Hyping up our Staff: Josh Akapo makes GUAP x Converse’s ‘Blacklist’

We love praising the awesome people on our team for their achievements, and today is no exception. Our Account Executive and final year student Josh Akapo has just been announced as one of the people to make Guap x Converse’s ‘blacklist’, a prestigious 30 under 30 list for black entrepreneurs/creatives/brand owners, the list goes on. Josh and his creative agency ‘archtype’, along with his work at Hype, was praised immensely, and we’re very proud to have him as a member of the collective.

We caught up with him to chat about his achievement, and why the ‘Blacklist’ is so important for people of colour trying to make moves in their industries.

Hype: Hi, Josh, congratulations on such an amazing achievement! Can you tell us what the Blacklist is, and how you got featured?

Josh: The blacklist is run by GUAP magazine, and it’s a list which includes the top 30 under 30 black creatives and professionals from all different mediums. They reached out to me, and I’ve had a relationship working on projects with them since 2016, so I was really thankful that they’d included me. I’ve watched the blacklist go up every year since 2018, and had always wanted to be featured on it.

It was also featured on Pinterest’s main page yesterday, so that was really crazy for me to see.

Hype: The shoot for the list looked like it was a really cool thing to be a part of. What was that day like for you?

Josh: So, they change the theme of the shoot every year, and this time it was school/yearbook photos. That was great for me, cause I did not like my school photo. My hair was awful! My hair itself was a pain for the actual shoot and I had to reschedule four times to get it right for the pictures!

When I finally got there, they were playing gospel music. If you look at the photo included of me, I was literally singing along and that’s why my hands were everywhere. I was directing myself like Mariah does.

Hype: Can you give me an insight into your career journey, and ultimately how archtype came to fruition?

Josh: Long story short (or as short as I can make it) we were a group of three broke year 12’s, in Kent, with nothing to do, and no way to make money. We decided we were going to make a t-shirt company, with cool graphics and mark up the price for profit. I nominated myself to do the social media marketing, and they said ‘yeah we’ve definitely thought of that angle of the business!’ (they had not), so I got started on that.

We then came out as archtype, and released our first piece in January of that year. We ended up working with a bunch of cool people to deliver merch campaigns for them, to keep our business afloat. One of the best projects we did was when we worked with lovebox festival and stormzy back in 2016. I was actually searching on twitter for lovebox tickets, and found an opportunity to work with them. It involved a lot of sleep deprived meetings, where we’d get back home at 10pm, and have to get up early the next morning for sixth form. Although it was exhausting, it’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had as a creative.

Halfway through doing Hype’s merch (which we also worked on) we made the decision to become an agency. We already had experience in running campaigns for other people, so we just went for it. In January 2020, we relaunched as an agency, and we’re working with some really cool clients, that I sadly can’t tell you about just yet.

Hype: Why do you think showcases like this are so important?

We always see 30 under 30 lists from a bunch of companies, in all sorts of industries. But, they’re always filled up by white or privileged faces, or by people whose parents gave them money to keep their brand alive (shout out to you, Jeff Bezos). We never really get the chance to see the talent from under represented backgrounds, especially black backgrounds. What I love about GUAP, is that it’s a black owned organisation, giving back to and showcasing black talent.

The list is filled with so many amazing people, such as Jojo, the founder of No signal, Loriane from Woman to Woman podcasts, and Scully, who is a pioneer in radio and presenting. It was really cool to see some people on there that I’d actually met before, too.

Hype: Finally, do you have any advice to young creatives who want to succeed in the business you’re in?

Josh: This is going to sound really contradictory, but what I’d say is you don’t have to do everything at once to be successful, or to be regarded as a good creative either.

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