Genesis Owusu 4.14.22

Patricia Lim

We’re all ignorant of everyone’s individual experience except our own, and yet, as much as we may not like to admit it, we all contrive preconceived notions when we encounter humans from outside our small worlds. The new can spark contempt and curiosity, but either way, it’s best to slow down and listen before we act on assumptions.

As a Ghanaian immigrant living in Australia, Genesis Owusu has been looked at with both curious and contemptuous eyes, but thankfully he discovered the creative judo of turning pain and alienation into fuel for his art. With fashion and music, Owusu leans into his individuality, and our concert club members experienced it first hand as he entered Studio 1A flanked by bondage attire wearing backup dancers, adorned with his shiny gold grill and rose-red two-piece suit. Like Prince’s “1999” though, the outward flamboyance and infectiously catchy music are a subterfuge to pull our ears in to listen close.

Notions were certainly preconceived as the dancers rattled their chain leashes attached to gimp masks, but the performance revealed itself to be much more than shock and spectacle. During “Need You,” a song within Owusu misdirects lyrics about depression with an irresistibly ecstatic dance track, Owusu ripped the masks off his dancers to reveal beneath the bondage a group of shockingly young faces. After all, what else could be beneath the disguises than human beings?

We all wear masks for different reasons, but the one that people wear with depression deprives the senses and eventually suffocates. We are blessed Owusu found a way to channel some of his into a very special Studio 1A performance and an incredible debut, Smiling With No Teeth. That said, we love to romanticize the roses that grow from concrete, but exceptional artists like Owusu should remind us that most didn’t get a chance to see the sun. Hopefully, Genesis can sneak some light into your life too if you check out the video below.

Follow Genesis Owusu


“The Other Black Dog”

“Need You”

“Song About Fishing”

Genesis Owusu – Vocals; The Goons: Sean Lenaghan, Michael Lenaghan, Baley Howard


Producer: Deidre Gott; Audio: Casey Cheek, Will Clark; Cameras: Patricia Lim, Michael Minasi; Audio Mix:Rene Chavez; Edit: Michael Minasi

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