Cambridge University Student Union for two years respectively. She was also a member of the team that produced the Little Black Book for students of color at Cambridge University, a book that won awards and was adopted by the Department of Education and Employment as part of an initiative to promote inclusivity. Adesioye made an appearance in the BBC documentary series Black Ambition, which followed her and seven other black Cambridge students, during her last year at university in 2004.

After graduating from Cambridge, Adesioye developed her musical skills and worked in the music industry at Atlantic Records, a major record label, and Ministry of Sound, a dance-urban label. She transitioned into project management for large worldwide music events, and she and Live Aid and Live 8 producer Kevin Wall, were responsible for the multi-million dollar, award-winning Nokia New Year’s Eve global music show. Under the stage name Lola Vista, Adesioye continues to perform as a singer-songwriter.

The diversity and globalism of Black people are demonstrated in Adesioye’s life. She is British and Nigerian and has been a resident of the US since 2007. Adesioye has also lived in post-apartheid South Africa and traveled considerably. “I would like to think that the idea of a one-dimensional Black person is the stereotype that I’m challenging,” she declared in an interview with Cleo TV. 

Adesioye has had the chance to witness the many ways that Blackness is perceived throughout the world because to her travels. In her words, “Being black in the UK doesn’t mean the same as being black in the US.” On the one hand, the term “Black” has a larger connotation and is associated with centuries-old customs from Africa and the Caribbean. While Adesioye was growing up, the Black community was unable to assert itself in a primarily white British culture, and she frequently faced the insulting question, “Where are you from?” On the other hand, since slavery prevented most Black Americans from knowing their true origins, the issue of any other country of affiliation was irrelevant to them. In comparison to Black Britons, Black Americans also exhibit better self-organization, identity, and visibility. “In London,…. I was the only Black girl out of a large group of mainly white friends… When I came here [the United States], it was like I’m celebrated and people want to hear what I have to say, and I can talk openly about being Black.” 

Adesioye’s writings on the UK, US, and African social, political, and cultural issues have been published in several international publications, including the Guardian, the Economist, the New Statesman, the Huffington Post, and Forbes Africa. She provides commentary for American and international TV and Radio networks such as the BBC, CNN, and Al Jazeera. In the future, Adesioye intends to launch her own business by combining her efforts in journalism and commentary.