Tomi Afolabi is a gorgeous queer babe who works in the music department at MTV (hello coolest job ever). Tomi hopes to make a difference by introducing more diversity into the entertainment industry. We know how influential media is and we couldn’t agree more.
I went to college with Tomi and all I really know is that she has the voice and face of an angel. I wanted to learn more! It was a pleasure to interview Tomi for today’s Seven Minutes in Heaven.
GO Magazine: Who are you and what do you do?
Tomi Afolabi: In short, I’m a 24-year-old queer Nigerian-American girl (/woman???) by way of Maryland. I overthink constantly, eat a lot of food, sing non-stop, listen to a lot of music, go to a lot of shows. I also work at MTV in the music department and get to work with some really dope artists alongside an amazing team. My department acts as the liaison between the channel and the music industry. We book appearances and performances for everything on MTV from Wild n’ Out to the newly re-launched TRL to the VMAs. My job doesn’t always end when I leave the office, which is why I’m constantly at shows seeing who can put on a good live performance. I really love it.
GO: What is the driving force behind your activism/career/art?
TA: It can be extremely difficult for my views on social inequality (regarding sexism, racism, homophobia, ETC.) to align with the entertainment industry. I imagine a world where the voiceless finally have a voice, and as a QWOC working in music, I know I have the potential to help bring that into fruition. It’s all about representation and perspective. The more diversity there is in this extremely influential industry, the more likely we are to make a difference.
GO: Who are your biggest queer lady role models?
TA: I’d say all my peers who are QWOC. I’m not sure exactly where I fit in the community yet, so it’s really inspiring and comforting to see other QWOC living their best lives, sharing their art, and being unapologetically themselves.
GO: Where do you go for inspiration when you’re feeling discouraged or depleted?
TA: My room. I am such a homebody! My own space gives me peace of mind and allows me to recharge from the madness that is NYC. You can find me in my bed watching music videos, on the floor practicing YouTube yoga, or attempting to become Brooklyn’s next renowned DJ. Whatever I’m doing, if I’m in my room, I’m good (or will be eventually).
GO: Describe your style in three words.
TA: Cozy. Deliberate. Eclectic.
GO: What music are you listening to right now?
TA: Wow, I always get so overwhelmed by this question. Right now, I’m obsessed with this artist from Manchester called IAMDDB. I’ve never heard anything like her music before, so go listen.
According to my recently played, I’m super into Be My Baby: The Very Best of The Ronnettes, Ty Dolla $ign, Prettymuch (“Open Arms”!!!!), Jamila Woods’ HEAVN, Brent Faiyaz’s Sonder Son, “Plot Twist” by Marc E. Bassy, BOSCO, H.E.R., “Fasta” by Kah-Lo (a fellow Nigerian), “Laidback” by RAT BOY, and Sabrina Claudio.
I recently felt the need to listen to Nirvana’s Nevermind, and I’m so upset it took me this long to do so.
I am forever and always listening to Nina Simone, Celine Dion, Frank Ocean, and SZA.
I also cry myself to sleep to Daniel Caesar every night.
GO: How can people find you?
TA: Y’all can always find me at Belli Osteria in Clinton Hill during brunch hours (shout-out to their $23.95 bottomless brunch). My Instagram will also keep you up to speed on all of my whereabouts, so there’s that: @tomifeyyy.