Ade Adepitan: All this nonsense about wealth is bullshit”

Q&A: Whether he's making babies or accidental caramel, the 48-year-old TV presenter and former Paralympics basketball player has been pretty busy over lockdown.

Arti­cle tak­en from The Face Vol­ume 4 Issue 007. Order your copy here.

Hello, Ade! Congratulations on becoming a dad. How’s it been being a first-time father in the midst of a global pandemic?

Super intense! When Bolla was born, it was a little disappointing not being able to have friends and family over. But it’s also been quite cool, because I’ve got to spend pretty much every day of the last three months with him. It’s probably fast-tracked our relationship.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about babies?

That something so small could produce so much poo. It’s ridiculous amounts, a constant, day-in-day-out stream. He’ll be giving you this cute smile while you’re changing his nappy, then you’ll look down below and jets of poo are flying out of his ass. Who does that?!

Thanks for the information. Duly noted.

One other thing that’s really amazing: the daily upgrade”. It’s like every day the baby gets a computer upgrade and he can do something different. When I pick him up in the morning, I see this imaginary text in front of me saying your baby’s just been upgraded”. Today he can chuckle, the next day he can stand up, then he can scream even louder than the day before!

You started your career powerlifting, then went into basketball, presenting, dancing… Have you picked up any new skills over the last year or so?

I tried to learn how to play the guitar for a month. It’s too embarrassing to even say, I learned to play the guitar.” If I busked, people would throw rotten fruit at me. I learned to make cocktails, although that’s the road to alcoholism, so I’ve got to be careful! I went on Bake Off, so I learned how to bake. I can ganache it up and I can make caramel. I didn’t even realise I was making caramel at the time. It was so embarrassing.

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It’s been a year of, shall we say, experimental haircuts, too. When did you first start to grow your iconic dreadlocks?

I always wanted dreads, but my Nigerian parents were like: Are you a Rastafarian? Eh, what is this in your head? Why?” I’ve had them from when I was probably about 17 or 18. I had bare haircuts, though, back in the day. I had the afro, which my mum did for me, I had the square cut. You wouldn’t see the top of my head on Zoom. Square cuts don’t work for Zoom.

Have those dreads been difficult to maintain over lockdown?

It’s been really hard, because I’ve got lazy now. I used to twist it on my own, but I don’t do that now, so it’s kind of raggedy looking. And my baby, he can clench. When I’m holding him, he just grabs my dreads and he’s not letting go. He’s trying to scalp me.

What’s the first thing you’ll do when restrictions lift?

We’re getting our garden done at the moment. [Soon, we] should have an amazing patio, a beautiful lawn and a tree, but they’re so expensive. The East London in me is thinking maybe I could go to some park, chop a tree down, put it in the back of my car and bring it back. But that’s what I’d love to do, get our garden [done] and have a barbeque. Hopefully, the sun will be shining and we can sit out with a pisco sour, chilling with my baby and my missus. That would be my best life.

You’re part of one of the most memorable BBC idents of all time. Do you remember the dance routine?

Maybe if someone played the tune. Every now and then, people will walk behind me and hum the tune. I’m like: Wow, you guys need to get out [more] if you can remember that!” Some people think that it’s still on TV. It has been on since 2006! If it had I’d be going to the BBC and saying: Pay me! Where is my cash? Where are my royalties?”

Finally, Ade, if you could be prime minister for a day, what’s the first thing you’d do?

I would try to make us a bit more like Bhutan. They prioritise education and health over profit and money, and that’s where I think this country should be at. The ethos and philosophy we have is too centred around trying to make money. I’m about community. The future is about us gaining knowledge, educating ourselves and expanding our minds. All this nonsense about wealth and trying to drive a faster car and get a bigger house is bullshit.

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