Our interview this week features the inspiring Sasha P. Rapper, Fashion Entrepreneur and activist. She takes us on a journey into the world of music, fashion and business, and shows why it’s important for women, especially to keep evolving.
Congratulations on the launch of your EBS Sneakers AND the launch of the Eclectic by Sasha flagship store. How does all of this make you feel?
Thank you so much! Wow, it’s a mixture of emotions to be honest. I am very happy but at the same time it feels like, now what next? You go through life having dreams and aspiring to goals and if you are lucky enough to get any done? The reward is more work! Hahaha but I’m grateful God is good.
Give us a bit of background okay? How did your foray into fashion start?
It really started out as a solution to a personal problem. Growing up my mother had a fashion business called “Poise “ and she made a lot of my clothes, sometimes I would take pieces from the cutting table and make stuff for my barbie dolls. Fast forward to my introduction into the entertainment industry and I discovered I would think up an idea to go with the theme of my performance and I wouldn’t be able to find the appropriate clothes!
So I started making my own. I was studying in Unilag at the time and people would frequently ask where I bought this or that, so it became a business and then God gave me the vision to begin my own retail line and here we are!
So what does ‘EBS’ stand for, and why did you choose to design sneakers specifically, and not maybe jeans for instance?
EBS is short for Eclectic By Sasha. Well the vision is to grow into a one-stop retail shop, and I started with sneakers because a lot of my male friends or colleagues are always asking that I do something for the male market. So I decided to do a pair of Unisex shoes as a way to do research and develop more ideas for brand expansion. So far the response has been amazing and we have almost sold out the limited edition offer of 25 pairs. I’m so grateful to everyone for the support.
Let’s backtrack a little bit and talk about your music, what’s happening on that front?
A lot still! I never stop working, music is my happy place. I’ve been working with a range of producers and once the story is complete there will eventually be an album. I have learned so much being an entrepreneur and life itself is the inspiration for the direction of my music. I also have a few singles out and a feature by Urban hype a Hip hop group from Zambia called “LETA” which means “Bring It” The song came out this year and a video will follow soon.
What motivated you to go into music? I mean, it wasn’t like it was hugely popular, back when you started out?
Passion and also a dream that I would someday be a house hold name! I grew up listening to all kinds of music and was particularly fascinated by the Jacksons and the Motown era so it wasn’t uncommon to visit our house and find me on a table performing to my siblings with a remote control as my microphone. Music is my happy place!
Most people don’t know that you studied law, how did you make the switch to music, and now becoming a fashion entrepreneur?
Well there was never really a switch, I recorded and performed as an artist through out my university degree and even had a bespoke fashion business then as well. I’ve always done the things that I do now but as God increases the platform the reach and awareness becomes broader.
You know, I’ve always said that you remind me of Eve, of the Ruff Ryders fame, does she in anyway influence you?
Oh most definitely! She was one of my earlier influences and I’m a huge fan of her music, a lot of people did say we had a similar style when I started out but I think as time went on I came into my own style, look and sound.
I like your instagram page; very thoughtful, very introspective, and very profound. Do you at anytime ever people say “Ah, Sasha, why so deep?” And what’s your response to that?
Thank you!!! It sort of started with my twitter because I was on there first, and I would do a series once in a while I call the Be-inspired series now it’s called (SP-inspired). Maybe at first there were a few “are you a preacher now?” But mostly people appreciated it and would send thank you messages or see me in person and say it encouraged them and that encouraged me too. I am a lover of literature, I love poems and I love motivational quotes so either I compose one based on whatever experience I’m having at the time or just see something I like and decide to share it. My response to any taunting commentary is simple though “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
Name 3 each of your favourite Nigerian and international designers
Jewel by Lisa
April By Kunbi
Alexzander Mcqueen (RIP)
What sort of music are you listening to right now on your pod?
Ohh I recently fell in love with Brazillian soul music, it’s very soothing, Asa, M.I Abaga, Big Sean , Emeli Sande and Ed Sheeran.
Who is the quintessential ‘Eclectic by Sasha’ woman?
THE ECLECTIC BY SASHA woman is bold, daring , adventurous , loves comfort and not afraid to walk ahead of the crowd, they are upwardly mobile women who find beauty in the simplest things
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would that be?
Like every woman I have my hang ups now and then but I honestly am comfortable with the woman I’m becoming, one thing I would like to do more is stick to my work outs consistently and that is very doable hahaha!
How have you dealt with the times of pressure, challenges and weakness? What keeps you going?
God and family, I read a lot, listen to music, I go to church and I just try to stay focused on the big picture, everything eventually works for good for those that love God!
What would you want to be remembered for?
I was at a Myles Monroe (RIP) service once, and his message was about a book he had written but what struck me were the lines “The place with the most dreamers and people with potential is the graveyard.” He said because most people never fulfill their dreams due to a combination of factors or circumstances, they end up gone without sowing seeds. He challenged us to “Die Empty” and that is really what I would like to be remembered for, someone who pursued and explored her capacity to the best of her ability.
If you could, what would you tell your younger self?
Life is not a fairytale, not everyone with a smile is truly clapping when you win, but brace yourself and remember always that every experience is an opportunity to be greater, Worry less, pray more and be responsible for your happiness!
Follow Sasha on instagram and twitter: @sashapofficial
The Leading Ladies Africa Series is a weekly interview series that focuses on women of African descent, showcases their experiences across all socio-economic sectors, highlights their personal and professional achievements and offers useful advice on how to make life more satisfying for women.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa; an initiative that seeks to effectively mentor and inspire women, with particular emphasis on the African continent.
Do you know any woman of African descent doing phenomenal things? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we just might feature her.