At this moment almost everyone, if not everyone, is familiar with Beyonce’s ‘BLACK IS KING’ movie, and the ‘Already’ song on it, starring Ghana’s very own Shatta Wale.
Black Is King is written and directed by and starring Beyoncé, with a packed cast, including husband Jay-Z and daughter Blue Ivy.
The first song published out of the movie was ‘Already’. The near five-minute music video opens with The Gift track Follow Me (Rafiki Interlude), performed by Donald Glover as Simba and John Kani as Rafiki.
While the interlude is playing, images are shown of dancers – some painted blue – covering their eyes with their hands before Already kicks in and Beyoncé appears. Buzzfeed.com took the opportunity to interview the main lead dancer painted in blue who has solo takes with Beyonce.
Editor Terry Carter Jr. FaceTimed with Stephen Papi Ojo, to find out more about his character and get some behind-the-scenes details about what it was like working with Queen Bey, teaching her his native dance moves, like the gbese, and how he managed to keep it all a secret — until the release, which you can find a link at the bottom.
When asked how he was selected he replied “They brought me on board to show them Afro movements, Afro dance style, and give them the basic meaning to the dance moves. And then my role just grew as time went by. I guess they just really loved my energy and loved who I am as a person, and [the director] blessed me with the role.”
But this wasn’t his first time, the dancer explained how he initially built a relationship with the team after working with Beyonce on the ‘Spirit’ video prior to becoming a choreographer for them.
When asked about the meaning of his character he explained “Honestly, I took that character very personally. I was told that my role was the prince’s — or Simba’s — subconscious, to lead and guide him through the different stages of life. So I took that role as the blue man being the subconscious of Stephen Ojo, being my subconscious, to guide me and lead me through the stages of life.
This is a stage of life that I needed to be guided through. That’s why every time they asked me to perform, I was always going hard because this is a new chapter of my life. This is a game-changer in my life.”
But the dancer also reveals a very surprising fact that showed that this meant more to him than one could ever imagine. Papi Ojo told the interviewer Terry why it was such an uplifting day for him. That day was my 22nd birthday. I lost my older brother when he was 22 years old to a tragic accident. I was drowning and he came to save me and then we both went under in a pool. I was able to get out and my brother couldn’t make it out.
He continued “Me and my older brother were best friends. We danced in the same group. So the bond is very tight. So knowing that I lost my brother when he was 22 years old, I’ve always carried this weight on my shoulders and some kind of guilt in my heart. Even though my parents do speak to me and people do counsel me and [say] “it’s not your fault,” but no matter what they say, even if it’s not my fault, there’s always this chip on my shoulder.”
That is very chilling, and there is no doubt knowing that brings way more life to the video than one could never imagine. Take this and watch the video again, listen to the lyrics and notice how it is no longer about Beyonce or Shatta Wale any more but instead about Papi Ojo.
Read the full interview below.
Follow us on Instagram @FashionGHANA_com | Twitter: @fashionGHANA | Facebook: Fashionghana.com
To Submit stories Email: [email protected] or HashTag #FashionGHANA