Race, inclusion & LEGO: An interview with Ekow Nimako [Feature]

Due to the tragic murders of George Floyd, Manuel Ellis, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and far too many other African-Americans, racial injustices that Black people experience every day have come to the forefront of white consciousness once again. We’ve been examining how this very real-world issue affects the hobby we participate in, not just for a moment in time but on an ongoing basis. Earlier this week, we sat down with Canadian artist Ekow Nimako, whose LEGO work we’ve featured several times, including his stunning Flower Girl sculpture and wonderful Beasts from Bricks book.

Our conversation with Ekow covered his experience growing up playing with LEGO, interactions with the LEGO hobbyist community, the Afrocentric and Afrofuturist themes of his artwork, and how LEGO communities such as The Brothers Brick can operate more inclusively.

We ask you to watch the full video before reacting with comments. While the reaction from some quarters to recent statements we’ve made that Black Lives Matter has been dismissed as “political” and some reactions have been outright hateful, by and large the response from the LEGO hobbyist community has been empathetic and supportive. Nevertheless, there is much more to be done. A number of our readers have rightly pointed out The Brothers Brick’s own contributor list as one area where we can improve, asking us to work harder to recruit a more diverse team while highlighting more non-white builders and highlighting the LEGO creations of people of color. As I committed to during the video conversation with Ekow, one of our next steps will be to kick off a new round of contributor recruiting to improve our own diversity and better represent the community we are a part of.

7 comments on “Race, inclusion & LEGO: An interview with Ekow Nimako [Feature]

  1. Julian

    Interesting discussion! I appreciate the insights about LEGO’s yellow minifigure skin tone (as well as on “The Simpsons“) and the LEGO MOC “aesthetic”. And Ekow’s sculptures are jaw-dropping, thank you for introducing us to his art!

  2. Roloff

    Just wonderful and very insightful, inspirational, I’m hoping for a follow-up too. Very well done.

  3. mischa mclachlan

    Awesome work digging in on this, and how it relates to our passion. We all have to help!

  4. Mike McFarlane

    That was a really informative, eloquent and inspiring interview that I hope has moved my own understanding on. Let’s keep the conversation going and get the work done. Peace. And a follow up with Ekow to talk more about his own work and the influences on it would be brilliant to help to bring more ideas in to my own artistic practise.

  5. LamborghiniWaffleSauce

    I watched this interview with Ekow a few times, and it’s really informative and inspiring.

    Hearing his perspective of the LEGO hobby and the community was very helpful since I feel the same way due to the circumstance being a person of colour but also a LEGO fan.
    While I’m not as not knowledgeable in all the matters that Ekow is, I agree with his point and can also offer my own perspectives on them.

    I’m looking forward to more content highlighting and uplifting AFOLs and other LEGO enthusiasts from all around the world!

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