Meet Ooooota Adepo, the African Entrepreneur Bridging Cultures Across Continents

Meet Ooooota Adepo, the African Entrepreneur Bridging Cultures Across Continents

An advocate for the social issues and artistic riches of Africa, Nigerian-born entrepreneur Ooooota Adepo is on a mission to reframe our global narrative around culture, travel and race.

“daughter of the African continent and citizen of the world”,
Ooooota Adepo is an entrepreneur on a mission to build a future in
which all cultures – and specifically African culture – are
uplifted, and creative innovation can flourish beyond political and
geographical borders.

Nigeria-born and London-based, Ooooota has had a career as
diverse as the many places she’s travelled. With degrees from an
Ivy League university and Cambridge
under her belt, her business ventures have taken her from the
finance and tech sectors to journalism and contemporary art.
Disconnected? You may think so. But together these passions have
led her to become an effective advocate – in five languages, no
less – for the cultural riches of her home continent.

In 2013 she founded Cross Culture Creative, a consulting agency
that connects African artists with the world market. Through her
TEDx Talk and various writings (including this
for SUITCASE), she has opened a cross-cultural, global
dialogue that illuminates the struggles behind Africans’ freedom to
travel, the pervasive impact of Western culture, the presence of
systemic racism and how, as travellers, we can actively redress
these imbalances. During lockdown, she has cooked up her latest
project, Dynein, a
culinary guide that helps to bring the flavours of restaurants and
hotels around the world into our homes.

Here, Ooooota unveils the vision behind her latest projects,
lets us in on her favourite places to eat around the world and
explains why the travel industry needs to be more diverse.

Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do.

I am a curious person who solves problems with creativity. In
where I’m from, my interaction with children of different
nationalities at school broadened everything I’ve known to be
important. As an entrepreneur, I work to make contemporary life
culturally exciting. As a creative, I use writing, photography and
fashion to celebrate people, ideas and craftsmanship. As a human
being who happens to be an African woman, I speak out against

You started Cross Culture Creative to connect businesses
outside Africa with the African market. Tell us more about it.

Being multilingual and invested in the uniqueness of cultures, I
realised that my “tentacles” across continents could serve key
interests in Africa. Motivated by duty and love, I began Cross
Culture Creative (CCC) to support impact investing in Africa with
the guidance of experts who know the continent intimately. It has
been successful, but not without its challenges. One of the
services provided by CCC is advising on contemporary African art.
Educating Africans on the importance of investing in this asset
class and being a vocal part of the global zeitgeist is sometimes
difficult, but there has been progress.

You gave a thought-provoking TEDx Talk “Are Africans Citizens
of the World?” and wrote a powerful piece on Africans’ freedom to
travel for SUITCASE. What does the travel industry need to do to
diversify and reduce discrimination?

By virtue of the engines powering most communication on travel,
the way we move around the world is often discussed from a Western
gaze. This informs the general narrative around travel, and I’m
talking about the subtleties. Perhaps regions that accommodate
Western preferences of exploration, cultural communication and
comfort are given more attention than others. The travel industry
also generally encourages travel less as a means to personal growth
and more as a way of acquiring cultural capital. Writers,
photographers and people in hospitality should be more diverse, but
also be as invested in learning as they are in sharing.

How have your personal experiences shaped your journey?

I enjoy travelling alone, particularly to places where I don’t
speak the language. I’m forced to immerse myself in the local
culture and form connections on a human level, a skill I’ve
developed since childhood.

Describe the ways in which travel inspires you.

Travel inspires me to want to pick up a language as a souvenir,
which is dangerous because it’s time-consuming. Travel makes me
more curious about world histories, more excited about spices I
cannot immediately access, more restless. It forces me to slow
down, or to move more quickly. To learn.

Let’s talk about your new venture, Dynein

Dynein is a virtual portal to the world via food. It’s only a
few weeks old, but the goal is for it to be a visual, interactive
guide to global restaurants and hotels. Each image – a dish cooked
and photographed by me – alludes to a restaurant or hotel. Red
roses, for instance, evoke the atmosphere, mystery and excitement
that define the experience at Paris’s Hôtel Costes. Such
pictures transport me back to a place and I’m once again
mid-conversation with a curious stranger. All images are geotagged
with credits to chefs, so that they’re informative for people who
care about these culinary heroes and their imagination.

What was the inspiration behind Dynein?

Dynein was born of my need to feel like I could move
and travel during lockdown when it was impossible. Evolving from my
quarantine cooking classes, Dynein became my way of inviting the
world on a gastronomic magic-carpet ride. I’m excited to start
introducing restaurants and hotels across Africa and Asia which are
often overlooked on the sophisticated culinary agenda. Juxtaposing
these spaces is my way of democratising access to culture and

How can our readers interact with Dynein?

Dyneinis active on Instagram. It will soon explore
collaborations with chefs, gallerists and exciting creatives around
the world, all of whom celebrate dining culture. Sign up on the
website for updates

You currently live in London. What are your top restaurant

Barrafina, The Palomar, Brat and Lyle‘s.

What about abroad?

Contramar in Mexico
; La Cuchara de San Telmo in
San Sebastian
; Buka in
; Yamasen in Kampala.

Tell us a secret spot in your home city.

I love Eko Atlantic. It’s a 10 million-square-metre future city
development in Lagos, Nigeria that seems frozen in time. The palm
trees are still three-metre-tall babies. The space is deserted and
surreal. I find it peaceful.

Where will you be travelling to next?

I have no idea. My passport is filled with stamps. I need a new
one. And visas.

Anywhere you haven’t visited that’s on your list?


What’s next for you?

Many things but I want to develop into a
creative hub for conversations on Africa.

Finally, what’s in your SUITCASE?

It’s empty. Waiting to be filled again.

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