Despite what you may believe following recent headlines, Omarion is still unbothered. The vocalist, whose career spans over 20 years, still has that same infectious smile of yesteryear and the categorical confidence from his TRL days.
A typical Omarion morning includes the gym, sun salutations, and Shambhavi — a way to be more present in his meditations that includes breath work and yoga. He tells me that he starts his day peacefully and blooming with positive intentions to “have an awesome day.” It makes sense since the singer, born Omari Ishmael Grandberry, like so many of us had a praying grandmother. His, in particular, was a brilliant woman of the community and culture, who harnessed and developed spirituality in his family. Omarion credits his late Nana for instilling holistic healing and wellness into his life and introducing him to inner peace. “I experienced a lot of different religions, a lot of different cultures,” says the reflective crooner. “She never really pushed me to do any of those things but it was always around, candles, burning sage incense, my Nana used to make jewelry, all of those Afrocentric things that come from that era.”
This July day, the unruffled star seems especially at peace, as though his morning mindfulness routine was especially successful — or maybe it’s just because his kids are present in the background and you can hear the smile in his voice. “Daddy loves you,” says Omarion stepping away for a moment to say goodbye to his kids Megaa Omari and A’mei Kazuko who are departing from his home. “Make sure you call me,” he adds before hopping back on our chat. It dawns on me then that this version of the soloist is a far but welcome cry from the one who was the subject of teeny bopper adulation and my own personal high school girl glee.
Omarion has grown and matured, much better than some others in our 30-plus age range who don’t have a sinewy stomach or a scorpion tattoo for their Zodiac sign inked on their back. Omari the father is someone millennials might not know. “It has changed me in the best way,” says Omarion about fatherhood. “When we, think about selflessness and not being selfish, it’s hard to quantify what that looks like. And when you have kids, you realize it’s not all about you anymore. I would say that that’s probably the biggest and the greatest lesson that a person like me could have.”
King Of Unbothered
During our discussion about his little ones, it’s clear that Omarion’s selflessness is tied to something he’s widely known for; being unbothered. Anyone with working Wi-Fi can remember when those rumors swirled that his B2K bandmate was seeing his ex. And while the concept seemed like a farcical fable, it was shockingly true. After confirming the news, the couple openly dated and periled the highs and lows of their relationship on reality TV despite an abundance of disapproving headshakes from detractors. Eventually, a break-up came but not before fans wondered how O stayed so stoic. As things progressed, the Internet braced for an explosive reaction from Omarion but he appeared carefree and gave little to no comment on the situation. In 2020 a video surfaced of the singer smudging himself with sage, a practice to cleanse oneself or one’s space from negative energy. “Start with the crown and then you go down,” said Omarion in the viral video. “Bless ya self up, bless up.” That video cemented his “unbothered Omarion” title and the singer and the term became forever linked.
Don’t get it twisted, however. Omarion believes that being unbothered doesn’t mean turning a blind eye and solely engrossing oneself in healing practices. According to the author of Unbothered: The Power Of Choosing Joy (releasing September 13), it’s about making a choice with your response—something the book will remind readers of even if they’d prefer to lash out and operate from a place of ego rather than the spirit. “I think a lot of people get the concept and idea of unbothered misconstrued because sometimes people think that being unbothered is not acknowledging certain things,” he explains. “Being unbothered is, is maintaining your emotional intelligence and power and realizing that this person might be doing this intentionally, so do I react or do I respond? And I’m very much so a thoughtful person.”
“It’s not about anybody else because to be completely honest with you, I could burn the world down in the worst way and those are the thoughts that come through my mind—but how beneficial is it for me?” he adds when I ask if people test him and poke the bear. “I will protect myself but at the end of the day, how we respond to things really puts us in the victory position or it puts us in a losing position and you know, me; I’m a winner. I’m a winner in life and I have a winner attitude.”
Winning is something that’s always come easy to Omarion even in the thick of strife. In recent weeks he’s been in the headlines for the viral Verzuz battle that many thoughts put his balance chakras to the test. In speaking with the Kinection crooner, he won’t touch on that topic directly but he lamented to me about the current state of the industry and the fickleness he believes runs rampant. Did Omarion see the cacophony of comments about what went down? It seems that way, but today he’d rather play coy—or maybe he’s just planning to reveal all in his own time.
“I always tell people that the difference from when I started and now is that people feel like because it’s so easy to be famous on social media, they don’t actually have respect for people that have been cultivating their art and skills like in basketball or any other sports where there’s actual ranks,” he says ahead of the release of his tell-all Omega The Gift & The Curse five-part docuseries. “One day people love you, and then the next people, people hate you. One day, ‘he’s the greatest performer!’ And the next day it’s like, ‘Oh he can’t sing!’ like 22 years of work just goes away. So to be able to continue to focus on the purpose and the intent of why I’m even here and the legacy I’m creating has kept my joy intact.”
I wonder if the joy that he’s referencing is one he’d be willing to share with a lucky young lady or young ladies if he’d prefer to take up the mantle of an R&B Nick Cannon. When I ask him about his love life, the singer tells me flat out that he has no interest in dating a “cute influencer” lest she possibly “piggyback” on his two decades of hard work. Instead, he’d rather be with someone who understands that he’s “first generational wealth built” so his work always comes first. “It’s tricky,” he admits. “The support in a relationship can either be a distraction or a beautiful thing. In the past, it has been a distraction. I’m still continuing to build my wealth as a businessman, so it’s easy and hard. It’s easy to love me because I’m lovable but you know, with all of the other things that come with it, you gotta be special,” he adds.
Not only will someone in O’s orbit have to be special, but they’ll also have to be secure because the singer plans to continue embracing making millennial knees creak with sex-laden lyrics, crisp choreography, and body rolls. “Prince never stopped being a sex symbol, D’Angelo, Lenny Kravitz…” says Omarion ticking off names of entertainers who radiated their sexual prowess through music. “The essence of being sexy—either you, you have it or you don’t. My sexiness to the core is just who I am,” he adds. “Being sexy doesn’t mean that we’re gonna do it, but it’s a vibe and I don’t get tired of it. I actually plan on maintaining my sexiness for life.”
In addition to maintaining his sexiness, Omarion’s maintaining his music career with plans to release feel-good albums that take listeners through a “sonic journey.” Guiding them through that venture will be a fully-fledged Omarion. The voice they’ll hear won’t be the teen whose face was airbrushed and screen-printed onto t-shirts, instead, it will be the peaceable father turned author Omarion, a conscious choice maker who carefully selects who and what he invites into his aura lest that trademark unbotheredness waver. “I’m really excited for people to just hear how I’m sounding,” says O. “My voice from starting so young to where I am today, I can’t wait for people to hear it. Some people have been surprised by certain songs and have not even known that it’s me. I don’t know many artists that can do that,” he adds. “I’m excited for people to hear that, we got heat coming this year!”
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