Hip-hop artist Born I releases new single dedicated to Thich Nhat Hanh

The new track “Om Mani Padme Hum (Tribute)” from hip-hop artist Born I is dedicated to the late Vietnamese Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh.

Martine Panzica
8 June 2023

“‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ is about the ups and downs of my own spiritual journey,” says Born I. “It’s about finding hope and meaning in life when things get dark.”

Meditation teacher and hip-hop artist Born I (Ofosu Jones-Quartey) has released a new song and accompanying music video titled “Om Mani Padme Hum (Tribute)” as a dedication to the late Vietnamese Buddhist teacher and founder of the Engaged Buddhism movement, Thich Nhat Hanh, who passed away in January of 2022.

The song is the first single from Born I’s upcoming EP, which will be released in August 2023. The video, shot in one day by videographer Tim Shelby, serves as “a visual meditation that is simple, emotional and connected to nature.” In the video, footage of Born I is interspersed with documentary footage of Thich Nhat Hanh from filmmaker Max Pugh.

When asked about the story and meaning behind the new single, Born I told Lion’s Roar:

When one of my dearest teachers, Thich Nhat Hanh (aka Thay), passed away last year, my friend and producer Daniel Corretjer (DaRC) shared an idea with me to make a song that could be a tribute to Thay. I also saw the song as an opportunity for Thay and I to talk to each other about the path. That’s how “Om Mani Padme Hum (Tribute)” was born. Later that year, I visited Plum Village Monastery in France for the first time and performed “Om Mani Padme Hum” at the end of the monastery’s 40th anniversary celebration. A deeper connection was forged and I decided to release the song as a single and video.

“Om Mani Padme Hum” is about the ups and downs of my own spiritual journey. It’s about finding hope and meaning in life when things get dark. Throughout the song, I’m supported by Thay’s words. In a sense, “Om Mani Padme Hum” is a conversation between the seeking of the student and the wisdom of the teacher.

In April, Born I joined Plum Village monastics on a fundraising concert tour as they travelled to four North American cities offering an evening of music, poetry, and dharma teachings.

Martine Panzica

Martine Panzica

Martine Panzica is a Digital Editorial Assistant at Lion’s Roar. She is passionate about the power of storytelling in media, and sustainable development. To learn more about her, visit martinepanzica.com.