Tyler The Creator Reveals The Impact Virgil Abloh Had On Him Using His Last Name

In recent years, Tyler The Creator has been using his full name, Tyler Okonma, more regularly in creative projects, especially in the credits of film projects which credit him more often by his government name than his nom de plume. A big reason for that was the late Virgil Abloh, as Tyler revealed in a touching Instagram post remembering the designer’s passion and impact on Tyler and other Black creatives.

“few years back i started using more of my African last name OKONMA because of how regal Virgils felt,” Tyler shared. “Everything he did felt like he said ‘hey over here, coast is clear’ whenever i questioned things.”

In a longer post than he usually shares, Tyler described Abloh as “a true geek” and “a cheerleader for everyone,” vowing to follow in the late designer’s footsteps. “That hand of his opened doors, lead people in and tossed the keys outside for the next person to have,” Tyler recalled. “wish i was able to see him see what his helping hand did for me. his spirit is around tho. i feel it. he’ll see it. i’ll keep pushing and trying things while leaving the door open. he’ll shake those pom-poms. we’ll keep that on loop. safe travels.”

Abloh’s death was reported on Sunday by his personal accounts and those of the LVMH brand (where he had been artistic director for the last few years), revealing that he’d battled “a rare, aggressive form of cancer” since 2019. His death was met by a wave of appreciative posts from friends and fans, who praised his creativity and pioneering in the world of high fashion, as well as a dedication from Kanye West.