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“Beyond the tiny realms of a lot of people’s desires”: Osadolor’s STROKE_MY_EGO_RE.MIXED is an ode to Blackqueer possibility

By Maya Green

Hold on, y’all. My friend Osadolor did something here, and I’ve got to stroke their ego real quick. 

Osadolor is someone who has been on the periphery of my Stanford experience since the moment I committed. We were admitted around the same time, in the strange online moment at the start of the pandemic where the way you represented yourself on social media felt more like your real self than your actual body. (Your actual body was mostly wasting away in your childhood bedroom — except for the odd exhilarating moments where you tied a bandana around your face due to the mask shortage and then tried to hold your breath in Walmart, or wherever.)

As senior year of high school ended with a whimper, we tried to stay sane by imagining the four years ahead; a desperate follow-for-follow frenzy ensued, where my Instagram feed quickly became full of people I’d never met (and in some cases never would), a diverse medley of restless 18-year-olds scattered around the world, bound together only by the “Stanford ‘24” newly added to our bios and our complete uncertainty about what the fuck was happening.

I remember going through my profile with intense embarrassment, frantically archiving anything that didn’t fit the self I wanted to be in college. How could I come across as artsy but not pretentious? Smart, ambitious, but not uptight? Open to being friends with whoever but also unapologetically Black? Sexy, fun, and cool, like someone you’d want to know? As I stewed in my own socially anxious hell, I remember seeing Osadolor’s commitment photoshoot, which he’d creative directed himself. Sprawled in his yard, Stanford blazed across his chest, staring at me through my phone screen, his eyes said it all: I’m someone you want to know. There was no question about it. Even in pixels, they radiated confidence. We wouldn’t meet in person for over a year, and wouldn't become friends until even later, but in 2020, I knew the name Osadolor, and I knew I wouldn’t forget it.

“I’m really just excited to continue becoming my own invention.” So opens STROKE_MY_EGO_RE.MIXED, Osadolor’s ambitious sound art project which remixes and reimagines the 2022 worldwide-charting ‘stroke my ego’ series on their podcast a coming of age, but irl. Sitting pretty at a cute 36 minute runtime, the project nonetheless builds an entire sonic landscape where Osadolor is able to ruminate on Blackqueer identity and his own growth, laughter-filled conversations, dream-like confessionals, and voicemail messages from friends all stitched together with distorted Lo-Fi production to create a joyous whole.

STROKE_MY_EGO_RE.MIXED is a scrapbook, a time capsule; it’s a map stretching from Dallas to California to New York to Paris; simultaneously, it defies time and space, rejecting easy categorizations just like the Blackqueerness Osadolor lovingly discusses.

As listeners, we aren’t just invited into Osadolor’s mind, in all its chaotic and creative glory; we’re invited into their world, and with it, their web of relationships. “When I think of you I think of the ocean, and that dark blue that you’ve kind of made your own,”  says one friend in a voicemail fragment, “this force that’s always folding into itself and then reaching back out.” Another friend, in another clip: “Osadolor is a real ass nigga, but he is also a fucking lady.” STROKE_MY_EGO_RE.MIXED is a love letter not just to Blackqueer self, but to Blackqueer community, the way it holds space for joy and jokes and euphoric nights out but also vulnerability, introspection, and critical theory.

I mean, what is scholarship and what is self? Osadolor discards the dichotomy altogether. In breaking down a situationship gone sideways, they say, “Care by itself is not love — word to my sista bell hooks.” They have a unique ability to keep it light even as they go deep, the only explanation for how they can cover themes like desirability, media representation, romance, the heteronormativity placed on queer sex positions, spirituality, Afropresentism, and self-love and still make you feel like you’re chatting on the way back from a wild ass party. 

“We know that this society is not enough for the beauties and expansiveness of our beings, and the potential of our beings, so we try to create that with whatever means we have at our disposal,” Osadolor says on the project, so maybe it’s no surprise that a dope rollout of visuals followed the 2/2 release of STROKE_MY_EGO_RE.MIXED. In a special launch live on March 1st, Osadolor released a limited edition of 50 Gold Archival CDs of the podcast series with an exclusive 12 minutes of the podcast not available online. All profit from the purchased CDs goes toward For The Gworls' Rent and Gender-Affirming Surgery Fund for Black Trans Folks. The CD booklet features exclusive photographs from the cover shoot, some standout quotes, a special dedication section, and a new colorway of Osadolor's logo stickers, last dropped in 2021.

After listening, I have a deeper appreciation for the work that’s gone into building the confidence that was so clear to me on my phone screen in 2020.  “I needed to protect myself because the area I was in was not gonna do it for me,” Osadolor says; as a fellow Southerner, I nod along. It’s far from the only place where I saw myself in these sounds. It’s the magic of vulnerability, the genius of great art: STROKE_MY_EGO_RE.MIXED made me feel a little more known, a little more brave in my own creative pursuits. A little less likely to go through life archiving parts of myself away, and a little more likely to take a chance and direct my own damn photoshoot. 

A visionary in the making is bringing us along with them, in real life, whispering their journey in our ears. It’s like nothing you’ve heard before. It’s an honor to listen. 

Click here to listen to the full project and purchase a limited-edition CD.


Creative Director, Editor, Producer: Osadolor Osawemwenze

Camera Operator: Camila Bueno

Talents: Dame Kebe, Shawn Bennett, Akiva Brooks, and Justice Rossman

Production Assistant: Myiah Floyd

Lighting Assistant: Zella Vanié

Styling Contributor: Cameron Jarrett Williams

Hairstylist: LaidByAudie


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