Tag Archives: Lady Scientist

The Conscientious Consciousness of Chikadibia Ebirim

December 19, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Chikadibia Ebirim greets me with a hug in the lobby of the Union for Contemporary Art. “Peace to you, queen,” he says, and we travel into his studio—one of the perks of being named to the Union’s 2018 Inside/Outside Fellowship Program.

His space is eclectic and decorated with a variety of records, art show fliers, equipment, and “CHI” cut in large blocky cardboard letters above his desk. CHI refers to his name and his start-up fashion label. His multidisciplinary resume jumps from passion project to passion project: music recording, video production, photography, modeling, clothing design, art curating, and more.

“[Omaha] is a hidden pocket that contains a special something you pull out real sly to give to someone,” Ebirim says. “We have these hot spots of compacted and condensed culture. My theory about Omaha is that we’re so unknown and want to be known that we have such big dreams and shoot higher than artists in mainstream cities. There are precious jewels here.”

Some precious jewels he names include Watie White, Jun Kaneko, Lady Scientist, and Jocelyn. 

The 24-year-old’s first foray into the arts came at nine months old, when he played baby Jesus in a church play. During his time at Buffett Middle School, he began exploring the potential of digital art while playing on his mom’s laptop.

Art is a welcome part of his family. His grandfather, Thomas Palmerton, crafted the gorilla sculptures zoo visitors often pose with on trips to the Henry Doorly Zoo. Until his death in 2015, Palmerton was a steadfast supporter of his grandson’s artistic endeavors.

The up-and-coming multimedia artist never enrolled in college, though Ebirim has sat in a variety of college classes throughout the years. In turn, he believes his work is based on his personal consciousness rather than predictable academic themes.

“Everything I perceive in this world comes through my mind,” Ebirim says. “Whatever my mind observes my body going through [is what] inspires me to create. And my body, being identified as a black man, goes through different things in this society. My identity has to do with the development and history of this world, and tapping into that moves me in different ways.”

 A few of Ebirim’s music videos—including his “Black Lives Matter”—won top honors from the 2017 Elkhorn Valley BEA D7 Film & Media Conference at Metropolitan Community College. However, his inspirations are not all social and political. He says his artwork is an examination of the beauty surrounding him, a craft he calls “tapping into my feminine energy.”

“Anything that is a minority sticks out to me,” Ebirim says. “Flowers in a big-ass field of grass, you know? Feminine energy and the black experience are always made smaller in this world, and I’m inspired to expand that.”

Ebirim says he hopes to bridge the gap between identities through music, aiming to appreciate the dualities of his experience as an African-American with recent lineage from Nigeria, born and raised in North Omaha with diverse European-American heritage from his mother’s side of the family.

“Being multiracial, I’m more understanding to the racial divides and racial ignorance that each of my ethnicities seem to face,” he says, adding that he still encounters racism on a daily basis.

He vividly recalls an early childhood experience with racism. It occurred when he was 6 years old and living in Auburn, Nebraska. “I was beat up with a branch by a teenager in the middle of my street on a summer day,” he says. The teen shouted racial profanities and death threats while beating the young Ebirim.

His cultural experiences inform his worldview and develop a signature approach to every piece of art he makes. He says his individuality is present in many different techniques: sound textures in recording, “multiplexes” in video production, and call-and-response in performance.

Most importantly, though, his swagger says it all.

“People might know me for my walk,” Ebirim says, easily towering over most of his peers. “I put a bounce in my walk. It’s a mixture of my pain as a black man—my gangsta lean—but also my grooviness, my happiness, and my beauty of life.”

He throws up two fingers in a peace sign and pats his heart. “Black lives matter,” he says. “It’s more than a hashtag.”


Visit chikadibiaebirim.com for more information, including details about his new EP (COMPOS MENTIS?), which debuted at a Union for Contemporary Art listening party Nov. 17.


This article was printed in the January/February 2019 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

From the Heart

September 30, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Cristina Bertuldo caught herself singing—and lowered her voice to a slight hum. 

“Sometimes, I’m very selfish with my gift,” she explains. “So many of my friends ask why I don’t sing as often.”

She’s a sensitive soul, that Bertuldo, always looking for the good in others even after she’s been burnt. She’s an Omaha singer-songwriter who battles depression and anxiety.

Bertuldo has the unique ability of conveying the passion and pain in songs yet somehow maintaining a playful mood. She preaches from her scars. The local 101.3 FM radio personality, yoga instructor, photographer, and mentor uses music as a healing force.

“I just want people to know that they aren’t alone and not to be afraid to reach out,” she says. “If I could preach one thing…be kind because you have no idea what another person is going through.”

Bertuldo, now known as Lady Scientist, is (by all appearances) a well-adjusted woman whose voice dances with delight as she recalls a favorite anecdote or takes stock of her good fortune. In college, however, Bertuldo encountered her first bout with depression after her best friend’s parents died in a car accident. Overwhelmed by emotion, she returned home early from college. She turned to music, which soothed her soul.

Shortly after that brief stint in college, Bertuldo attended a Nikka Costa concert at the Music Box, a now-closed Omaha venue, and met producer Printz Board, who put her in touch with musicians to sing backup.

In 2006, Bertuldo sang onstage with Allan “apl.de.ap” Pineda Lindo of the Black Eyed Peas at a Council Bluffs concert. She met Lindo when recording in the same studio as the Black Eyed Peas. He was on the video shoot of “Don’t Lie,” when Bertuldo approached him and threw her spiel about her talent. He asked her to freestyle. She did. They linked up, and Bertuldo moved to LA, but the pressures of the music business, and the big city, brought back demons.

“I was dealing with depression and anxiety on top of that,” she says. “When you’re caught up in that…you can’t grow.” 

In 2008, she moved back to her Nebraska home to heal. By way of random and not-so-random connections, she was occasionally booked as an opening singer at area concerts and music venues. Her sultry  yet soulful voice kept her on stage. In 2011, she won an Omaha Hip Hop Award for Best Female R&B singer. 

“Whenever I tried to push music out of the way,” she explains. “It always fell in my lap.”

Right now, she prefers to be behind the scenes helping others. She helped a friend broaden her reach in fashion design with pop-up boutiques. She began consulting another friend through the use of her photography. And she began mentoring Chikadibia Ebirim, a local self-produced musician whom she assisted with music promotion. 

“I wasn’t trying to heal myself,” she says. “But I was healing myself by helping other people.”

Life has been a roller coaster, she adds. “I’ve hit rock bottom several times. [Because] I deal with dark thoughts, I think people who are capable of so much light have this darkness they also battle.” 


Follow @ladyscientist on Facebook for more information.

This article was printed in the September/October 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.