Nels Abbey

Nels Abbey

Nels Abbey is a British-Nigerian writer, media executive and satirist. Prior to moving into media, he was a banker. Nels has been published in major newspapers and magazines and is a co-founder of the Black Writers Guild.

His essays have appeared in two anthology collections; OF THIS OUR COUNTRY: Acclaimed Nigerian Writers on the Home, Identity & Culture they know, published in hardback by The Borough Press in the UK and Nigeria on 30th September 2021, and BLACK BRITISH LIVES MATTER, published in hardback by Faber & Faber on 18th November 2021.

In 2022 Nels wrote a Radio 4 documentary called Boarding Schools: The System That Rules Britain, which focuses on the colonial legacy of boarding schools, an educational model built around and exported by empire-minded Britons of the 19th century. A former boarder, Abbey weighs the benefits of the closed world of boarding school – the camaraderie, the sense of community – against arguments that it puts children at risk of isolation and abuse. He also hears from a Nigerian mother whose daughter was sexually assaulted while boarding and looks at a long-running campaign by teachers in Kenya to abolish boarding completely.

Upcoming publication:

HIP HOP MBA: What the Empires, Moguls, and Business of Rap Can Teach the World (Canongate in the UK – 2024)

A one-of-a-kind look at the business of hip-hop, showing just how today’s most successful musical genre has come to influence and dominate the fields of art, commerce, and culture the world over.

Today hip-hop is the most successful musical genre, and its biggest stars have become household names the world over. But their influence and prominence isn’t confined to radio’s Top 40. Jay-Z is a billionaire with multiple companies and business ventures bearing his name and leadership. Rihanna runs a fashion empire. Sean Combs is a one-man international conglomerate. Just how did this come to be?

In The Hip-Hop MBA, banker-turned-writer Nels Abbey explores the principles of business and economics through the rise and triumph of hip-hop. From Sylvia Robinson’s founding of the Sugarhill Gang to Biggie and Tupac’s nationwide rivalry and the unstoppable dominance of rap and hip-hop today, Abbey shows just how the world of rap has come to determine not only what we listen to, but what we wear, what we watch, and even what we eat and drink.

So prepare to get schooled in this one-of-a-kind marriage of business and art.

Praise for THINK LIKE A WHITE MAN (Canongate – 2019)

“This hilarious rulebook sheds light on the black experience in the UK. If you follow the “White Man Commandments”, it says, you will be able to achieve anything beyond your actual abilities. This original approach to discussing race is funny, intellectual and timely.” – The Independent

“Cutting!! This book rewarded me with dark, dry chuckles on every page. I had to laugh, because if I didn’t, I would cry” – Reni Eddo-Lodge

“I really can’t think of any comedian, satirist or journalist (with a sense of humour) that has made me laugh out so loud and be so stimulated intellectually at the same time. No messing people, Nels Abbey has written the most original book ever … It takes hold of your cerebral cortex then grabs your funny bone, and it doesn’t let go until the very end. Honestly. Even the appendices shine with brilliance. What kind of book is this? I don’t know. Just read it and see how difficult it is to put the label on the work of a true mastermind” – Benjamin Zephaniah

“I can’t recommend this book enough … Hilarious work from Nels Abbey” – Dane Baptiste

“Hugely entertaining and entirely unapologetic … as comical as it is bleak” – Cosmopolitan

“I have no doubt this is the book to shake up 2019 the same way Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race did 2017” – Derek Owusu, Big Issue