Sean Bankhead, Choreography

Sean Bankhead’s Viral Choreography Is Reigniting Pop Music: ‘God’s Timing Is Everything’

He's worked with everyone from Cardi B. to Lil Nas X.

The seven-time VMA-nominated choreographer Sean Bankhead stopped by BLACK ENTERPRISE‘s The Culture Shift to share how he’s reshaping the pop music industry one dance routine at a time.

Celebrated among today’s pop music enthusiasts as the mastermind behind viral music videos like Normani’s “Wild Side,” Cardi B’s “Up,” Lil Nas X’s “Industry Baby,” and Victoria Monet’s “On My Mama,” Bankhead has been busy behind the scenes helping to bring out the best in some of today’s biggest musical acts.

Born in Philadelphia, but raised in Atlanta, Bankhead credits his father’s job relocation to “the A” for helping to introduce him to a city whose culture set the groundwork for his thriving entertainment career. From “emulating” the dance routines in music videos as a child, dancing at Atlanta’s famed Dance 411 Studios, and receiving mentorship from the renowned Fatima Robinson, Bankhead was destined to make it as a dancer/choreographer, even when he didn’t think it was possible.

“There was never a moment when I was like, ‘I want to be a dancer, I’m going to be a choreographer,'” he tells BLACK ENTERPRISE. “I just kept getting more opportunities to dance and choreograph.

“I think when I got to Atlanta and started working at Dance 411 Studios, I think there became a vision and like a clear pathway that I could do this. I could make money. I could make a name for myself.”

He started as a background dancer in Tiffany Evans’ “Promise Ring” and the moved on to dancing with Beyoncé, Britney Spears, and Missy Elliott. By 2014, Bankhead earned his first VMA nomination when he choreographed Fifth Harmony’s “Down.” His work with the group led him to meet his “muse” Normani with whom he helmed viral dances for her singles Motivation,” “Dancing with a Stranger” (with Sam Smith), and “Wild Side” (featuring Cardi B).

Bankhead discussed being nominated for multiple VMAs but not winning one, the importance of artist development for live performances, and how “humbling” it was to take off his choreographer hat to serve as one of the dancers in Usher’s 2024 Super Bowl halftime show.

“I think a lot of times people are afraid to dream big because they don’t really know how they’re going to get there,” he said. “But have that dream and God will take care of the rest.”

Performing with Usher at the Super Bowl was a “full circle” moment for Bankhead, “because when I was about 19, 20 years old I came this close to going on tour with him,” he shares. He ended up getting cut and it crushed him at the time.

“God’s timing is everything and I truly know being almost in this industry for 20 years. Stay focused, have vision, be diligent, work hard, and everything that’s supposed to happen for you will,” Bankhead says.

Press play below for the full interview and to learn Sean Bankhead’s favorite dance routine and what he has planned for the rest of 2024.

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