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Ever-Moving Muse Taoheed Bayo Explores Voluntary vs. Involuntary Displacement in His Book, "Move, I Dare You."
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N: Hey Taoheed! Could you introduce yourself to our readers and share your journey from growing up in Lagos to moving to the US?

T: My name is Taoheed Bayo. I am a 26-year-old film director, performance artist, and nomad born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria.

I was born and raised in a small town in Lagos, Nigeria, and was raised there for 15 years before moving to the US in 2013 in pursuit of higher education and a new life. The search for greener pastures and a voluntary displacement in search of better opportunities and the betterment of self and family have shaped my journey to the United States.

As an immigrant, the importance of bringing our culture to the forefront is not lost on me. I have inherited a sense of responsibility for preserving narratives around indigeneity that are reflective of our actual lived experiences. As an Afro-diasporic American, I am an amalgamation of many cultures, my Yoruba background, and my assimilation of American culture over the last ten years.

Dance is my third language, only behind my native tongue of Yoruba and English. Dance, for me, knows no barriers or judgments, it is my avenue of freedom.

All my life, I have ached to move. To stay at point 0 is haunting, impossible, and isolating, knowing that the derivative of a constant is 0. As time goes on, I further understand the urgency to plant ideas and seeds across the world, to leave my comfort zone and embrace discomfort.

Transit makes you grow. Transit is a deep acceptance of the ever-spinning world and our vibrant urge to move, run, and live.

N: What sparked your interest in photography? Was it initially a way to document the transitions in your life?

T: My interest in photography started as an act of remembrance. I wanted to be able to recall my memories and immortalize them.

During my travels, I wrote in my diary: “I take pictures of trees through the changing seasons. Mesmerized by how they withstand the brutalities of winter and blossom during spring and summer,  I note that growth comes with survival." You prosper each time you boldly face the world and prevail through distress.

N: In 'Move, I Dare You,' you explore the theme of being perpetually on the move, suggesting that there's value in both physical and mental movement. Could you share an instance where stepping out of your comfort zone led to significant growth in your art or personal life?

T: In 2021, my urge to move brought me to buy a one-way ticket to London with two of my suitcases. I didn’t know what I was chasing, but I knew I wanted to familiarize myself with the unknown, with things that felt daring and uncertain. I wanted to graze new horizons, dance into the night, have unending conversations, and discover myself.

At this point in my life, I desired discomfort. This journey to London spurred my creative growth. I began to learn ways to define myself; I met people who spoke the same language and opened my eyes to a new world with many questions that needed answers. This everlasting cycle of questions and answers inspired me to travel around Europe in search of Afro-diasporic communes, whispers, creations, and beings.

Move, I Dare You is a physical manifestation of this journey as an ever-moving Black muse.

N: Is there a particular photo or moment in your book that you found especially rewarding to capture? What made it stand out?

T: There is a photo of my parents together in the book. These two people are my genesis, my beginning, in a way. I wanted to glorify their impact on my life, to celebrate myself - their contribution to this ever-changing world. In commemorating them, I am celebrating stillness. I am honoring my values, those they instilled in me, and those I have garnered in my lived experience as their son. Being Nigerian, family is an integral part of my upbringing, and the sacrifices they have made for me enabled this journey of self-discovery and epiphanies.

N: A lot of art from the Black diaspora focuses on involuntary displacement, whereas your work celebrates voluntary movement as a philosophy for life. It's as if you're saying our sense of self isn't anchored to any one place; we are who we are regardless of our location. Can you share your thoughts on this notion of identity and place?

T: This is a very important question. I think my book is an immediate response and celebration of the importance of voluntary movement. Africans and Black people in all parts of the world suffer from the conditions of involuntary displacement due to war, enslavement, genocide, and systematic efforts aimed at limiting the Black experience and denying us our fundamental human rights.

Move, I Dare You is a celebration of the sovereignty of self, Black movement, and our journey as people on this earth.

This book is a retrospective of my unyoking. My rebirth– born again to live, know, see, serve, and make. As I travel, I am always in search of Afro communes, in search of our influence, of our food, of our culture around the globe because Blackness is omnipresent!

We are now relocating to different regions of the world out of will and desire. We are choosing to explore ourselves in new lands across the horizon. Although new possibilities have emerged, the generations that preceded me have paid for this greater sense of freedom. In this breath, I carry a sense of responsibility in my travels. It’s an act of self-exploration, servitude in the name of the past generation, and an ode to their sacrifices. This time, we are choosing what we can subscribe to. One book that’s come up in my conversation with a friend was The Negro Motorist GreenBook, which was born out of necessity and created during the times of segregation.  

The Negro Motorist GreenBook was the original ‘bible of black travel’ as it served as a guide for Black people during the Jim Crow era.

Its purpose was to help black people find safe havens as they traveled to allow them to sleep, eat, and relax, as the Black experience was not in the mainstream sphere back then. Move, I Dare You provides a vantage point showing my movement as an act of voluntary transit and mobility. Move, I Dare You is this transition from old to new, this intentional act to take up spaces in places where the people before me were shackled, squandered, and had to reduce themselves, except this time, I am here breathing, jumping, with vim, in my wholeness, and galavanting... it's like a subtle act of resistance.

A homage to Blackness, to our curiosity, to reclamation. We are not stuck anymore; we are beacons of joy, hope, and divinity.

N: Thank you Taoheed! If you had to summarize your book in a few words, what would they be?

T: An Afro-diasporic responsibility to transit and an invitation to servitude.

All images courtesy of Taoheed Bayo


Photos, text + direction by Taoheed Bayo @tbuzz.gram @moveidareyou
Design + layout by Beverly Corpuz @ten20am
Printing + production management by Angelo Cappellazzo @kprokit
Advisory consulting by Umps Machaka @umps_
Text edition + contributions by Ayomide Tejuoso @plantationofficial
Website design by Paul Egbe @akama_____

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