Today couldn’t go better than celebrating a Classic Man through and through. So, in honour of Black History Month, GLAZIA is celebrating Jidenna – Nigerian-American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer.
Jidenna Theodore Mobisson
“It’s better to do your purpose imperfectly than to do someone else’s purpose perfectly.”
Jidenna Theodore Mobisson better known as Jidenna, was born May 4, 1985 in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, Jidenna grew up partially in Nigeria, where his father was working as a professor of computer science at Enugu State University. When Jidenna was 6 years old, the family moved back to the United States.
In high school he became a co-founder of the rap group Black Spadez, and began producing, arranging and writing. Jidenna released his first album with Black Spadez as their final project at Milton Academy, where Jidenna graduated in 2003.
In 2008, after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity from Stanford University, he pursued his music career while working full-time as a teacher, moving between Los Angeles, Oakland, Brooklyn and Atlanta, before signing a deal with recording artist Janelle Monáe’s Wondaland Records.
He has collaborated with a number of artists that are signed to this label; including Roman GianArthur, St. Beauty, Deep Cotton and Janelle Monáe herself, and then began recording a five-song compilation of its label’s first extended play (EP), titled The Eephus. In February 2015, Jidenna released his first official single, called “Classic Man” featuring GianArthur. The song was in heavy rotation throughout the United States, and debuted at number 49 on Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart.
His song “Classic Man” was nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 58th Grammy Awards. In June of the same year, Jidenna performed the song with Monáe at the BET Awards. Jidenna also received an award for best new artist at the 2015 Soul Train Music Awards in November. He has won three other Soul train Miusic Awards which include Song of the Year, Video of the Year and Best Dance Performance
Jidenna is a founding member of Fear & Fancy, a social club that began in California in 2006. The society, reminiscent of the social aid and pleasure clubs of New Orleans, is an international collective of entrepreneurs, activists, educators, scientists, and artists who host soirees, dinner parties, and demonstrations.
As A Style Icon;
Over the years, the singer developed his personal style in college, where he learned about the power of fashion from his psychology professor Philip Zimbardo. However, he would not adopt his signature dandy style until the death of his father in 2010. Jidenna describes his look as “heavily inspired by the Harlem Renaissance with hints of traditional West African design,” and a “marriage of European and African aesthetics
As an Actor;
Jidenna has made appearances in some films like Netflix’s Luke Cage and HBO’s Insecure. He has also made a performing appearance in The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.