Papi Ojo, The Creator • EBONY

Beyoncé’s visual album, Black
is King
has taken over social media and sparked conversations of both
praise and criticism, but one thing cannot be overlooked: the young man painted
in blue from head to toe dancing alongside her.

The man underneath the paint is Papi Ojo, the 22-year-old
Nigerian-born artist, actor, model, and choreographer. With accomplishments
including performances with Rihanna, Janet Jackson, Teyana Taylor, Davido, and
others Papi Ojo is building on his tremendous momentum by preparing for his new
single, “Beremole,” to be released on August 7th, 2020. “Music came first and
then dancing,” he said when discussing his two passions, “but they go hand in
hand.” His initial hesitancy to put out his music changed when he realized that
taking a chance on himself was worth the try. Following his first single,
“Awelewa,” which came out last year, “Beremole,” the Yoruba word for “get down”
or “boogie-down” is a reminder of what many of us have been missing while stuck
inside during quarantine: partying with our friends and enjoying ourselves. The
visuals and clips on his Instagram of the music video bring together bright
colors, intimate dance moves, and high energy– the perfect culmination of an
unforgettable summer fete.

When discussing his musical process, Ojo notes the importance
of connecting with the beat of the song before the lyrics flow. “My goal is to
make a song that I personally feel, so my audience, my fans, can feel the
emotions I’m trying to portray.” Switching between working collaboratively and
independently, Ojo takes prides in ensuring his audience can sense his genuine
connection to the music. While COVID-19 made securing a music video location
difficult, Ojo and his team were able to film safely to add another song to his

The recent attention he’s gained from his role in Black
is King
adds fuel to his motivation to further his career not only as a
dancer, but as an actor and artist; Papi Ojo has only just begun to show his
fans what he’s capable of achieving in the music industry and “Beremole” is a
reflection of that. In response to those who may see him solely as a dancer,
Ojo replied, “I’ve never liked that idea…I genuinely love what I do, and I
genuinely love expressing my talents.” The connection Ojo has to his music is
integral to the relationship he builds with his fans: “My goal is to cater to
my fans…the fire is going to catch, it’s going to circulate and everybody’s
going to hop on the wave; it just takes patience…”

The excitement on his face and in his voice was clear as he
spoke about this new project and with all the opportunities coming his way, he
understands the importance of taking things day by day and staying dedicated to
creating daily.

In a moment when all eyes are on him, Ojo says his motivation
is focused on the generations after him. When he doubts himself, he remembers
the interactions he’s had with children from his church, family friends, and
strangers who tell him how much of an inspiration he is to them. “If I’m
inspiring other people, then I have to stay strong for them and stay strong for
myself. I want to keep being that inspiration for people.”

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