Lost Kids Get Money: Growing up Albino in Ireland, as Dami O
The concept of awareness and representation have been highlighted so much in the past couple of years. It is truly encouraging seeing humans as a unit show compassion and appreciation to different backgrounds, types of people and culture. This year although, most likely after being “couped up” in the house and listening to Brent Faiyaz’s new album, especially the song; “Lost Kids Get Money”, the topic of representation has been an going discussion with myself and peers; not really a debate, It’s more listening to other peoples experiences and coming to one conclusion together, “Shits rough, but be grand”. You could say this Googlemeets link up with Irish based RnB artist Dami O was one of these types of discussion.
Damilola Ojikutu moved to Ireland in 2008, Born and raised in Surulere and then Mushin, Nigeria. Growing up with a congenital condition known as Albinism, Dami had to deal with a lot of stigma in his own grass roots less talk of here, in Ireland. “I had to be able to firm it”, Dami briefly talked about the "dog eat dog" lifestyle in Nigeria. Being Albino in Nigeria although was less of a struggle as there were families and even communities of Albino people in the country.
From young I knew I was different, I experienced it(discrimination) in Naij but it’s a norm in Nigeria, people already know what it is.”, Dami continues “ the treatment here (Ireland) although was much more.
"I went to school in Kildare. I was not just the only Albino but like I was the only one with any African bloodline. Imagine having to convince people that you’re Nigerian, and I get a ‘no you’re not you’re white.’ It's weird how people can be uneducated when it comes to it.”
Dami is a musician, loved music for a while now. It's safe to wonder if he did or ever thought about incorporating his condition to the art he put out.asked him if he incorporated it into the art he put out; “I’ve always loved music but I started taking it seriously about 2/3 years ago. I used to sing for fun when I was younger. For me, it was an escape, Just being in my own world, my own space, music is like therapy to me even though I know it sounds so cliche. I wouldn’t say I incorporate being Albino in my music.I never saw myself as anybody different so I never felt the need to.
Going back to that song in Brent Faiyaz's album, although the actual song may not be interpreted this way but the title makes me think: A cry for Identity; when you’re the only type of yourself in an environment; there's more of a kick to make a difference. I ask Dami if being different makes him feel like he has a lot to prove or a lot to say? He replies; “Yes, I do, even from watching the music scene in Ireland for the last couple of years, it's always been about the struggle with being black, I understand it's still a struggle but there is strength in numbers; I never understood why people say the support isn’t there when it 100% is. When someone like myself drops music in a country that isn’t receptive to my type of person, It’s a lot harder to get backing. So with that, I do have a lot to prove.”
With the year coming to an end (finally smh), I asked Dami for any plans in the remaining year and he replied with more of a goal for himself; to gain more notoriety and to be out there more often. “With stuff like music videos,” he explains, “I felt like I took a step back away from it because if I do it, people would focus on the fact that I’m Albino doing music rather than the music on its own. I don’t want it to be like that.” He further explains the type of role he wished to play on this journey with his identity
“I’ve been made fun of from all races regarding my skin colour, be it black white or whatever, there’s black people that would act differently towards me because I’m albino. I’ve experienced it and I understand it. If it's something I have to speak on then yea I will speak on it. But don’t use that to judge the music I put out.”
Stay up to date with Dami via instagram and Spotify regarding all things music related;