This interview was produced thanks to the support of the Arts Council Ireland – Agility Award.
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Raphael Olympio

Rapper and Spoken Word Artist
Based in Cork

Raphael Olympio. Contatto. Photographed by Elena Cristofanon

Raphael Olympio

Olympio is a Cork-based rapper born in Lomé, Togo, West Africa during a time of post-civil war. Olympio and his family fled to Ireland seeking asylum, spending almost 2 years in Direct Provision.
In his early teenage years, he started composing songs, poems, and spoken word as he found it easier to speak up about the struggles of his life through music. On television, Olympio looked up to singers, actors, comedians, and just generally good entertainers who looked like him. Unfortunately, social media did not view people of colour in a positive light unless they were “entertainers”. As a result, these were his only role models when he was younger.

Olympio started imitating them and aspired to be just like them. His mode of language contributed to various collaborations and performances.
He enjoys dabbling into various genres to explore his versatility. He would consider himself to be a rapper/spoken word artist, depending on the message. His music is driven by stories that reflect where he is in life, the challenges he faces and the community he’s a part of.
He is also a healthcare worker, Occupational Therapist student at University College Cork, and youth mentor at the Cork Migrant Centre, Nano Nagle Place. Raphael also recently featured in RTE’s Change Makers Series (Episode 6) which is available on RTE Player.

Speak your truth