Post by Fab 5 Freddy
Backstage at Central Park’s Summer Stage concert series on a hot June afternoon in 2015 I met Young Paris. I was there to see the enchanting Cape Verdean singer, Myra Andrade
perform. I was talking with Myra backstage when he approached to introduce himself to us.
I assumed Young Paris was a part of the show somehow because his face was decorated with an artful array of white markings. We chatted and he told me he wasn’t performing that day but that he is a musician and calls what he does “Afrobeats” with an “s.” It is a play on “Afrobeat,” the infectious genre pioneered by Fela Kuti in the 1970’s. Young Paris is taking pages from Fela’s playbook and doing what I love to see: cleverly flipping the script. The iconic Fela Kuti also sometimes painted his face for performances, and he famously combined African rhythms with a unique blend of jazz and funk while lyrically singing revolutionary truth to power. (Photos below: Fela Kuti on the left, and Young Paris on the right.)
Young Paris is cooking up a tasty stew of Afro rhythms, hip hop lyrics, electro and House beats giving us new flavors to groove to with a strong sense of Afropolitan pride and his stylish swagger. Oh yeah, along the lines of that old hip-hop mandate, “keeping it real,” Paris goes about his life in New York City with his face painted most days of the week.
Paris’s flair for the theatrical is the DNA gift from his Congolese parents. His dad was the founder of the celebrated National Ballet of The Congo. His mother, a well known Congolese playwright and dancer joined his father’s dance company and they eventually married and had 10 children. One of their offspring born in Paris, borrowed the name of the city of lights before they moved to New York City and Young Paris was born, again.
The breaking news is that Young Paris was recently signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label and for sure, bigger and better things are on the way for this exciting new talent.
Young Paris at Brooklyns renowned Afro Punk Festival, 2015:
A few of Young Paris’s music videos:
Some additional photos of Young Paris: