Tunde Adebimpe

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Tunde Adebimpe
Tunde Adebimpe performing with TV on the Radio in 2004
Tunde Adebimpe performing with TV on the Radio in 2004
Background information
Birth nameBabatunde Omoroga Adebimpe
Born (1975-02-25) February 25, 1975 (age 49)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
  • Singer-songwriter
  • actor
  • director
  • animator
  • visual artist
Years active1998–present
Member ofTV on the Radio

Babatunde Omoroga Adebimpe (pronunciation; born February 25, 1975) is an American musician, singer-songwriter, actor, director,[1] and visual artist best known as the lead singer of the Brooklyn-based band TV on the Radio.

Early life[edit]

Adebimpe was born into a Nigerian immigrant family in the United States. Babatunde is a Yoruba name that means "father has returned". He attended Shady Side Academy in Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania for high school, where he is still active on the board. His deceased father was a psychiatrist in Pittsburgh. He is married to French cartoonist Domitille Collardey, with whom he has a son.[2]

Film and television career[edit]

In 1998, Adebimpe worked as one of the initial animators of MTV's hyper-violent claymation program Celebrity Deathmatch.

He starred in a 2001 indie movie, Jump Tomorrow,[3] based on a short college film, Jorge, in which he played the same character.

In 2003, Adebimpe directed the music video for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs song "Pin".[3]

In 2008, he appeared as the groom in Jonathan Demme's Rachel Getting Married alongside Rosemarie DeWitt, who portrayed his character's bride, and Anne Hathaway, who portrayed the bride's wayward sister. In the film, Adebimpe performs an a cappella cover of the Neil Young song "Unknown Legend".[4]

In 2011, Adebimpe directed the visual companion to the band's fourth album, Nine Types of Light. For the film, he recruited a roster of the band's favorite filmmakers to helm individual clips that would be sewn together into an abstract narrative about dreams, love, fame and the future. Adebimpe directed the video for the song "Forgotten", as well as the interstitial clips where a chorus of narrators help try to connect the dots between the film's various segments.[5]

In 2013, Adebimpe directed and animated the video for Higgins Waterproof Black Magic Band's single "The Blast the Bloom",[6][7] In late 2013, Adebimpe wrapped shooting on Chilean director Sebastian Silva's Nasty Baby, starring opposite Kristen Wiig and director Silva. The film was released in 2015.[8]

Adebimpe made a brief cameo as himself on the IFC program Portlandia in the show's season 4 premiere.

In 2016, he provided the voice for the character Banana Guard #16 in the Adventure Time episode "The Thin Yellow Line".

In 2017, he starred in the second season of The Girlfriend Experience.

Adebimpe portrayed Mr. Cobbwell in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017).

In 2020, in the second episode of the HBO Perry Mason miniseries, Adebimpe has a small role as a street preacher.[9]

Music career[edit]

TV on the Radio[edit]

Solo work and collaborations[edit]

As well as occasionally performing solo, Adebimpe regularly collaborates with other musicians. He provides backing vocals on the track "Dragon Queen" on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' 2009 record, It's Blitz!, which was produced by fellow TV on the Radio member David Andrew Sitek. He appears on several tracks of Dragons of Zynth's Coronation Thieves, also partially produced by Sitek. He produced and guested on "Your Glasshouse", a track from Atmosphere's 2008 record When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold. He is featured on the song "Deathful" on Subtle's album Yell&Ice.[10]

In early 2009, he performed three shows as a duo with Tall Firs drummer Ryan Sawyer, the latter two under the name Stabbing Eastward.[11][12][better source needed] Also in early 2009, Adebimpe released a combined single/DVD under the name Fake Male Voice on the Japan/Brooklyn label Heartfast.[13] He performed one show under that name with a pickup group at the record's release party. Fake Male Voice again performed at a Heartfast showcase during CMJ 2009, as a duo comprising Adebimpe and Gerard Smith.

In 2009 Adebimpe collaborated with Massive Attack on the track "Pray for Rain".[14]

In 2010, Adebimpe was featured on his TV on the Radio bandmate Dave Sitek's project Maximum Balloon on the track "Absence of Light".

Adebimpe with members of TV on the Radio are featured on three tracks from Tinariwen's album Tassili (2011), and on the Amadou & Mariam track "Wily Kataso", from the 2012 album Folila. Ian Brennan was a producer on the record, which went on to win a Grammy.

In 2012, Adebimpe formed the band Higgins Waterproof Black Magic Band, who released their self-titled EP on their own ZNA records in October 2013.

Adebimpe provided the vocals on Bad Radio, a track on Leftfield's Alternative Light Source album in 2015.

He is a member of the group Nevermen with Mike Patton and Doseone. Their debut album Nevermen was released in 2016.

Adebimpe provided the vocals on "Thieves! (Screamed The Ghosts)" on Run The Jewels' album Run the Jewels 3 in 2017.

Adebimpe collaborated with Rockstar Games and released Speedline Miracle Masterpiece (ft. Sal P. & Sinkane) as part of the Welcome to Los Santos soundtrack for Grand Theft Auto V. The song was also used for the trailer music for the Further Adventures in Finance and Felony DLC.

In October 2022, he contributed a cover of Sleater-Kinney's "The Drama You’ve Been Craving" for Dig Me In: A Dig Me Out Covers Album, a tribute compilation in occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of Dig Me Out.[15] Pitchfork called the track a "high point", describing Adebimpe's rendition as "barely recognizable, swapping its frenetic spunk for sultry synth-pop".[16]

Visual art[edit]

Originally a cartoonist, Adebimpe still maintains a design, drawing and painting practice. In addition to art directing all of TV on the Radio's album covers, he painted the cover for the band's 2013 single "Mercy".

In 2009, Adebimpe released a self-published art comic, Plague Hero. The painted book depicts a boxing match between two anthropomorphic characters. Randomly selected copies contained a DVD of "Mystery Sh*t", a compilation of song sketches and animations from Adebimpe's archives.[17]

In May 2017, Adebimpe premiered A Warm Weather Ghost, a live, multimedia performance work commissioned by the Walker Art Center, in Minneapolis.[18]



Year Title Role Notes
1998 Jorge George Short Film
2001 Jump Tomorrow George Abiola
2004 The First Three Lives of Stuart Hornsley Stuart Hornsley Short Film
Portrait of a Sellout Jack Short Film
2008 Rachel Getting Married Sidney
2013 The Sun Thief Short Film
2015 Nasty Baby Mo
7 Chinese Brothers Major Norwood
2017 Night Shift Oliver 'Olly' Jeffries Short Film
Spider-Man: Homecoming Mr. Cobbwell
2019 Cap Victor Benett Short Film
Marriage Story Sam
2020 She Dies Tomorrow Brian
2021 The Sleeping Negro[citation needed] Sheriff
Ultrasound Dr. Conners
2022 No More Time[citation needed] Noah
2024 Twisters[19] Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1998–1999 Celebrity Deathmatch Michael Jordan (voice) 2 episodes
2012 Superjail! Prison Inmate Leader (voice) Episode: "Specialneeds"
2013 As Da Art World Might Turn Jimmy Braswell 2 episodes
2014 Portlandia Tunde Adebimpe Episode: "Sharing Finances"
2016 The New Yorker Presents Dinner Host Episode: "Dinner Host"
Adventure Time Banana Guard #16 (voice) Episode: "The Thin Yellow Line"
Search Party Edwin Episode: "The Secret of the Sinister Ceremony"
2017 The Girlfriend Experience Ian Olsen 7 episodes
2019–2021 Lazor Wulf Lamont Brickwater / The Spirit / Commercial Narrator / The Streets (voice) 7 episodes
2020 Perry Mason Preacher Episode: "Chapter Two"
2021 Tuca & Bertie Desmond Toucan (voice) Episode: "Corpse Week"
2023 Strange Planet TBA Voice role, upcoming series
TBA Star Wars: Skeleton Crew TBA


  1. ^ "Tunde Adebimpe Celebrates His 43rd Birthday - Report Minds". www.reportminds.com. Retrieved 2022-03-08.
  2. ^ "Domitille Collardey Adebimpe on Instagram..." Instagram.com. Archived from the original on 2021-12-24. Retrieved 2019-10-16.
  3. ^ a b Mechling, Lauren (2008-09-20). "Just Asking . . . Tunde Adebimpe". The Wall Street Journal. New York City, NY. Archived from the original on 2011-10-03. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
  4. ^ "Tunde Adebimpe Covers Neil Young". Stereogum.com. 2008-10-10. Archived from the original on 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
  5. ^ Melena Ryzik (8 April 2011). "TV on the Radio Makes a Film". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  6. ^ "Watch: TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe Directs Stop-Motion Video for His Band Higgins Waterproof Black Magic Band's "The Blast, the Bloom" | News". Pitchfork. 2013-10-21. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  7. ^ "Higgins Waterproof Black Magic Band - The Blast The Bloom on Vimeo". Vimeo.com. 2013-10-17. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  8. ^ "Kristen Wiig Joins Sebastian Silva's Nasty Baby". Variety. 2013-09-07. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  9. ^ Collins, Sean T. (June 28, 2020). "'Perry Mason' Season 1, Episode 2: In the Trenches". New York Times. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  10. ^ Ranta, Alan (2008-02-08). "Reviews: Subtle, Yell and Ice". PopMatters.com. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
  11. ^ "Themselves - 2009 tour dates, 2 NYC shows w/ Stabbing Eastward feat. Tunde TVoTR, a free mixtape". Brooklynvegan.com. 2009-04-01. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  12. ^ "Stabbing Eastward @ Union Pool". Music Taster's Choice. October 17, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-27.
  13. ^ "TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe Goes Solo on 7". Pitchfork. 2008-10-31. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
  14. ^ Dombal, Ryan (2009-09-03). "Hear Massive Attack's Collaboration With Tunde From TV on the Radio". Pitchfork Media Inc. New York City, NY.
  15. ^ Brodsky, Rachel (2022-10-21). "Sleater-Kinney Release 'Dig Me Out' Tribute Album Feat. Low, St. Vincent, Wilco, & More: Listen". Stereogum. Retrieved 2022-11-27.
  16. ^ Jones, Abby (27 October 2022). "Sleater-Kinney: Dig Me In: A Dig Me Out Covers Album". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2022-11-27.
  17. ^ "Comics Time: Plague Hero « Attentiondeficitdisorderly by Sean T. Collins". Seantcollins.com. 2009-12-18. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  18. ^ "Tunde Adebimpe (TV on the Radio)". walkerart.org. 2016-09-15. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  19. ^ Grobar, Matt (May 17, 2023). "Twisters: Maura Tierney, Sasha Lane, Kiernan Shipka & David Corenswet Among Final Additions To Lee Isaac Chung's Disaster Pic For Uni, Amblin And Warner Bros". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 17 May 2023.

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