Musical artist and social media influencer Babatunde Akinboboye will visit Grand Rapids for two events, a workshop and a concert.
On Saturday, April 15, starting at 10 a.m., Akinboboye will host a live session as part of BAM Talent’s Broadway Bootcamp Masterclass series at the Wealthy Theatre Annex, 1110 Wealthy St. The session, entitled “HipHopera Guy: From Opera to Social Influencer,” is open for enrollment.
Akinboboye will finish his visit with a concert event: “#BlkMusicMatters,” which will feature West Michigan singer-songwriter, Karisa Wilson and Chicago’s “vocal dreamgirl,” Donica Lynn. The show will take place at The Lit GR, 61 Sheldon Blvd. SE, on Friday, April 21 at 8 p.m.
A singer of diverse talents, the Nigerian American baritone is known for his enthralling stage presence and has performed with multiple performing arts organizations in the US and elsewhere, including the Los Angeles Opera, Opera San Jose, Opera Santa Barbara, Long Beach Opera, and Utah Opera.
Babatunde debuted the role of Drew in the Opera Works’ Arts for Social Awareness Project’s world premiere production of “The Discord Opera,” and the character Zanni in the world premiere of Gloria Coates’ “Stolen Identity.” His most recent performances include Daggoo in LA Opera’s “Moby Dick,” Escamillo in Pacific Opera Project’s production of “Carmen,” Lucha’s Father in The Industry’s production of “Hopscotch” and Valentin in Detroit Opera’s production of “Faust.”
As an advocate for the performance of art song and operatic works written by African and African American composers, Akinboboye has headlined the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry awards in Lagos, Nigeria, performing a fusion of opera and traditional African music, and has been a featured performer at both the National Association of Negro Musicians Annual Conference, as well as the African American Art Song Alliance Conference.
Babatunde’s honors include Regional Finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition, and he was a finalist in the International Eisteddfod Vocal Solo Competition in Llangollen, Wales. In December of 2018, Akinboboye combined his love of classical opera and hip hop and created the new genre Hip Hopera in a viral video that gained over 10 million views and was featured on Time.com, Classic FM, MSN.com and more.
BAM Talent is a theatrical organization located in Grand Rapids, Michigan under the direction of Darius Colquitt. Its mission is “To Enrich, Inspire & Enable Black & Underrepresented Voices through Professional-Level Theatrical Training & Production Works.” Building itself as a “theatrical training ground with a drive for professional-level production works,” BAM TALENT was founded with the purpose of providing artistic training, professional opportunities and community care and outreach for BIPOC & underrepresented voices within the West Michigan community.
For more information or to purchase tickets for either event, visit bamtalent.org.