New Video Alert: Royalty by Eli Fola

New Video Alert: Royalty by Eli Fola

Eli Fola’s new music video for Royalty shows what identity is at the root — textured with culture, history and commentary. With its kaleidoscopic cultural lens, the video illuminates the multifaceted nature of Blackness. It’s as African as it is American, and everything in between, bringing to life the soul that lives through and across diasporic distances. The visual complements the sonic storytelling that lives within each note Eli plays with veracity, vision and intent. Eli flexed his multihyphenate talents, having arranged and composed the song, while also playing talking drum on the record, producing the beat, and playing the saxophone. Check it out below:


Artist/Producer: Eli Fola
Director: Imani Dennison
Art Director: Akua Shabaka
Lead Trumpet: Aquiles Navarro
Spoken Word: Leslie Olabisi/Jurien Huggins

Director Imani Dennison on the inspiration behind “Royalty”:

“When I sat with the word ‘royalty,’ I immediately asked myself what were different ways I could show the dexterity of Blackness, and the different aesthetics that fall under black royalty. From durags, traditional African attire, to nakedness, I wanted to paint a picture of what it looks like to be royal. Once I listened to the track, I began pulling images that made me feel. Gritty New York style images, images from the continent, stills from films—I needed to first create a world using the song as a soundtrack. Once that was complete I sent everything to art director, Akua Shabaka and she completely made sense of my vision. She really gave the concept a language I was missing and this ended up being one of my favorite collaborations to date.”

About Eli Fola:

As the creator and pioneer of the genre, Yoruba Tech Soul— a fusion of traditional Nigerian sounds, electronic, jazz, house, and classical music — Eli adds a modern twist with tinges of traditionality in everything he makes. Having released his first project in 2016, in 2017, he went on to make his TED Conference debut under TedxCuny as a speaker and performer, focusing on how music can be used to reconcile and highlight differences in culture and identity. He’s performed at the Art Basel No Commission event in Miami, opening for Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, ASAP Rocky, and Swizz Beatz. Eli’s work and name have graced the pages of publications such as Wonderland Magazine, Fashion Glossary UK, Okayplayer, Okayafrica, and Milk Media, and recently mentioned as an act to watch in The New York Times.

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