Skateboarding might be an American invention, but it has long been international. And while skate-friendly cities like New York, San Francisco, Paris, London, and LA get the most attention, smaller scenes have been on the rise elsewhere around the globe.
Nigeria’s biggest city Lagos has one such scene worthy of attention. The local skate scene is on the rise, helped by Motherlan, the new streetwear brand-meets-skate team thats championing Nigerian skating.
Founded by local skaters Obiekwe, Ehi, Leonard, Slawn, Jamal, Onyedi, Nathan, and Max, Motherlan just dropped its first skate video, Edward, which is named after a member of the group who passed away. away.
The collective takes a casual approach with their brand. “Motherlan is just us, just skating, just doing our thing,” Onyedi explains. And that’s exactly what Edward is, an insight into the laid-back, day-to-day activities of the group.
While Motherlan and WAFFLESNCREAM show how skateboarding is on the rise in Lagos, trying to find a place to shred in Africa’s most populous city isn’t without its challenges — something you can see in Edward. Shot over a two-year period, the video shows Team Motherlan skating DIY ramps, weaving between cars, and even skating on a moving bus — the sorts of things you have to do when there are no skateparks around.
“We literally just go around all day trying to find new spots, which is hard as fuck,” Onyedi laughs.
We caught up with the crew to find out more about the Lagos skate scene and what inspired them to make Edward.
Tell us about Edward. Why did you make it?
Onyedi: We made Edward because we thought it was about time that we showed everyone what we’re really about when it comes down to skating, especially that we’re the new guys around. Nobody’s really seen the skate scene in Lagos and I guess we’re all that there is at the moment. We just wanted to prove to everyone that there’s shit out here happening.
Hopefully, more kids around Nigeria see the edit and realize that you don’t have to stay inside or follow in someone else’s shadow to have fun. There are new things out there and it’s staring right at you. We aren’t even the best skaters. We’re just here to show you the key to the door and have fun doing it.
What’s the skate scene like in Lagos?
Obiekwe: It’s literally just a handful of skaters and we only have a few proper skate spots that we’re at, but it’s growing. We still get a lotta shit for skating though. People don’t fully get it yet. We’re getting kicked outta spots, harassed by the police. People shout the classic “Don’t break your head” and stuff like that.
It’s weird because other places have older skaters who’ve done crazy shit that they can look up to. But here, when we skate a spot, we’re the first to do it and that feeling is awesome.
Do you think the local scene is getting better?
Onyedi: For sure. It’s weird because when we started skating together, we were the only ones and everybody looked at us weirdly, like we were wasting our time or not doing anything productive. It’s been about two years and now I see guys our age and a lot younger practicing and picking up a deck, whether it’s just from them seeing us skate on the street before or that they’ve heard about us from somewhere. I still find it crazy how familiar skating is becoming.
Obiekwe: Yeah, definitely, the movement is gaining momentum. We’re showing people that this shit can actually be done in Nigeria and they realizing how fucking cool it is. It’s all about normalizing it, so a kid skating on their own can feel like they’re not wasting their time with this, or that they’re some kinda weirdo. For the most part, it’s working, and every now and then we get a sick surprise when we see new people picking up skateboarding.
The video is dedicated to your friend who passed away. Can you tell us more about that?
Onyedi: Edward was like family to us, so we had to immortalize his name and show everyone how much he meant to us. Edward was going through a lot of stuff in his life, but he was also the one to keep us all together and who motivated us to focus on Motherlan.