Last summer, shark conservation got an interesting new voice. Kool Kid Kreyola, a California-based painter and musician, took the ocean twitterverse by storm with “Me and My Shark Fin”. This video, a clever parody of Jay Z and Beyonce’s “Bonnie and Clyde” , told the story of shark fin soup… from the perspective of a shark.
Kreyola agreed to participate in an interview with me. If you have any follow-up questions, please post them in the comments section below, and I’ll make sure that he sees them.
WhySharksMatter: How long have you been performing?
Kreyola: I’ve been using this persona Kreyola since 2008. The primary function of Kreyola is to infuse pop and hip-hop music and culture in a fine art context. The first video created was Dancing on the Moon. I’ve been working under this persona ever since, and it has expanded from videos to paintings. I have been painting my whole life!
WhySharksMatter: How did you hear about the issue of shark finning? What inspired you to rap about it?
Kreyola: I was introduced to shark finning at a young age going to school in south Florida and learning about endangered animals. However it really hit home when I moved out to San Francisco, it is a really big issue out here with the large chinese community. I started to rap about shark finning when I became involved with Pangea Seed. I created an infomercial for their “Shark Benefit Art Show” in San Francisco and came up with “Me and my Shark Fin” for this year’s Great West Coast Migration Tour. As a kid the ocean was a big part of my life, my father used to say “If you dont fish you dont eat” as an adult this has inspired me to use my craft to raise awareness and play my own part in protecting our oceans.
WhySharksMatter: How has your usual audience reacted to “me and my shark fin”? Were you surprised by the reaction among the environmental community to the new song?
Kreyola: My usual audience knows what to expect, I like to take very serious subjects and infuse humor and a fun light hearted approach to create dialogue. I was somewhat surprised but I was more so motivated to create more environmentally based work!
WhySharksMatter: Are you considering future rap songs/videos about environmental issues?
Kreyola: I am currently working on my project for the 2013 Pangea Seed Shark Awareness tour! I also want to create more videos of other endangered animals, like bees, I love honey and they need our help!
WhySharksMatter: Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
Kreyola: Me and my shark fin is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to raising awareness and engaging a new kind of audience. Stay tuned for what’s to come in 2013!
Author’s note: I’m excited to report that Kreyola is coming to Miami in the next few months! We’ll try to get him our on the shark research boat with us.