MY SO-CALLED LIFE
Born in Lomé, Togo to a celebrated afro-funk musician and a Peace Corps volunteer, Tabi Bonney grew up globe-trotting and he’s never really stopped moving.
Now a musician himself, Tabi spent his early childhood accompanying his dad, Itadi, on tours across France and West Africa where Itadi performed for packed dance halls. Eventually, Tabi and his family settled in DC, one of three cities Tabi calls home.
Tabi’s “more is more” approach to travel extends to his career. A successful hip-hop artist, he’s also a photographer and a business owner. Under the imprint ITADI he sells coffee from his farm in the mountains of Togos and makes a line of natural skincare products.
In other words: He’s a force.
ASTROLOGICAL SIGN: Leo and Virgo. I’m on the cusp.
ON A SCALE OF 1 (INTROVERT) TO 10 (EXTROVERT): I guess I would have to say I’m a 5. If I didn’t have to perform my music or be social for my career I would probably be a 1 in the US. But when I’m back in Togo there is no way you can be an introvert. Africans have that sense of, “It takes a village,” and I actually live in a village when I’m back there. They don’t play that introvert s%#. You have to be social.
AGE YOU FEEL: I still feel like I’m in my mid twenties. Not sure if that’s arrested development, a function of operating in the music industry, or just my creative spirit. Maybe a combination of all.
HOMETOWN: Washington, DC.
NEIGHBORHOOD: That’s tough. I live between LA, DC, and Togo throughout the year.
HAIR COLOR: Dark brown my whole life except for that one time in 10th grade when I permed it. Then it was fried brown.
FIRST SCREEN NAME: Tabi Bonney. I’ve always used my real name cuz no one else in the world had it.
FAVORITE SCENT TO WEAR: Helmut Lang.
FIRST CD: Boyz II Men. A classmate gave it to me in 7th grade. That’s when CDs were brand new and no one even had a CD player. My classmate gave it to me cuz he didn’t have anything to play it on. I didn’t either, though. Didn’t get a chance to actually play it until months later.
GO-TO KARAOKE SONG: I hate karaoke.
PARTY HAIR: Huh?
SUNDAY HAIR: My Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday hair.
RIDE-OR-DIE BEAUTY PRODUCT: ITADI exfoliating face wash. And I’m not being biased. Even it it wasn’t mine I would use it. The coffee in it does wonders.
BEAUTY MYTH YOU’D LIKE TO DISPEL: Don’t have one. Just wish more people would be natural and not use all the makeup and chemicals on their faces.
MANTRA: Life is to be lived to the fullest.
1. Future pilot dreams 2. Washington, DC 3. Full moon 4. Tabi in Togo 5. Coming back as a flamingo
/ OR /
MAGIC 8 BALL OR OUIJA BOARD: 8 Ball.
SUNRISE OR SUNSET: Both.
NEW MOON OR FULL MOON: Full moon.
SWEATPANTS OR CAFTAN: What’s a caftan?
HIGH PONY OR MESSY BUN: Well, when I had dreads, I rocked a low pony. But if you’re asking what I prefer on women it would be whatever gets them out the door quicker.
1. Africa 2. Photo from Tabi’s exhibit “Le Bon Voyage” 3. Honey Pot Co. founder Bea Feliu-Espada 4. Tabi’s coffee company, ITADI 5. Fufu and pepper soup 6+7. Koffee
SOURCE OF INSPIRATION: Africa.
ORGANIZATION YOU SUPPORT: Alaffia. All of their empowerment projects are amazing.
INDIVIDUAL YOU ADMIRE: My mentors: The founder of Alaffia, Olowo-n’djo Tchala, and the founder of The Honey Pot Co., Bea Feliu-Espada.
FIRST THING YOU DO IN THE MORNING: Roll over and go back to sleep. But after that I drink ITADI Coffee to wake me the f#% up!
LAST THING YOU DO AT NIGHT: Try to keep my eyes open.
FAVORITE BEAUTY RITUAL: Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
REMEDY FOR A CREATIVE BLOCK: Take a walk.
HOW YOU GET CHILL AF: Never have a prob with that. I’m too chill.
FAVORITE METHOD OF TRANSFORMATION: Listening and applying. I feel like too many people talk too much. So I just listen.
1. A track by Tabi 2. Helmut Lang 3. Laduma Ngxokolo 4. Leo / Virgo cusp 5. Think and Grow Rich 6. Karaoke? Not so much. 7. Keyser Söze
I CAN’T IMAGINE LIFE WITHOUT ____ fufu and pepper soup.
I PROBABLY HAVE TOO MANY ____ shoes.
WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE ____ a pilot, especially after I buy a helicopter.
IN MY NEXT LIFE I’LL PROBABLY COME BACK AS ____ a flamingo
1. Boyz II Men 2. Exfoliator from Tabi’s beauty brand 3. “Blow” 4. Olowo-n’djo Tchala 5. Pharrell 6. Tabi in LA
PLACE: Badou, Togo.
MOVIE: “Blow” is still my favorite. I always cut it off before he loses it all at the end, though.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Can I say myself? Check out my exhibit “Le Bon Voyage.”
DESIGNER: Laduma Ngxokolo, creator of MaxHosa.
ARTIST: Can’t pick. It changes weekly. So may dope artists in so many genres.
SONG: “Toast” by Koffee.
BOOK: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
FICTIONAL CHARACTER: Keyser Söze from “The Usual Suspects.”
TROUBLEMAKER: Any person standing up for their rights and changing the world.
UNSUNG HERO: Olowo-n’djo Tchala.
Follow Tabi @tabibonney.