You might not know the name Omari Ishmael Grandberry, but if you’re a fan of early 2000s R&B (or maybe just a “Love & Hip Hop” fanatic), you’ll know the name Omarion. Along with his former band B2K, he gave us such classic Y2K era hits as “Bump, Bump, Bump” and “Uh Huh.” The band may have broken up in 2004, but Omarion’s stayed firmly in the spotlight thanks to a successful solo career and a tumultuous (and very public) relationship with his ex, Apryl Jones. Find out more about the star with these 10 things you didn’t know about Omarion.
1. He was a child star
Omarion, whose birth name is Omari Ishmael Grandberry, was born on November 12, 1984, in Inglewood, California. Ambitious from a young age, he was barely into his teens before he started showing off his acting chops in commercials for McDonald’s and Kellogg’s Corn Pops. It wasn’t long after that that his talent for throwing a shape won him a place as a background dancer for the R&B girl group Before Dark.
2. He’s not the only famous name in his family
Omarion might be the most famous member of the Grandberry clan, but he’s not the only one in his family to build a career in showbiz. His younger brother is O’Ryan. In 2004, he was catapulted to teen idol status with the release of his self-titled debut album. He’s since dabbled in acting, most prominently in “Dr. Dolittle 3.” He shares a child with his former partner, Jhene Aiko, who, coincidentally, rose to fame as a backing vocalist for B2K.
3. He joined B2K in 1999
In 1999, Omarion met up with Lil’ Fizz, J-Boog and Raz-B and decided to form a boy band. A year later, B2K (an acronym for “Boys of the New Millennium”) were launched on the world. After making a cameo in Lil’ Bow Wow’s video for “Ghetto Girls,” they released their debut single, “Uh Huh,” towards the end of 2001. Their self-titled debut album followed in 2002 to considerable success, peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart. After another album and a string of super successful singles, the band disbanded in early 2004, citing internal disagreements for their split.
4. He’s got no beef with Lil Wayne
In March 2009, Omarion signed to Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment. It turned out to be a ‘blink and you miss it’ kind of deal, as just four months later, Omarion and the label parted ways. Tackling rumors that he’d been dropped, Omarion took to Twitter to clarify: “I asked to be released from the label to pursue other opportunities that were recently presented to me. Because of our relationship, Lil Wayne had no issue with us ending our business relationship and released me from the label. Lil Wayne and I have nothing but love for each other, there is no beef.”
5. He’s released an essential oil
These days, everyone from Drake to Gwyneth Paltrow are making fortunes selling scented candles and skincare products. Omarion is no exception. Back in December 2020, he announced his plan to release an ‘Unbothered’ essential oil to accompany his single of the same name. “Smelling good and tapping into the five senses has always been a part of who I am, and a lot of men don’t understand how important it is to have a scent,” he told People. “I’m so happy to be in the position to manifest this, not just scent, but this attitude that goes along with the scent. It’s gonna be a mixture of some sweet things and also some healing things.” Prior to launching the oil officially, he sparked up some early interest when he included it in a care package for essential workers during the pandemic.
6. He starred in Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood
If you were too young to notice Omarion’s rise to fame in the early 2000s, you’ll probably know him best as one of the former stars of the TV show “Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood.” Omarion and his B2K bandmate Fizz joined the cast in 2014, where Omarion’s relationship with his baby mama Apryl Jones soon took center stage. He left the show after two seasons to concentrate on his relationship and career comeback. The career took off but the relationship didn’t, ending in 2016 after 2 kids and 3 years of dating.
7. He’s ok with his ex dating his bandmate
Apryl Jones and Omarion may have split up all the way back in 2016, but it didn’t stop the collective intake of breath when Jones decided to go public with her relationship with Omarion’s former B2K bandmate and fellow Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood co-star, Lil Fizz, in 2019. The news came shortly after Fizz posted an Instagram of the couple with the caption “Good things come to those who wait,” thus fueling speculation that they’d hooked up a lot earlier than they suggested. Either way, Omarion seems distinctly unbothered about the whole thing, telling nickiswift.com: “I did a lot of self-reflecting. There would be certain consequences that wouldn’t just affect me, but it would affect my kids … I just made the decision to be respectful to my kids and to be respectful to myself.”
8. He acted in You Got Served
In 2004, Omarion made his big-screen debut in the film “You Got Served,” which also featured his B2K bandmates. That same year, he started as the school bully Reggie in the comedy “Fat Albert”. More film roles soon followed, and he’s now appeared in a fleet of movies, including “The Proud Family Movie” (2005), “Feel the Noise” (2005), “Somebody Help Me” (2007), “Wrong Side of Town” (2010), and “Somebody Help Me 2” (2010).
9. He reunited with B2K in 2019
In 2019, Omarion teamed up with the rest of B2K for the first time since 2004 on The Millennium Tour, which saw major acts from the early 2000s like Mario, Ying Yang Twins, Chingy, Pretty Ricky, Bobby V, and Lloyd come together in a series of special concerts. When it was announced the tour would be returning in 2020, it was hinted that B2K would be teaming up again – in the event, Omarion was the only member of the band to appear.
10. His mom set the template for his love life
Omarion has very particular ideas about the kind of woman he’s looking for. Speaking to Essence, he revealed his perfect partner would be someone very much like his mom. “For a man, a lot of how your approach and you’re dealing with women comes from your mom,” he said. “My mom is super cool. I had a young mother. She had me at 16. So me and my mom’s relationship is very vibrant. Like, Oh mom, did you hear this song man? So I guess [I have an] attraction to that.”