Film: BFI London Film Festival Guide

Advertisement

Blanguage Interview for Culture Calling/London Calling

Daniel Amoakoh and Junior Olomowewe

Questions for Blanguage founders: Daniel Amoakoh and Junior Olomowewe

Blanguage are a new boutique agency created by Daniel Amoakoh and Junior Olomowewe. Born and raised in Hackney, they started up in 2018 and sprang out of Fish Tank, now situated in the prestigious offices of Havas London at St Pancras Square. Understanding more than most about the impact the Windrush community have had in building the London they know and love, the two founding directors are on a mission to add value and bring a voice to black culture, using real-life stories and social commentary to reflect on an authentic landscape of black culture and experience. 

 

Here is our July 2021 interview with Blanguage founders: Daniel Amoakoh and Junior Olomowewe.

 

1) Tell us about yourselves - who are you and how do you find working together?

We’re two school friends who have grown up together and more recently brought our vision to life together in Blanguage, a creative agency that helps brands engage with black culture and authentically taps into the millennial and gen z audiences. 

Daniel is our Founder & Head of Creative and Junior is Co-founder, Head of strategy and both of us would say, we’re students of the game.

We’ve been around each other for up to 12 years; navigating London as 16-year-olds obsessed with music and fashion and once we began working together, it all just came together really naturally. We move as a unit and are just as strong as individuals.

We’ve been active members of the emerging creative scenes way before we knew we wanted to build careers and infrastructure within the industry. Blanguage was born as a result of our life experiences and desire to help shape the industry for future generations. It is somewhat destiny we’re here today.  

 

2) How and why did Blanguage come to be?

In 2015, what we now know as ‘Blanguage’ started as a series of super random but informative video calls between two friends about the cultural exchange between London and New York. This led to a somewhat successful podcast talking about pop culture through the lens of two black British people from the diaspora. In 2018, we took a chance at turning what was once a podcast into a to a growing brand whose audience were constantly looking to see what else we’d produce; this ranged from throwing events, to collaborating on art projects and music video curation.  Fast forward to 2021, we continued to add services to what we do as the need for them became apparent amongst our peers and industry needs - which is what makes us who we are today.

 

3) Tell us more about your motto 'Curate the Culture' and how it impacts how you approach your work every day?

Understanding the dynamics and nuances of culture allows us to elevate the experiences our audiences have; we’re always looking for ways to improve how people engage with the things they love and resonate with the most. Behind the scenes, we’re constantly speaking with consumers, creatives and brands and act as the bridge between each party making sure there is a balance between creative expression, commercial impact and audience demand. That's how we provide such a broad offering of creative solutions, we pay attention to the small things that make a massive difference.

 

4) What does it mean to curate in the age of smartphones, Wifi, and information overload?

In today’s world digital interaction have become just as important as the physical ones. Technology such as smartphones, VR, social media etc. have really helped when it comes to reaching more people with your message and through providing tools and platforms to reach your audience in different ways and on different platforms, however because of the information overload it means you really have to understand what makes your audience tick. 

For us it reminds us how important it is to provide content that people really want. We’re a London based brand and without technology our audience base would probably be very local, thankfully though we’ve been able to grow to a point where we have an international community and client base! 

 

5) How have the COVID lockdowns changed how you approach creative storytelling?

Covid lockdowns have changed a lot for us as people. Everyone wants to see real life representation, talk about true experiences and connect with people through storytelling. We’ve been able to tell multiple stories over the past 18 months through short-form docs, music videos and short film; all created throughout 2020 lockdowns and as result have been working on a number of projects from the latest Windrush collection from Hackney Council to the recent Wellcome Collection art installation. 

 

Blanguage’s visual art exhibition at the Wellcome collection

 

6) How did you find the experience of creating Blanguage's first art installation at the 'Being Human Now' at the Wellcome Collection?

One thing we never saw coming was our involvement in any exhibition; ever. We know we have stories to tell. We know we have a point-of-view that resonates with many and represents even more. But what we didn’t know was that we would be able to express this all at a national gallery; like the Wellcome Collection.

Being able to visit the WC libray during our school years to revise and study, and now coming back over ten years later to produce this project that tells so many different stories from 2020 was great. The exhibition itself is dynamic and really important and was led by young people from in and around the borough of Camden; hailing from the Copenhagen Youth Project. It was so compelling to see what they had captured from their subjects and we had the chance to take what they had, conceptualise it, and work with the WC to create installations that mimic living-room conversations whilst reflecting the environments of the people who are telling their stories. Hopefully, many people get to see this and we were impressed with how the entire crew was able to produce this remotely over the year – art really has no limits. 

 

7) Where in London do you go to fuel your creative energy in 2021?

Unfortunately due to Covid many of the places we’d go to enrich our creativity have gone -  Ace Hotel, Citizen M and the many cafe’s and centres that we all worked from. But with many places shutting down and others limiting attendants; it has never felt the same working from anywhere but home. We have built a space where we can isolate from the homely feeling of slumber, socialising or self-care; and created a productive space where we can delve into my work and really think deeply about our goals and next ventures. Now more than ever, conversations amongst the team and with our creative peers are more fruitful than ever.

 

8) Taking a long view of the agency, what impact do you hope that Blanguage will have on the world?

We want to broaden the spectrum and depth of creativity that is recognised and celebrated around the world through our work. We want to give creative freedom to the people on the rise, and we pride ourselves in creating teams and working with people with all experience levels across our productions. Whether it’s a creative duo straight out of advertisement school or an illustrator who’s only doodled in a scrapbook, everyone has the ability to be a part of a dynamic team.

We want to be the voice of the generation who celebrate community, encourage authentic expression and value quality and authenticity. Our brand shines a light on all things that influence the black language and the impact that has on the rest of the world. 

Advertisement
Advertisement