Akala is a BAFTA and MOBO award-winning hip-hop artist, writer/poet, historian and social entrepreneur who fuses unique rap/rock/electro-punk sound with fierce lyrical storytelling.
More recently known for his compelling lectures and journalism - Akala has written for The Guardian, Huffington Post, GQ magazine and the Independent. He has also delivered inspiring keynote speeches for the Oxford Union and TEDx.
Combined with being awarded an honorary Doctorate by Oxford Brookes University and the University of Brighton, Akala has gained a reputation as one of the most dynamic and articulate talents in the UK.
With an extensive global touring history, he has appeared at numerous festivals both in the UK and internationally, and has led innovative projects in the arts, education and music across South East Asia, Africa, India, Australia
and New Zealand.
Akala has also appeared on NPR, PBS, MTV, BET, Channel 4, ITV, Sky Arts and the BBC promoting his music, poetry and speaking on wide-ranging subjects from music, race, youth engagement, British/African-Caribbean culture and the arts, with numerous online lectures, podcasts and performances that have reached millions via YouTube/Spotify.
Born to a Scottish mother and Jamaican father, he grew up in Kentish Town, London and is the co-founder of The Hip-hop Shakespeare Company, a music theatre production company launched with the support of Sir Ian McKellan, aimed at exploring the social, cultural and linguistic parallels between the works of William Shakespeare and that of modern day rappers.
The younger brother of rapper and vocalist Ms. Dynamite, Akala released his first album It's Not a Rumour in 2006 which won him rave reviews, including a MOBO Award. His second album was called Freedom Lasso, and his third –released in 2010 – was titled Doublethink.
With an extensive global touring history, he has appeared at numerous festivals both in the UK and internationally, and has led innovative projects in the arts, education and music across South East Asia, Africa, India, Australia and New Zealand.
A passionate historian with a fierce millennial following, Akala is a natural choice for brands keen to engage the youth audience.
His first memoir, Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire, published in 2018, is a searing modern polemic about race and society: from the first time he was stopped and searched as a 12 year old child, to the day he realised his mum was white, to his first encounters with racist teachers. It is already a Sunday Times best-seller, having sold over 250,000+ copies worldwide.
The following year, 2019, The Dark Lady was published by Hodder Children’s Books, part of Hachette. It is set in a “magical realist Shakespearean time which brings to life the vibrant, visceral, violent and adventurous world of the Renaissance”.
Always working to promote bigger ideals to the collective through his work, Akala takes his own experiences and widens them to look at the social, historical and political factors that have shaped modern society, and where we might go from here.
In 2015, Akala co-founded a creative publishing hub which produces creative content across music, books and TV. One of its latest productions, 'The Ruins of Empires', is an adaptation of Akala's graphic novel / epic poem of the same name - combining Hip Hop poetry and emerging technology, this innovative production blended both traditional and game engine animation with motion capture techniques and wearable technology, further pushing the envelope of the global Hip Hop art form.
Combined with being awarded an honorary Doctorate by Oxford Brookes University, the University of Brighton and University of Exeter, Akala has gained a reputation as one of the most dynamic and articulate talents in the UK today.