Category Archives: Music & Poetry

03Oct/17
Fragmented Afrika

Poetic Justice | Fragmented Afrika by Ogechi Anokwuru

Fragmented Afrika

A continent of immense wealth and stealth

What caused this great continent to lose its health?

The motherland stripped of its beauty and glory,

How did the leaders turn out so bloody and gory?

This story is not just a folktale, this is history,

A continent of many countries with many great states and empires

Overthrown by greedy dirty devil vampires.

We call it imperialism, the greed, the hate,

The constant elimination of genetic and social annihilation of this great continent,

The rulers seem ever so blind to their incompetence.

The colonists knew what they had in mind,

Made a race blind,

They were never so kind to the evil that awaits within the supremacists’ mind.

It was all a great find easy pickings for them,

Hard labour pon di plantations, building up a whole new nation

After a genocide and massacre of a previous nation.

Robbed and stolen from the motherland Afrika,

Tears of bloodshed that lay among the dead, which were hardly fed

While the slave master lay comfortably in his bed.

Gun to the head,

While some slaves fled,

Terror runs through their head as they don’t wanna end up lynched and left for dead.

Oh fragmented Afrika, divided an conquered

Left to be dishonoured,

My land was a piece of cake and these fat devils just sat and ate

And continued to take and make

And had the cheek to bring us Christianity as a means to save humanity!

Can’t you see the fallacy, the lies and the travesty?

This indeed was a great tragedy,

The second holocaust

After the 1st holocaust of the Native Americans,

Let’s not forget they were the true Americans.

The third holocaust was the Jewish holocaust.

The 4th holocaust is the Palestinian holocaust…

Tragically we just watch and see the same what was inevitably done to you and me.

Afrika needs to unite and fight like how we used to be, kings and queens of our own destinies.

Justice and free for all, fair wage, free schools and universities built for both rich and poor.

Our own African bank, we have our own military tanks, decline western ideology and say thanks to the people of the revolution.

Kwame Nkrumah said it best – are you ready to fight?

Fragmented Afrika

by Ogechi Anokwuru, an Igbo (Eastern Nigerian) residing in London, England.

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30Sep/17
Nanii Acosta

Afro-Latino Nanii Acosta Releases Her Single “Sittin Sideways”

Nanii Acosta is an Afro-Dominican singer/songwriter based out of Brooklyn. She has released her single “Sittin Sideways” that is an interpretation of everything that she is – a woman of strength, bilingual tongue, and a strong inclination to music and spirituality. All of which have been cornerstones of Black culture.

“Growing up I had always struggled to maintain an identity to be proud of my Afro-Latino heritage. Because I didn’t fit the mold of what a “Latina” person looked like I was always told “you’re not Dominican, you’re black”, or  “you’re lying”. Unknown to the ignorant ones, Black people come in all different shades and speak a spectrum of languages. We are creators of life and therefore our culture and variants of it can be found in every corner of the globe.

Those comments and ones similar formed deep cuts that lead me to dislike myself. There were instances when I wanted to sit in bleach or pray to God that my hair would be straight and long. The emergence of black culture across the internet and media has been a godsend and a form of healing. I am not only proud of my bronze skin and thick coils but also the excellence that my people represent.”

Nanii’s song can be found on iTunes and Spotify!

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17Sep/17
Chidinma Obinnakwelu

Poetic Justice | “Hair Me” by Chidinma Obinnakwelu

“Hair Me” submitted by Chidinma Obinnakwelu

What exactly is wrong with my hair?

Do you not realize you are in the presence of an African Queen?

My crown defies gravity

Reaching for the skies to high five the gods

My crown is handcrafted by the

Sweet goddess Ala Herself

Each coil twisted in such sophistication

Each coil in love with one another they intertwine

Again I ask

What exactly is wrong with my hair?

My hair is not limp and lifeless

For it embodies the spirit of the African goddess

There is absolutely nothing wrong with my hair

There is absolutely everything wrong with

Your perception of what

You think my hair should look like.

 

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16Sep/17
Terri New

Poetic Justice | “Humility” by Terri New

“Humility” by Terri New

My misinterpretation of the word humble
handcuffed me.
The keys were inside of me.
I swallowed it, along with the words:
“I can do that”
Instead I told myself:
Sit down child.
Be quiet.
Just act like you don’t know.
Be teachable.
My humility humiliated me.

 

Terri New is a Ghanaian living in Pittsburgh, PA | IG @terridiaries
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09Aug/17
Maimouna Youssef

Shine Your Light with Songstress Maimouna Youssef

Grammy nominated music artist Maimouna Youssef has just released a new hot single “Shine Your Light” with DJ Dummy. Bringing back the old flavor of fun fueled concept music that had blazed the air waves in the 70s. Talented and beautiful, Maimouna Youssef allows listeners to escape melodically to an acoustic utopia. Taji Mag had the opportunity to interview her about her new single, her influences, and her sage like wisdom on life.

Taji Mag: What sparked your influence for your new single?
Maimouna Youssef: I wanted to develop music to make people feel good about themselves. Being that I grew up informed about the struggle through my family, I have not been surprised by today’s hardships. I feel like people that didn’t have similar upbringing, don’t know how to deal with some of the issues of today. I hear people say that they don’t know what to do with all this negativity going on in the world and I want them to know that it is going to be ok. That they can keep moving forward because what we are going through is nothing new.
TM: How did you combine dance and concept music in your new single “Shine Your Light”?
MY: I took influence from the 70’s that fused concept and dance music together for people to enjoy. Music shouldn’t have to be really serious or just dance music, it can be both and the 70’s were good for that.
TM: Would you ever consider doing a socially conscious album similar to Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On?
MY: I would love to do a concept album like that. The beauty of being an independent artist is that you are able to put whatever you want to put out without any questions. I love making whatever music I feel moves me. Instead of having someone tell me I can’t put out certain types of work, that limits me as an artist.
TM: How did you learn to keep self love?
MY: My mother inspired me and taught me to love myself. She told me no one else is going to give me that love, so I needed to learn to give it to myself. Everybody should have that love for themselves. I think that it is important now especially with what is going on today that you really have to have that self love.
TM: What advice do you give to your son about life? Women? Society?
MY: I talk to him everyday about his experiences and dealing with emotions. That’s why I have him in boxing in Baltimore with his uncle. To teach him about discipline and dealing with his emotions. I feel like some men of color don’t have that. A way to let out their emotions and not have it bottled in. You see a lot of men with good careers, lots of degrees, money, and are able to function externally but internally they are dealing with a lot of anger and frustrations that they don’t know how to handle. I don’t sugar coat things with my son and keep it real with him. I homeschooled him because during his time in pre-school I felt he wasn’t learning some of the things I wanted him to learn. An Example, in kindergarten he had the daily lesson of differentiating similarities and differences between objects. One day the assignment was to circle all the clowns with red noses and put an X on the ones with different colored noses. I noticed that he had a positive attitude towards the clowns that he was circling because clowns with red noses are the norm but when he had to X out the clowns with different colored noses, I noticed his attitude towards those clowns were more aggressive and dismissive as he was X’ing them out. Then just as an experiment, I asked him instead of using X’s which in our society connote something negative to be excluded and Circles to be something positive to be included, I asked him to use triangles and rectangles which don’t have social connotations neither positive or negative. So, he began doing the assignment and his whole attitude changed. He was feeling positive to all the clowns no matter what color noses they had. I knew right then that that assignment he was being asked to do everyday was teaching social intolerance in the most subconscious and insidious way. Its also teaching self hate because as a boy or color in this society, he’s going to routinely be the one that is different that society will want to X out. If we don’t have self love we didn’t have anything.

TM: Which artist made you fall in love with music?
MY: My mother and grandmother both made me fall in love with music. Especially my grandmother having a gospel background. They kept me exposed to artists like Mahalia Jackson and Donny Hathaway. I wanted to listen to groups like Total back in the day and they kept me on artist like Ella Fitzgerald. Both of them kept me into old school good music, that helped shape the artist I am today.
TM: Which other Artist influenced you?
MY: I have done some background work Lalah Hathaway who inspires me because she is awesome! There have been times where I have not been able to focus on my part as background vocalist for Lalah because she was so great during the performance. I also worked with Cody Chesnutt and I love his work as well. I always try to pick his brain and seek his mentorship because I think he is so talented and has great musical skills. I love working with Eric Roberson, he is another gifted artist. All these great artist are my mentors and I’m always asking them for advice to make my skills better.

Maimouna Youssef’s newest album “Vintage Babies” will be out soon and she also has an album release tour coming. Follow her on twitter @maimounayoussef and @mumufresh on instagram.

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14Jul/17
brandy butler

Brandy Butler and Her video “Gentle Beating Heart” Are Soul Food

brandy butlerWith “Gentle Beating Heart,” the latest video from Brandy Butler’s 2017 release “The Inventory of Goodbye,” the vocalist/songwriter continues her collaboration with Nicole  Pfister the director and illustrator who created the sensual short for Brandy’s slinky track,  “Spell” earlier this year.
The video is an abstract visual essay shot in South Africa, which welds the rumbling atmospherics of Ms. Butler’s “Howling” to the mantra-like proclamations of “Gentle Beating Heart.” With the repeated phrase, “Oh your gentle beating heart opens up the sky at night,” Pfister’s short forgoes conventional narrative to visually play upon the theme of emotions so powerful that they transcend the physical realm and impacts the forces of nature itself.
As the camera explores the cliffs, sand and sea of the African coast it also discovers the still bodies of the beach’s inhabits. It observes the obscured tensions that lie within these bodies and beneath the landscape’s surfaces as well. And when the vibrations between these human figures and the land fall into sync, their forces come crashing together with vivid, metamorphosing power.
Listen to and discover more about Brandy Butler on her website.
Both musical pieces “Howling” and “Gentle Beating Heart” are from Brandy Butler’s 2017 release “The Inventory of Goodbye.” A collaborative short film between the musician/performance artist Brandy Butler, and the director and creative being Nicole Pfister.

 Credits:
Written / Directed / Edited NICOLE PFISTER
Music/ Additional visual inputs BRANDY BUTLER
DOP EBRAHIM HAJEE
Assistant Camera JESSE JAMES HARRIS 
ABDUL MALIK MASOET 
Hair and Makeup  DALE M. TITUS
Assistant Director CÉLINE-NIARA SAKHO
Runner STANSY KAWASA
Dancers SEEFLEX THE ARTIST / SHAMI SHAMROCK
Models LUCY MBIOLA / ROX KIM LO / RACHID POATI
Clothing Models 2BOP / YOUNG AND LAZY
Clothing Brandy Butler MALIKAH HAJEE / BETH DITTO
Thank you SHANE COOPER / ANTHONY SMITH / LUKE DOMAN / LUKASZ POLOWCZYK/ POPKREDIT
Photo credits: Ebrahim Hajee
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27May/17
Devon Anthony

Devon Anthony is Bringing the Music You Want to Hear

Devon AnthonyJames Brathwaite aka Devon Anthony is about to release his music to  his already sizeable army of fans. With his mixtape expected to be a success and fame imminent, the exciting, newfangled sound that he has made his own is certain to gain interest from across New York.

His first foray into learning story writing  came when he was 13 years old. Later he began to write poetry, which he continued with for three years before finally entering in the NAACP ActSo Program, a decision which he never looked back from.

As his confidence grew and his style developed, he soon saw a loyal following begin to grow and he became a popular local hit in the Brooklyn music and poetry scene. His talent with a variety of musical instruments only added to his appeal, and his unique baritone sound with a twist started to find an appreciative audience.

He is keen to point out that everything he listens to directs his musical development in some way. However, he would certainly include Sam Cook, Bob Marley, The Police, Ray Charles, John Coltrane and Stevie Wonder as amongst his biggest influences.

Finally, after honing his unique sound over recent years, he is now preparing to release his mixtape, ‘Devon Portrait’, which underlies the changes that James has gone through over recent years. The biggest of these was the ‘switch’ from poetry to rap , which has allowed him to develop as a person, and has in turn profoundly aided his musical development.

Devon AnthonyOther changes that have affected and influenced his song-writing over recent years have been his development of political writing, an area that he pays a lot of attention to and incorporates to a certain degree in his music, employing sound bites of news reports to add an extra dimension to some of his songs.

And as if that wasn’t enough, James has taken it upon himself to take up an entirely different, though wholly satisfying, hobby of weight training. The satisfaction he gets from indulging in his many passions has led to create a better person, although he is not at his full potential due to the amount of time that he spends performing.

Check him out below!

https://devonent.simdif.com
https://www.instagram.com/devon_entertainment
https://m.facebook.com/DevonAnthonyEnt

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26May/17
Camp Lyfe

Introducing South Carolina Hip Hop Trio Camp Lyfe

Introducing Ludazh, Savage aka Bandit, and Kada From Darlington. They are known among their fans and supporters as: Camp Lyfe. They currently reside in Columbia, South Carolina.
Camp Lyfe
Their current album is titled “Meet Da Camp.” They are working on a new project right now, but they haven’t given it a name just yet. Ludaz was inspired to do it by the fact that he feels the music industry needs some good music right now. Life inspired them to write it and show people the world through their eyes.
Ludaz doesn’t consider himself an MC or lyricist. He just considers himself a real man giving you his street stories. Either he has seen it or he has done it. But, on the other hand Kada considers himself a lyricist and Bandit certainly knows that he is an entertainer!

They write and create their own music. They have collaborated with as many Artists that they could who were serious about their craft including Lil Ru, Nine Million, and Mo Beatz on their “Meet Da Camp” project.

Kada always loved music. He remembers his grandmother having literally hundreds of records in her living room wall unit. His father played almost every instrument. He started writing in middle school as a competition to see who could write the best verse with his friends at the time. Yet, for Ludazh writing songs is like therapy to him. In general life inspires him. As long as he’s living he always has something to rap about. Bandits’ mother is a passionate music lover, which she passed down to him. So she inspired him to create music.

In Kadas’ world his most memorable performance was their first show in their hometown, as the headliner for a comedy show. They were so young and excited. He loved every minute of it because they got to share something with the world. They worked hard and practiced for hours to prepare for. Ludazh he doesn’t really have a memorable stage performance moment because they all are LIT! But if he had to pick one it would be when they opened a show for Master P. Bandit says that his most memorable moment was when he did a song with “Soul 4 Real.”

Ludazh shares that if he could perform with any popular artist in the industry today, he’d choose Stevie Wonder! He thinks the fella is incredible and that it would be a good move for the CamP, mixing in two genres and all. Kada let’s us know that if he could perform with a popular artist today it would have to be Jay-Z. He’s a music mogul and has branched out into things other than music.

Ludazh tells us that what makes them stand out from other Artists is that they’re not afraid to be themselves. They don’t always have to be the coolest. They don’t mind laughing, and having a good time. Life is about living and enjoying it so they show that through their music, their personalities and all.

The future for Camplyfe is Lit with a lot of opportunities. They have a lot of surprises up their sleeves. The Jody video is on the way. Their CD is coming out this summer. In general the future holds more of everything for camp lyfe from music to fashion. They are also expecting to gain international recognition for their music company.

Their Conact Info and Work Can Be Found at the Following: 
Camp Lyfe
— Kada @mrfreshoncampus on all social media

— Bandit @scbanditcrc on IG
— Ludazh @Camplyfe on FB, IG, & Twitter

Check them out on their website www.camplyfe.com

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16Feb/17
Social Yaruna

Lindi Roaming the Streets at the Social Yaruna

In this edition of Lindi Roaming the Streets, Lindi visits the Social Yaruna!

“CREATIVITY IS A WILD MIND AND A DISCIPLINED EYE”

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Social YaRuna is an out of the box, diverse and artistic movement aimed at providing a platform to mold and nature future leaders of the entertainment world. “Ya Runa”, which means ours, aims at creating unity among the artists as well as unifying art lovers with those that chose to pursue a career in the world of entertainment.  The idea of YaRuna is to draw in the masses and teach them knowledge of how broad the art/entertainment industry is by bringing in a diverse group of individuals under one roof who will each bring in their own element; ultimately giving a platform for emerging artists to grow as artists as well as make a living from their crafts.

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YaRuna, established in September 2016, is hosted every first Saturday of the month and is co-owned by Thabang Modupo & Thobile Nhlapo.

These emerging events co-ordinators & stylist/image consultants are also qualified Business Analysts. Born and raised in the east of Johannesburg (born in Hillbrow, resided in Tembisa (tshepo extention) till the age of 7, then moved to Kempton Park in 1999.

They were also recently a Top 15 finalist in the global blogger style challenge, being the only African to have been a part of the competition.

“What defines me is my capability to adapt well to ever changing circumstances in my life, constantly transitioning from what society’s perception of what a young black man should look like as well as how a young entrepreneur like myself should dress or behave in order to be successful. I don’t conform to the norms of society hence I don’t want to restrict myself to just settling for the regular 9-5 lifestyle we as a black community have been trained since birth to take up, where we slave day in a day out only to make millions (daily) for someone else’s company only to earn peanuts only once a month.”

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It’s not everyday that society is gifted with a radical youth, who is not afraid to dance to her own tune or help liberate the minds of other youth around her. This 23 year old photographer from Sebokeng, Vaal, began using her photography career three years ago, as a self-expressive art that she now wishes to share with the world. She describes her photography as a form of “Expressionism”- as most of her work carries subliminal meaning and weight from within!

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Thobile has photographed South African stars, including AKA, Kelly Khumalo, and Mandoza. “I hope to be given an opportunity to further develop my skills and more importantly, to working with people I can learn from.”

“SPIRIT IS HER NAME”

spirit

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“You can not use up creativity, the more you use, the more you have.”

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“The shoe cobbler”

“The Shoe Cobbler” is a customization business that was founded by 3 young entrepreneurs, Tshepang Ramoji, Thabo Kholoane & Sabata Mpholo who identified and realized how the local trend where they’re from was so behind, so they re-introduced a forgotten street culture (sneaker customization) in the Vaal.

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TSC basically gives all worn out sneakers a second chance by re-modifying them and giving them a brighter and better colour to match the look you’ve always had in mind.

•The vision of TSC is to be known and recognized internationally because of the creativity we all have to offer.
•Our mission is to provide high quality services that are trustworthy, join every well known markets that display art, and, most of all, enhance our entrepreneurial excellence.
 
IG-@the_shoe_cobbler
FACEBOOK – Tshepang Samson Ramoji

CELL no.- 0818790398

FACEBOOK – Thabo Lovey Koloane
CELL no-0603497163
 
FACEBOOK – Sabata Sabo Mpholo
CELL no.-0799882973
Hector Pieterson (1963 – 16 June 1976) became the subject of an iconic image of the 1976 Soweto uprising in South Africa when a news photograph by Sam Nzima of the dying Hector being carried by another student while his sister ran next to them, was published around the world. He was killed at the age of 13 when the police opened fire on protesting students. For years, 16 June stood as a symbol of resistance to the brutality of the apartheid government. Today, it is designated Youth Day — when South Africans honour young people and bring attention to their needs. #FEESMUSTFALL
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Live painting
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Soulful sounds by Sio
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Live Body Painting 
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The Royal Vibrations is a marimba group that has a percussive musical combination of marimba, djembe, dance and vocals. The band comprises of ten Members who share common roots with different social and cultural orientations. The group represents the nicest melodies ever found in the musical history of mankind and is based in the heart of Johannesburg, Hillbrow (at the Hillbrow Theatre).

The Royal Vibrations fuses traditional music with western sound effects and a modernized interpretation of time, space and circumstance. The band plays a variety of musical styles that include Southern Africa traditional songs, Afro-fusion, jazz, house, gospel, afro-pop and classical sounds. Members of the band respectively are rich in experience of the entertainment industry and have performed on both local and international music festivals and concerts.

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To date, the experience within the band blends into a unique acoustic feel with an essential rhythmic touch that refreshes, heals and gives an uplifting sensation that restores our sense of dignity and self-pride. The Royal Vibrationz works with a number of session musicians from all over South Africa, and has collaborated with international live bands on various occasions, including Melita Matsinhe based in Norway. The Royal Vibrations is currently the holders of the best marimba band in South Africa’s National Marimba Festival 2013 and the International Marimba & Steelpan Festival 2013. The great band has a live audio recording they did in 2013 titled “The Journey” That includes cover versions from the great African and international musicians and some of their own compositions. “We are here to give you the best marimba music at festivals, concerts, graduation ceremonies, corporate functions, parties and weddings.” They offer the following services:

Live Marimba Band (Afro-jazz, contemporary jazz, house, reggae, soul, afro-soul, RnB)

Take a chill pill and unwind with a game of Pack Man!!!
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“Your attitude is like a box of crayons that colour your world. Constantly colour your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humour, and your picture begins to lighten up.”

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Midrand Social Squad
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PHOTO CRED:@jay_dundidit      
                      GRAYSCALE                
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14Nov/16

#MustLoveBeards Profile: ALAN KING

Happy #MCM everyone! This week, Taji Mag sat down with the talented brother Alan King, author of the new book POINT BLANK. Alan King has worked with the Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper. King has also been an outspoken housing rights advocate. He has also served as a researcher with the Center for Public Integrity. In addition to his impressive resume, he is a devoted husband and father. Mr. King has an upcoming book tour, and took a break to talk to us about his work, love, and the perseverance it takes to be an artist.

POINT BLANK

Africa Jackson: What do you love most about being a Black man?

Alan King: I love being another line in the legacy of Black people. I’m juggling two legacies as a Caribbean American. I’m inspired by the writers that come before me. Writers who are ancestors now like John A. Williams, Clarence Cooper Jr. and Chester Himes. Oh yeah, and Langston Hughes and Ralph Ellison. Let me throw some women in the mix: Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Wanda Coleman, Octavia Butler. I also love Black culture.

poet, husband, father, visionary

poet, husband, father, visionary

AJ: You mentioned ‘legacy’. What does that word mean to you? In what ways have you seen that manifest in your career and/or personal life?
AK: There’s a heritage that connects us to the diaspora. There [is] rhythm, history. There’s a beauty in our culture. Being a husband and father allows me to pass on the best of myself. I was a teacher. That role allowed me to be an example to my students. I taught a class, where I was the first married black men the young women encountered. This was middle school. They kept staring at my wedding band asking about what it’s like to be married.
AJ: The “wicker” reference from the latest Point blank trailer is indicative of Black culture. Have you ever been discouraged from being too Black? If so, by who? How did you respond?

AK: I had a higher up, during my work study placement, who asked me to read poems, but then said “Don’t get too back with it.” That came from a Black man. I wasn’t sure if I should still read poems. It was for an office party.
But my writer friends encouraged me to do it. They said by me going through with it, it would show him that his biases are wrong. As a writer, I don’t worry about being too black in my work. White writers aren’t asked not to be too white. I feel I should have that same freedom to explore various types of blackness in my work. In Point Blank, more of my Caribbean heritage comes through. Rereading the poems, I was surprised how present it is.
AJ: What advice can you offer to other artists struggling with double consciousness?

AK: My advice to other artists is to be true to yourself.

AJ: Did you ever seriously consider another career?
AK: I’m a Communications Specialist for a living. I’ve always been a writer at heart. There was one time, in college, when I considered being a programmer. I later found out from my mom that she thought I was making a mistake. She knew my passion is writing. My dad kept pushing me to do something that makes money That’s why I went the programming route. But I don’t regret my decision. I’m also open to learning other skills that might mesh with my writing.
AJ: Switching gears, there is this belief that Black men don’t love Black women. What are your thoughts about that?
AK: I know there are some brothers who date outside the race, but so do some black women. It’s touchy to assume why those folks do it without knowing the whole story. I know for me, it was important to be open to however love presented herself. I had no idea that I’d meet my wife, a passionate Nigerian woman, the way I did. I think it’s important to be open to love, whatever way it presents itself. I don’t think someone should be with someone because the community feels that way.
AJ: Audre Lorde taught us that self-care is revolutionary. As an artist, father, husband, and Black man has self care been part of your life? 
AK: My family is part of my self care. I draw strength from my wife and my daughter. I hit the gym when I can and go for walks to clear my head. The important part of self care is having friends, people you can vent to when needed.

AJ: If someone were to choose between your new book and Starbucks, what would make them pick up POINT BLANK over a Frappuccino?

AK: The image of the young man on the cover. I purposely chose it because he embodies what people of color are going through in this country. The picture is powerful. He’s on his way somewhere. Depending on the point of view , he could be up to no good or just minding his business. I thought it was powerful how the photographer, Ewholomeyovwi Jeroro, captured him. The young man is in the photographer’s scope much like how people of color are in the scope of law enforcement.
CLICK HERE to purchase his book of poetry and learn more about why we love this Black man!
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