NEW YORK — To say the world is in flux would be an understatement. The winds of change are at gale-force, which makes finding solid ground evermore elusive. For Young Paris (né Milandou Badila) solid ground is but one place, Africa. Born in Paris, raised in New York, Young Paris was immersed in the arts from a young age by a father from Congo who co-founded the National Ballet of Congo and a mother who is a playwright and dancer. Today Young Paris calls New York, but his ties with Africa are something he literally wears painted on his skin in memory of his late father who passed away in 2011. As Young Paris tells it, his father gave him his signature markings, which maintains is a potent symbol of his connection to his family, his culture, and Africa. “It’s my way to show my love for Africa and the ambiance I grew up in and translate that into popular culture.”

This translation is part of what makes Young Paris the compelling figure that he is today in the worlds of music, fashion, and the arts. Signed to Roc Nation, Young Paris released a full length album African Vogue in December of last year and will follow it up with an EP called Afrobeats in March of this year. The sound is distinctly African with its full embrace of African drums, but done in manner that is wholly contemporary. This mixing of traditional forms, but with an ear for today provides the structure and backbone to the entire enterprise of Young Paris.

Beyond music, Young Paris has his sights set on fashion, which having signed to Next worldwide will only further hasten. “Everything is mixing,” says Young Paris as he flashes his finger nails which are partially painted black. “I’m a masculine man with my nails done. People need to know that I just don’t give a fuck.” The substance of this sentiment is more than evident, and Young Paris ought to be taken at his word, especially in an age as tumultuous as this.

Credits include: Title, “Next Questions — Young Paris”; Interview and video, Damien Neva at Next Management; Talent, Young Paris.