Who Is the ‘Blue Man’ in Beyoncé’s ‘Black Is King’ Film?
Beyoncé ruled the first weekend of August with the release of Black Is King and it still has people talking. The fashion, the music, the themes, and the dancing in her retelling of The Lion King either enchanted you with its grandeur or left you with mixed feelings.
Regardless, there were several standout figures in the Disney+ film who commanded the audience’s attention, including the “Blue Man.” But who is the dancer that shared the screen with Queen Bey?
The Blue Man’s name is Stephen Ojo
Ojo — who goes by the stage name Papi Ojo — hails from Lagos, Nigeria, but his family immigrated to the U.S. back in 2008, putting down new roots in Brooklyn, New York. According to an interview with Time, dance has been running through his veins since childhood.
Ojo told the publication that he, his brother, and one of their friends used to practice routines to Afrobeat music and post their perfected performances on social media. They eventually gained a local following too.
Sadly, Ojo lost his older brother Emmanuel in a drowning accident in 2016, and he lost his desire to dance. Then he had a change of heart. “But I had to sit down and say to myself, ‘If Emmanuel was here right now, would he want me to quit dancing? Or would he want me to keep pushing the legacy that we’re trying to create for our family?’” he told Time.
Ojo and his friend formed a twosome and received their first big break dancing with Rihanna at the 2018 Grammys. After that, they were tapped to work with other artists such as Janet Jackson and Teyana Taylor.
How Papi Ojo linked up with Beyoncé
During his chat with Time, Ojo revealed that opportunity came knocking in the form of Beyoncé about one year ago. A phone call changed things.
First, he was recruited to work on the superstar’s “Spirit” music video, and that led to a callback for Black Is King. He traveled all over the world as part of the crew to tell a different version of Simba’s story.
Ojo praised Beyoncé’s work ethic and shared that he had to keep the project secret up until its release.
He complimented the singer’s collaborative approach too: “Paying homage to the originators, paying respect to our culture—some people might not care. But she was very receptive. She was being respectful the whole time, listening. And every move was clean, sharp, crisp.”
Ojo added that he wanted to make sure he represented his culture and Beyoncé the right way, so he worked extra hard on the choreography.
Papi Ojo has a music career too
What may surprise fans is that Ojo is a singer in his own right. According to Voyage Houston, he dropped his first single “Awelewa” in 2019, but said most fans only knew him for his dancing. He’s hoping his music career will take off once people get hip to it.
After filming wrapped on Black Is King, Ojo jumped back into his music. COVID-19 affected his ability to earn, so he temporarily put it on halt, but things are moving again.
Fans can find Papi Ojo (The Blue Man) on Instagram and keep up with his latest endeavors. He’s getting ready to drop a new single “Beremole” soon.