I AM A LONDON-BASED WRITER, publisher and entrepreneur. I am one of eight children born in the capital to Nigerian immigrants who settled there in 1961. My father, Isola, was a writer, publisher and filmmaker, while my mother, Ade, was a nurse and mid-wife. My grandfather was the tribal king of Owu in Abeokuta, capital of Ogun State, Southwest Nigeria, from 1949 to 1972. He was one of the chief dignitaries who met Queen Elizabeth during her 1956 Commonwealth tour of Nigeria.
My family’s surname, ‘Arogundade’, after which this site is named, dates back to the battlegrounds of ancient Nigeria. It refers to a king, or ‘oba’, who dons his crown in readiness for battle. It originates with the Yoruba — a tribe of over 30 million members, mostly concentrated in the Southwest of the country. There are also many citizens of Yoruba descent spread throughout the US, the UK, the West Indies and Brazil. Yorubas have a reputation for creativity, and professional artists date back over a thousand years.
AFTER LEAVING SCHOOL I trained as an architect at London’s South Bank University. Soon after qualification I branched out into publishing, launching ‘Extract’, a cult style magazine about the lives of non-celebrities. Following this I worked as a freelance graphic designer, journalist and copywriter, winning two advertising industry awards.
A brief stint as a model became the catalyst for my first book, 'Black Beauty' – an illustrated exploration of society's historical perceptions of the black image. The title was honoured by the New York Public Library and became the subject of a three-part BBC documentary. In 2004 I joined a start-up luxury book publisher called Gloria, as creative director. During my tenure I created four super-sized limited editions — ‘Pelé’, ‘Superyacht’, ‘Scarfe On The Wall’ and ‘New York’.
After this I developed a number of television screenplays with Hollywood actor Laurence Fishburne, who then championed my debut novel, ‘The Sexual Language Of Strangers’. In 2016 I launched my own fledgling media company specialising in books and apps. 365 Positivity aggregates health and wellbeing information into a series of self-help apps, while my publishing imprint, White Labels Books, creates print-on-demand, direct-to-consumer fiction and non-fiction. Alongside these pursuits I also work as a voiceover artist and television broadcaster.
White Labels Books
Printed to order, direct to your door
White Labels Books is a print-on-demand, direct-to-consumer digital publisher. Our books do not exist for sale in physical form, but are held as high resolution PDFs on the servers of our printers, alongside 15 million other books. When you order a title from us (via Amazon), it is printed on a large format inkjet press, then packed and shipped directly from the factory to your address. You can order one copy or a million (the latter would be great). We only print what we sell, and so this means less waste and reduced transport and storage costs. This is a big issue for us, as our customers are increasingly concerned about sustainability. Our books do not have glossy outer jackets, and maximum page sizes are restricted. For us, sustainability also means questioning the lavish production values present within traditional book publishing, and instead taking a more ‘skinny’ approach which focuses more on editorial innovation and design.
BOOKS: NEW RELEASE
In Online Dating, by
“Intriguing and powerful.”
BBC Radio 5 Live
“Extraordinary and revelatory.”
Author BenArogundade recounts his journey as an online dater, during which time he was stood up, verbally abused, propositioned for sex and asked to be a father to an unborn child. Along the way he offers singles the secrets and best practices they need to know to boost the quality of their matches, and presents the latest strategies, research-based guidelines and innovations to take their online profiles to new levels of excellence. Get it now at Amazon, £9.99/$12.99.
WE HAVE BEEN SHOCKED and appalled by the murders of unarmed black citizens, but heartened by the resistance of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the demonstrations of people of all ethnicities. But how will we keep the momentum going? As an author, I am determined to transform my feelings of anger, pain and sadness into something positive and inclusive, which gathers and unifies citizens of all ethnicities who believe in fairness, equality and love. Hopefully that is you.
CROWDFUNDING MY BLACK LIVES MATTER BOOK
To add my voice to the movement, I am raising funds to write, produce and publish an illustrated history book that narrates the story of society’s prejudices against BAME people in the 21st century, and the subsequent work of Black Lives Matter. Each person who donates the book price or more (£45.00/$55.00) will receive a copy. The venture is live right now on GoFundMe.
BLACK HISTORY - MY WORK
I have written before about the history of the black experience, in a book called Black Beautypublished in 2000. It went on to become a bestseller, was honoured by the New York Public Library and become the subject of a three-part BBC documentary. My proposed new book is a “sequel” which continues this literary journey.
INVEST IN A HISTORICAL DOCUMENT
The book will become an important educational and historical document that will both inform the growing audience of people seeking to understand how we got here, and help ensure that the aims and values of the Black Lives Matter movement continue to resonate.
This is the most important time in the history of the struggle for racial equality since the death of Martin Luther King in 1968. Let us not allow it to pass without doing what we can.