Olympio Releases ‘EPG’ During Black History Month
“EPG is a critical reflection of history, as it amalgamates with the current challenges we face as individuals but also as a society. The chant ‘Exploitation, Power, Greed, I can’t breathe’, captures the pain of the struggles that are not standing still but moving and constantly evolving. The song is one to invoke hope, not pity, it is a call to mobilise and see the powers that move the pieces. The enemy is not each other, the enemy is ignorance, the machine of systemic injustices and a history left behind and unacknowledged.“
Growing up in Ireland, Raphael Olympio (artist name Olympio) was not aware of the richness of his heritage and ancestral background. He grew up believing that the stereotypes were real. His history was taught in schools exclusively in terms of slavery and colonisation. It was only when Raphael went to visit Togo that he was hit with the reality of beauty and acceptance that was quite overwhelming for the young artist. Arriving back, he took a deep dive into learning about the emperors, kingdoms and most importantly the people. “It’s true what they say, only through the past, we can know ourselves.”
Music Video Insights
In looking at the past, the warriors depicted in the video highlight the strengths of women that are often invincible in revolutions.
EGP does not exist as one entity, the reference to the biblical story of Samson and Delilah highlight this form. The three EPG characters (depicted as three masked people with black suits) move between the past and the present, what exists as invisible forces in our society are now given faces and can be held accountable.
The triad that is EPG, is a force that has distorted and manipulated the truth, invaded human lives, eroded human rights, natural resources, and so much more. They have not only colonised nations but also history, creating narratives that invoke violence, acts of segregation that continue to persist. “I believed that there was no more to me and my history than slavery and colonisation.”
In this world, we do not have a poverty issue, we have a problem with wealth distribution.
We do not have a hunger issue, we have a problem with accessibility, we don’t need to look too far back in our history to see the tragedies of the famine, the exodus of the young people, friends, and families separated.
Raphael believes that everyone can connect to these three words when it comes to a difficulty they are going through in their life – migrant or not. Many of his friends discuss their heritage and how they came to be the way they are. On a larger scale, people of colour and those from minority origins face a lot of prejudice and racism in the west today because of the colour of their skin, their identity, the cultures they practice, or the beliefs they hold. Their past is even exploited against them. “In a sense, I’m calling it out.”
Raphael Olympio, known professionally as Olympio, is an Irish rapper, spoken word artist, singer and songwriter. Olympio is a proud Cork native with Togolese heritage. He first encountered music in church, where he developed a taste for live gospel music and also began writing poetry and fictional stories whilst in direct provision. In his early teenage years, he started composing songs, poems, and spoken word as he found it easier to speak up about the struggles of his life through music. On television, Olympio looked up to singers, actors, comedians, and just generally good entertainers who looked like him. Unfortunately, the media did not view people of colour in a positive light unless they were “entertainers”. As a result, these were his only role models when he was younger. Influenced by artists such as 2Pac, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Kanye, Lecrae and Kid Cudi, Olympio aspired to be just like them. His communicative style has so far contributed to a number of collaborations and performances at Indiependence, Electric Picnic, Other Voices and more.
Olympio is currently an independent artist who enjoys dabbling into various genres to explore his versatility. His music is driven by narratives that reflect his current situation, the challenges in his life and the community he belongs to.
His latest single ‘EPG‘ is a critical reflection of history, as it amalgamates with the current challenges we face as individuals but also as a society.
21/09/22 – Music Cork Showcase, Cyprus Avenue, Cork
29/09/22 – Other Voices, University College Cork
18/10/22 – Theatre Forum Conference, Marina Market, Cork
23/10/22 – Trash Culture Revue, The Kino, Cork
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