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Central African Rep
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Spoken Word’s States of Consciousness
Martha Mukaiwa | Thu, 08 Aug 2013
If you were looking for sledge hammer escapism, idle chit chat or you felt like spit polishing your apathy with the cheapest swill at The Warehouse Theatre, Wednesday night’s
was not for you.
There was no interval. There was no beer break to dull the edge of expressions forged to creep into your psyche and garner clicks. But moreover page turning, analytical and inquiring minds.
There was only you.
And the relentless rambling of poets training you not to flinch at issues of gender inequality, sexism, loss of culture, corrupt government, existentialism, nihilism, love, nostalgia, sex, continued oppression and the lifelong task of fathoming one’s place in the world.
The theme was
States of Consciousness
Theo grabbed it with both hands in his debut performance and spoke of the trial of being born free and lacking political affiliation while questioning our mythical land of opportunity as the audience grunted their appreciation of his confidence and good looks.
Truth took the stage to ask “What now of the stories?” In her feminist T-shirt, bald head and easy flow she waxed about women, about their objectification and their duty to reclaim their narratives.
The crowd knew her well and understood her even better in her stripped, subtle and stunning simplicity.
Mutani used the opportunity to present
, a poem that took a conversational tone and spoke of the inevitability of society’s judgment.
Next was Sam. Lean, lanky and bent on befriending the ceiling, his poem was fittingly titled
I Stand Tall
. Esoteric, vibey and smiling in his expression, he earned his snaps and seemed to inject some mellow into such serious speaking.
Lovely Jill drew wolf whistles and rebuffed them. Philosophizing about being more than a piece of meat and her desire to be seen as a spiritual entity, her loud confident, feminine mystique resonated with the ladies as she strongly advised people
See me for me
Dimitri of the red cap and somewhat lewd lyricism presented
. A cautionary tale to women who give away their goods to willing recipients on the first night then seem baffled by the night’s lack of a happy ending.
Then a musical interlude. Sade Paulse spacing
between Miss T’s consummate and furious storytelling was the highlight of the night as were their killer curves. Sade’s in red jeans and Miss T’s in a visual feast of modern African dress.
As for D, he kept it old school. And epic. Expanding love to a thing resonating in galaxies, of burning fires, religion and truth; the wise poet stunned all to silence with the unfathomable declaration “You could be dead 100 years and I would still love you.”
Hafeni spoke with style. Terrific from head to toe and in each line, seemingly uttered without breath, the young poet spoke of existentialism, of hope and of his “mission to acquaint a character called wisdom.” The crowd clicked.
was the advice of Jerry who tripped onto stage saying the night before’s earthquake had a lasting effect on him. With his hip-hop flow, the poet was appreciated in lines like “procrastination is in our genes and I'm not talking Guess.”
Author Niecy took notice. Of police brutality, women being killed and men walking free, of the state of public health and society’s double standards in a smooth, slow and clear flow that made poetry of our nation’s headlines.
Lyrical Leilani spoke fast and sure about poverty. Confident in her course and forceful in her admonitions, she was as strong as all the ladies standing up and speaking out.
Spoken Word regular, Patrick, was just as passionate. His was a poem that lamented buying vegetables instead of growing them, the relegation of African culture and the nostalgia of running in dusty streets trying to help every aunty and kookoo he could see as a child.
To end off Sade sang Sarah McLachlan’s
slow and sobering as audience members prepared to re-enter the reality that had just been torn apart on stage in the hopes of a better putting together.
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