Collective Conversations... talking to writer Ben Ilobuchi!
At Collective Closets, we believe in individuality, authenticity, and celebrating the beauty of our diverse community. As businesswomen, we share the story of our influences and upbringing through our designs and the beautiful textiles we grew up with. We created Collective Conversations to spotlight the amazing people around us and find out how they share their own stories. This series spotlights members of our tribe, gaining insight into their values, passions, and the drive behind what they do.
This month, we're talking to Ben Ilobuchi. A pretty incomparable guy who's hard to sum up in a series of rapid-fire nouns (but we'll try anyway), he's a writer, content creator and teller of ridiculous jokes.
Growing up in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, Ben's interests lay in music, movies and general disruption of social and/or professional settings. Later channelling this energy into creative work, he started writing for local publication, POCC Mag. Now freelancing across journalism, content creation and production, Ben's work is an often-hilarious glimpse into his characteristic take on the world. He's also on TikTok.
For this edition of Collective Conversations, we stepped into Ben's Flemington neighbourhood and onto the courts. We talked about family, music and – naturally – basketball.
Describe yourselves in three words?
Confident, unconfident, consistent.
Why is music such an important medium in your life?
It’s cringe, but I use music as a kind of backing track to my life as if I were in a movie. I use it to control my mood and affect the ‘narrative’. It’s powerful like that.
How do you express your creative identity?
By writing. By making videos. Making jokes, bouncing ideas off of my friends.
What are some things that you are leaving behind, letting go of, or unlearning in order to move forward?
I’m trying to let go of the part of me that assumes everyone else gets what’s going on and I don’t. I think it’s hammered into our heads as children that everyone knows what they’re doing. I’ve realised recently that they really do not. It’s okay to feel dumb.
How does music contribute to your sense of self?
Music taste is a good way to relate to similar people. It’s a personal art form so when you find people who like the same stuff as you do, it’s very confirming and connective. It helps me with my sense of self by aligning me with others. That’s all a wanky way of saying I’m a snob.
What’s a hard lesson that you were grateful to learn?
Other than your mum, no one out there will truly put you before themselves. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Everyone has to make choices that benefit them.
What relationships are you grateful for?
While I obviously love my family, I am very grateful for the friendships I’ve created as an adult. Having a group of people who I care for and love without genetics to hold us together, is a thing of beauty. Very grateful for it.
How would you style a look from the Songa Pamoja collection?
I think I’d just wear the shorts with a white shirt and some sneakers. I like breaking up a basic outfit with a colourful status piece.
Do you have a happy memory you associate with a particular song?
My mum used to sing ‘Three Little Birds’ by Bob Marley when I was upset as a child. I sing it in my head now when I’m upset.
Is there a particular song that has become a mantra to your life?
‘Good Day’ by Nappy Roots comes to mind. It’s a song about not waiting for a good day, but making one happen. It sounds like privileged, faux-spiritual garbage, but you really can control a certain amount of your mood by just deciding how you feel. The brain is not that smart.
Outside of what we know, have you fostered any hobbies/interests over the past year? Tell us about it.
I’ve never really been into sport but over the multiple lockdowns we’ve had, I picked up basketball. As a tall Black guy, it’s been looming over me for my whole life, but I’d never wanted to play. Now that I’ve started going down to the courts by myself to shoot, I feel like I’ve been missing out. It’s very therapeutic. I also beat everyone I play against which is validating.