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Q&A with Ayodeji Otuyelu

03/16/2022

Ayodeji Otuyelu was born in Ogun State, Nigeria, but currently resides in New York City. At a young age, he started writing poems as an outlet for his overwhelming emotions but kept them a secret in his diary. It wasn’t until he started hosting Open Mics at Tsion Café, an Ethiopian restaurant in Harlem, that he would gain confidence to share his writings and thoughts with the public, which were mostly centered around his experiences living in both Nigeria and the United States. Ayodeji’s first publication “Words in My Head“, explores a variety of themes ranging from love, sex, sadness, and the overall complexities of life. When he is not writing, Ayodeji also enjoys modeling as another form of expression, celebrating the African body through implied nudes and portraits – From Ayodeji Otuyelu’s website.

Could you please introduce yourself to our audience?

My name is Ayodeji Otuyelu, I’m from Nigeria but I live in New York City. I am the Executive Director of “Unsaid” and I am also a published poet.

How did you get the idea for the short film, ‘Unsaid’?

The idea for “Unsaid” started after I published my first book “Words in my Head” which alludes to my emotions and experiences growing up in Nigeria and New york. My love for visuals and after being part of an HBO documentary gave me total clarity on what I want to do. Which is to visually showcase some of the poems from my book that touch on subjects that I care about deeply.

Please tell us something about the filming process?

The film took us about two years to complete, due to location and funds. but with the help of my Producer Ashleigh, the [process was pretty seamless, she easily key into the plans I have for the film, and together we are able to bring ‘Unsaid” alive.

What are the reactions and comments you get about the film?

So far the positive comments had been overwhelming, people wanted more and I get questions like if I am going to do more poems from Words in my Head.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Currently working on the trailer for my next film, which will be concluded before the end of the year. it’s going to be totally different from “Unsaid”.

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