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Fahd Bello Is the WAFFLESNCREAM Pro Skater Helping Create a Better Future for the Youth of Today

Lagos-based skate brand and collective WAFFLESNCREAM is obsessed with innovation.

Founded in the West Yorkshire city of Leeds in 2008 by Jomi Marcus-Bello, his brother Nifemi, and friend KC Obijiakwu, the trio took their community-focused approach to skateboarding to Lagos, Nigeria, where the collective supercharged the skate scene in the city.

Fellow WAFFLESNCREAM visual artist and professional skater, Fahd Bello joined the WAF. team during his time at high school over a decade ago and quickly formed strong relationships with a slew of fellow skaters – including Olaolu Slawn and Enigma. They all shared a similar struggle: a lack of places to skate and an overwhelming feeling of unacceptance from the wider community in Lagos.

Fahd has never let this lack of support slow himself and WAF. down. In spite of the hurdles he’s faced on his journey in Lagos – a place he describes navigating through as “war every day” – the 26-year-old has never stopped expanding his creative universe.

Inspiring the next generation of skaters in Lagos to follow in his footsteps, Bello is assisting in the creation of a brand-new, first-of-its-kind WAFFLESNCREAM skate park in the heart of the city.

As the first state-of-the-art skate facility in Nigeria, the WAF. Skatepark is aimed at creating a dedicated, family-friendly space for expression and youth development. Measuring at 800 square feet, WAF. Skatepark is the first concrete skate park in Lagos offering skate programs and facilities for all. Housed in the historical Freedom Park, it will include after-school programs, a clubhouse, coffee shop, group, and one-on-one classes, and girls-only skating – making the space the most inclusive, safe, and community-driven skate venue to ever open in Lagos, Nigeria.

While the skatepark undergoes construction, Hypebeast caught up with WAF. member and skater, Fahd Bello to discuss life growing up in Lagos, pursuing a career as a pro skater, and how important it is to give the next generation in the city something to be inspired by.

"There are a lot of young people that feel like they’re outcasts. Skateboarding has opened a new door for a new path, letting you know that you can do this.”

Hypebeast: Who are you, where did you grow up and what do you do?

Fahd Bello: My name is Fahd Bello, I’m a visual artist and a pro-skater for WAFFLESNCREAM - it’s a streetwear and skateboard brand based in Lagos, Nigeria. I was born in Ibadan originally, but I was raised in Lagos. I grew up in Lagos. That’s pretty much it!

When did you first hear about WAF?

I first heard about WAF through a group chat that my friend from high school added me to. I used to skate in high school with this dude, his name was Deray. Then, I didn’t know anyone was skating in Nigeria, except me and my friend. So he added me to this group chat with all these Nigerian Skaters, from far and wide.

Somebody texted the group chat: if you’re based in Lagos, and want to be part of a skate group, just hit this line. I messaged the number and it turned out to be Jomi, the owner of WAFFLESNCREAM. That’s how I started. I hit him up and told him my age. It wasn’t so official, it was like “What are you saying?” “Just pull up and skate.” I met WAF. like that - online, through WhatsApp.

Fahd Bello WAFFLESNCREAM Lagos Nigeria Sports Skater Skatepark Skateboarding Community Africa Boards Decks
Fahd Bello WAFFLESNCREAM Lagos Nigeria Sports Skater Skatepark Skateboarding Community Africa Boards Decks
Fahd Bello WAFFLESNCREAM Lagos Nigeria Sports Skater Skatepark Skateboarding Community Africa Boards Decks
Fahd Bello WAFFLESNCREAM Lagos Nigeria Sports Skater Skatepark Skateboarding Community Africa Boards Decks

What’s it like being a skater in Lagos, Nigeria?

Man, being a skater in Lagos is…[laughs] you know, it’s extreme. Skateboarding is an extreme sport. Like, there’s just no space for you. You have to create that space. You have to just know how to improvise and make use of the environment around you. It’s hard… it’s war every day. You can go for a sport and that sport will stress you out but Lagos on its own, with the people and the intensity, bro.

There are not enough words to articulate what it’s like being a skater here. It’s free. It’s freeing! You feel good but at the same time, you know it’s a battle every day because there are people… always on some shit, trying to stop you from skating. And there are forces – spiritual, physical, all of them. I guess that’s the whole beauty of it.

What’s it like being a pro skater? 

Turning Pro for WAF., for me, is something that I’m always grateful for. When I started skating, I didn’t think anything would actually happen, if I'm being honest. I always thought it would probably take forever. But then I started to skate with WAF and the journey has been crazy, it’s been great.

It’s also very good for the culture and for the people that are getting into skating, the young ones, the kids. They’ve seen something they can become and will become even better. I’ve shown them that you can do this: you can turn pro, you can make money off this, you can get sponsored. You can have the right group of people around you that will support you in this skateboarding journey that you have. It’s really important and amazing that I’ve been able to be an example for the kids that are coming up in the next generation.

"Some people express themselves on a board. In Lagos, Nigeria, it has opened our minds to something new and exciting. Where there is opportunity, there is a way and skateboarding is the way in this context."

What is the skate community like in Lagos, Nigeria?

The skate community is small, but it’s growing. There’s a lot of young talent, energy and positivity. It wasn’t always like this but more kids are coming out, with more confidence to skate because they’re seeing more people that have similar tastes to what they like.

There’s guys, there’s girls and it wasn’t always like this. It’s coming together – the skate community is growing very fast. It’s burning like wildfire. We don’t have everything here but we make the best of it. It’s mind-blowing how creative the scene is and how far it gets taken. The skate community is love and unity. A lot of talent too. It just needs the proper facilities to grow.

What are the challenges you face skating in Lagos?

We go through a lot of challenges because we don’t have a skatepark right now. There’s not a lot of conducive environments for us to actually skate. People drive crazy, you can’t even get space. Everything is tight, everything is close to each other. So when you find a spot, it’s either extremely restricted or there’s just something wrong with it.

We face a lot of challenges. The spots are really limited and the security is insane. People, genuinely, don’t mind their business. I mean, sometimes, we do inspire people. People stop by and look and are like: “Wow, this is crazy. I love this.” In other scenarios and cases, they’re like: “Woah woah, what is this? You shouldn’t be doing this.” Different kinds of forces try to stop us, especially the law. These are the things that hinder our progress from getting better. The lack of spots, the lack of a skatepark. For growth.

Fahd Bello WAFFLESNCREAM Lagos Nigeria Sports Skater Skatepark Skateboarding Community Africa Boards Decks
Fahd Bello WAFFLESNCREAM Lagos Nigeria Sports Skater Skatepark Skateboarding Community Africa Boards Decks
Fahd Bello WAFFLESNCREAM Lagos Nigeria Sports Skater Skatepark Skateboarding Community Africa Boards Decks
Fahd Bello WAFFLESNCREAM Lagos Nigeria Sports Skater Skatepark Skateboarding Community Africa Boards Decks
Fahd Bello WAFFLESNCREAM Lagos Nigeria Sports Skater Skatepark Skateboarding Community Africa Boards Decks
Fahd Bello WAFFLESNCREAM Lagos Nigeria Sports Skater Skatepark Skateboarding Community Africa Boards Decks

What would it mean to have a skatepark in Lagos?

It’s just what we need. It’s a dream. It’s a lifelong dream for every one of us – I’m sure every single skater who has been skating in Lagos, Nigeria has wanted this. It will be a culture shift. If you want to skate, you can skate. Because there is this park. There's a facility meant for just skateboarding. That’s a dream to me. That would be the best thing that happened in the history of skateboarding in Nigeria. It speaks for itself. It’s going to be a wonderful thing for me to witness. Nobody can die before that, we have to be alive to witness it.

For us and the kids especially. When they want to grow and get better and skate, they don’t have to learn the hard way. There’s an avenue for them. It’s something we’ve always wanted and it is just the first step.

How does skateboarding shape youth culture in Nigeria?

The way skateboarding contributes to the youth culture in Nigeria is amazing. There are a lot of young people that feel like they’re outcasts. Skateboarding has opened a new door for a new path, letting you know that “you can do this.” It’s created an avenue for young people to express themselves. Not everyone knows how to play sports, school, or even be an artist. Some people express themselves on a board. In Lagos, Nigeria, it has opened our minds to something new and exciting. Where there is opportunity, there is a way and skateboarding is the way in this context.

"I’ve shown them that you can do this: you can turn pro, you can make money off this, you can get sponsored."

Where’s your favorite spot to skate?

I would say National Stadium. That’s the OG spot, man. Also because it’s on the mainland and because most of us skaters are based on the mainland, that’s where it’s at. It’s easy to access. Everybody gathers there mostly on Saturdays. If anyone comes to this country from anywhere, that’s pretty much the first place that we're going to take you to skate. There’s skateboarding, BMX, rollerblading, and dancers on the side. That’s the spot for real!

What do you think the future of the skate scene in Lagos will look like?

In the next five to 10 years, I see the skate scene in Lagos becoming insane, packed with crazy skaters that are going in, that are shocking the world. I see a more active community. I see two or three skate shops, and two or three skateparks.