Mandem is an anthology exploring Black masculinity.
The collection of short essays are written by some of our finest contemporary Black writers with themes of vulnerability and raw honesty.
Dipo Faloyin is a senior editor at VICE, where he focuses on race, culture, and identity around the world.
We spoke to Faloyin about his contribution to the Anthology …
Please introduce yourself …
My name is Dipo Faloyin. I’m a journalist and the author of, Africa Is Not a Country. I’m originally from Lagos, Nigeria but London is now home.
Can you tell us how and why you got involved with Mandem?
It was all Iggy. He reached out to me back in 2020 and I jumped at the chance to contribute a chapter to
this important project that is so badly needed.
Please tell us about your contribution to Mandem …
My chapter is called, How To Build an Immigrant. It’s about my journey from Lagos to the UK and the challenges that came with leaving everything I knew, examining my identity and what it means to be Black in a completely new environment.
Tell us about your writing process …
After Iggy set out the brief, I knew pretty quickly what I wanted to do. I’m normally quick to come up with ideas, but I’m a slow writer. What follows normally requires doing plenty of reading and walking and listening to others that I admire. For me, writing is communicating and so I wait until I can find the right voice.
What does being a Man mean to you and when did you discover its meaning?
I feel certain it doesn’t mean just one thing. A benefit of social media is that we can see how the concept of being a Man can be defined in so many ways across cultures and traditions. The more I read the work of Black creatives, the more I understand the constraints that are often placed on us to be a certain way.
What does Mandem to you personally?
Mandem as a book and a concept offers an essential platform for Blackness to be explored. It means so much to me because we desperately need more opportunities to tell our own stories and set our own narratives.
Tell us about a challenging moment during this project that you had to dig deep to get through.
It was both motivating and intimidating to have my words alongside so many writers that I admire on such an important project. When I feel stuck or uninspired, I read. It helps to see new paths and break away from my own stall thoughts.
A sentence, a moment, a paragraph in How To Build an Immigrant that defines what you want the reader to understand about you and why you said yes to being a part of Mandem …
In my chapter, I write about speaking to my parents before wanting to adopt my middle name ‘Emmanuel’ when I moved to the UK just to fit in better. They told me that I could, but they told me that they were confident that one day I’d regret it because my real name is what made me unique and spoke to my true identity. I hope Mandem helps other young Black boys embrace their true identities as my parents encouraged me to embrace mine.
Considering your career evolution, where does this project sit on your checklist?
It’s certainly one of the biggest career highlights to date. To see my work in a book alongside some of the best creative minds in the business is such a joy and a blessing.
I want to continue to tell stories that platform the diversity and history of our community.
How do we keep up to date with you and your work?
You can follow me on Instagram @DipoFal and check out my work on my website www.dipofaloyin.com
Where can we get a copy of Mandem?
In every single good bookstore and online retailer.