Afrobeat and the genres growing from that are having a renaissance right now as it steps further and further into the mainstream, becoming a favourite for old school lovers and new listeners alike. One artist who is advocating for the uniqueness and creativity of the African diaspora in art and culture is Shopé. Based in Toronto, the Nigerian-born artist was teased in school for his Africanness and spent many years trying to downplay his heritage.
Shopé goes on to tell us about this his journey:
“As I matured, some things started to shift my perspective, one of which was coming to witness the disadvantages of people of colour in the western world. In 2013 I visited Nigeria for the first time since leaving in 2000. Leading up to that, I had already been having convictions of re-connecting to my roots. Those convictions continually grew stronger, finally solidifying during that 2013 visit. I knew I had to find my way back home and somehow connect it to my Toronto identity. It took some more time to establish that connection, but now 7 years later, the signals are clear.”
With that clarity, ‘Rikiki’ was born. A vibrant afrofusion track that connects his love for Nigerian music with contemporary styles.
“RIKIKI is my contribution at bridging my western identity with the motherland. It is a project for those in the African diaspora. Although a self-coined term, the song (and eponymously titled EP) is an expression of a fierce, deep rooted confidence that took me so long to develop. Simply put, “Rikiki” is meant to communicate confidence, courage, boldness…not caring what others are doing/thinking/saying about you. Simply being strong enough to be you.”
Shopé also celebrates the talents of the models and dancers featured in the high-end visual production below.