Behind the Scenes With Sidetalk and Chippi Chippi

Sidetalk and Chippi Chippi Mobile Images
Sidetalk / Chippi Chippi

If you are familiar with Harlem's culture or at the very least, if you remember Sheck Wes' debut album, Mudboy (and the song "Chippi Chippi"), then you must have heard of Chippi Chippi by now. His influence extends way beyond that, too. From making millions of people laugh around the world to modeling for some of the biggest brands, Chippi does it all while making everything look easy.

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Chippi is a true success story, embodying what it means to pursue the American Dream. Ever since he came to the United States from his home country of Senegal, Chippi has stuck to one guiding principle: being himself. As a result, the rest of the pieces of his atypical career have come together in the most graceful fashion.

Last year, Chippi Chippi connected with Sidetalk in what would become one of their most famous videos to date. All of it took place in his home of Harlem, NY, and it's utterly enjoyable to watch Chippi be himself in his natural element. The energy is contagious. From "let's get some chicken" to "we take her to Mama's," there were so many quotable clips that would go on to be recited by countless Sidetalk fans for years to come. I met Chippi around the same time through our mutual friends at the Motherland store on 116th Street in Harlem, and was beginning to fully understand just how special he is - to Harlem, New York, Senegal, and beyond.

Sidetalk and Chippi Chippi body
Chippi Chippi / Photo: Ian Aaron / Styling: Deavion Brown

In some of our earliest conversations, Chippi would explain just how far his brand has come along since his start. I got the chance to see exchanges between Chippi and Virgil Abloh, along with many other creatives around the world yearning to connect with him. With each conversation, I'd start to put the pieces together in fully grasping just how much influence he's come to have.

Fast forward to this year, Chippi was asked to join the Sidetalk team in creating yet another video, this time in Times Square. Chippi asked me to join him to lend a hand in putting everything together. The ensuing mayhem was inferred, yet somehow, it still exceeded expectations.

When we got to Times Square, we connected with Jack Byrne and Trent Simonian, the two founders of Sidetalk, who had their camera and trademark microphone ready, the two essential ingredients of their world-renowned content. Chippi somehow managed to find a snake wrapped around his neck within the first five minutes of shooting, and we were just getting started. From there, he'd go on to interrupt a Jay Sean concert that was happening in Times Square, and soon after, connected with Wavey, yet another icon in the large cast of Sidetalk characters (known for his signature growl).

Chippi would later come across a group of guys standing by a statue, who reveled in the energy that he brought to the table. Before long, he'd be getting kissed on the cheek by a middle-aged woman and teaching her how to get sturdy. All the while, Jack and Trent are making sure every moment is captured, and that the energy of what's being shot is up to par with what they've become known for through Sidetalk. Lo and behold, it was.

Once the shoot was done, Chippi invited me around the corner to smoke with his friends from Senegal. We talked about the success of the shoot and how we couldn't wait to see the footage. He introduced me to each and every one of his friends, some of whom still only spoke his native language of Wolof. It was yet another moment that captured just how special Chippi Chippi is; he bridges the gap between cultures with ease, and is so eager to share his energy with the world, one person at a time.

After seeing a Sidetalk shoot from behind the scenes, it made me even more of a fan. This duo loves New York more than most, and they've become arguably the best at showing it. Thank you to Chippi and the Sidetalk team for letting me be a part of the process of putting this video together. Here's a look at some of the behind the scenes footage from the day:

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