We had the good fortune of connecting with Naomi “Nairobi” Allen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Naomi “Nairobi”, what do you want your legacy to be?
I want to be remembered as someone who touched lives, inspired individualism, promoted health, healing, innovation, and positive change in the community, was generous and compassionate with a good heart and a sweet spirit, as well as a mentor to the youth and communities that I served. I want to leave a long lasting legacy that can empower those I am leaving behind and the lives that I impacted. The youth is truly our future and it’s a huge reason why my work is centered around them.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a singer/song writer, actress, rapper, spoken word artist, playwright, director, painter, teaching artist and acting coach, and activist. I have an art business called “Naomi Nuked That,” in which I specialize in 3D paintings, paper maché, and resin and I recently had my first solo exhibition which focused on empowering Black hair. I also teach theater, music, art, and I am an acting coach. What sets me apart is my brand, “individuality, divinity, and purpose,” and I am most proud of my growth as an artist and most excited for my album, “Mood Ring,”which is set to release in September and my merchandise!
I have been performing all my life and it hasn’t been easy by any means, as I’ve been rejected on numerous occasions, faced adversities and roadblocks, and nearly gave up several times. Since a child, I’ve been performing in my city and as of this year, I’ve finally got some incredible opportunities that propelled my career into what it is now: fruitful and busy! Although I am overjoyed, it has proven to be difficult as my own boss because I’ve had to take a lot of chances on me when no one else was willing. When the pandemic hit, I was let go from my job and was in a time of uncertainty but out of that came my art business, Naomi Nuked That. I’ve been painting since I was a child but I figured that I would keep it as a hobby however, after being featured in Amun Ray’s art exhibition and selling my first painting, God told me to start my art business. Due to my faith in God and my business, I made over 1K in two days of selling art for the first time. Another test came when in 2021, God told me to quit my 9-5. I was fearful because I was reliant on that income at that time and I wasn’t getting many opportunities to perform but I believed God when he told me it was time to rest. He said that I would soon be entering a season of harvest and that I would soon reap from the seeds I’ve planted but that I first needed to rest and so I was obedient. After a few months of having less money than I felt comfortable with but just enough to get by, the bookings came and I’m currently booked until the Fall.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to keep God first and trust and advocate for myself. As long as I continue to promote, believe in myself, stay true to who I am as an artist, and keep learning, people will believe in me as well. It’s an exciting journey because while I’m college for my Bachelor’s of Fine Art I’m Acting, I lost my confidence. It was an incredibly racist institution and experience for those 4 years was very traumatizing for me and it’s a huge reason why I haven’t acted since but in the bright side, my confidence in my music and my voice has been restored. It’s also really important to always be a student, to continuously study your craft, work on your strengths and weaknesses, and get better because discipline and a willingness to try new things is important.
I want the world to know that I am a survivor of my environment, sexual assault, rape, and suicide, and that if I can overcome those things and make an effort to heal and be a light to someone else, it’s very possible for anyone to do.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m kind of a nerd so I would take them to art museums, Randyland, and a picnic by the river, where we could catch up and watch the sunset. There are so many great restaurants so it really depends on the mood but no matter where we go, they have to have fries on something! Whether it’s a burger, salad, sandwich, or in their wrap, they’re getting fries!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First and foremost, I truly have to thank my God because I do not know where I would be without him. Without his guidance and these God given gifts, I honesty would not have the courage or strength to do this for a living.
Additionally, I have to thank my support system, 1Hood Media, where I began recording music, my family and friends, and most importantly my mother, who has always supported me in everything I’ve ever done. Whether it was financial or verbal, my mom had always shown up for me and she’s the reason that I have faith to keep going and keep creating. She’s truly my biggest supporter.
Other: Art business Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/naominukedthat/ TikTok: @_queenofnairobi @naominukedthat
Photos by Kitoko Visuals by Ishara