What’s all this Anti-Indo something-something?

What is Anti-Indoctrination?

An excuse for all of you who want to say “Eii, this girl likes big brɔfo papa!”

Well, what it is, is a lexivist poem. As you know by now my life basically revolves around this thing – lexivism.

Why did I give it such a long name?

Well I’m supposed to be dispelling your previous indoctrination about how powerful words are, aren’t I? I’m not about to dumb it down for anyone’s convenience. When I wrote it in a burst of anger in a dark room in school sometime in January 2015, this is the first title that came to mind, and it’s what I stuck with. It does absolute justice to what I want the entire poem to mean.

Who’s Anti-Indoctrination for?

It’s “For the ones who accidentally started to believe that their words were not adequate means to achieve their dreams.” And what am I trying to say to them about their dreams? “I’ve got one piece of advice, and with two words, I’ll end: Chase them.”

What is Akotowaa telling them to do?

Speak, speak, speak (which you can do in the form of writing) and never stop! “They shut you down. Call you rude. Say you have a sharp tongue. But that just means you make cutting remarks and it tears the fabrics of their egos apart at the seams. So (Sew). Keep cutting, as I thread my message together.”

Let the fire burn on, guys, girls, lexivists.

Anti-Indoctrination promo

HUGE SHOUT-OUTS TO: Souza (videography), Hanif (videography) and Reynolds The GentleMan (music production)! You guys rock my world! ❤

Link to Anti-Indoctrination Video

-Akotowaa

Awesome Spoken Wordists Akotowaa Thinks You Should Know

Yo, I don’t even know if “spoken wordist” is the legitimate term. Let’s roll with it. Most of us who got into it got in by accident anyway.

Today is World Poetry Day! And in commemoration of that, I have decided to make a post featuring spoken wordists who make me happy. So, in no particular order, let’s go!

JACKIE HILL-PERRY

If you know me, you know she rocks my world. I think the first poem I ever saw from her was A Poem About Weed, which you should definitely check out. But even after that poem, she has grown exponentially. Check out Jig-a-boo, and American Persecution as well, which are all stellar.JHP

Oh, I love how spoken word can so easily translate into rap, so it’s cool how she raps too. She has a free album out called The Art Of Joy. And once you decide to check that out, just check out everything else Humble Beast has, because I mean, it’s all free anyway.

Jackie’s subject matter is always culturally relevant, and rooted in scripture, which you can learn from, whether or not you are a Christian. And I must say, her wordplay blows me away. If there’s anything greater than speaking sense, it’s speaking sense in the most intelligently artistic way. Don’t give up if you don’t get it; rewind and figure it out, man!

PROPAGANDA

prophiphopHe’s another person I knew from spoken word, even before I knew he was a rapper. But Prop is one of those guys who makes the two similar art forms seamlessly integrate into one. He’s also very scripture rooted, and loves to say things that get people mad. Shamelessly. Check out Be Present, and his apparently most controversial song, Precious Puritans.

You would notice that both of the people I have mentioned so far have dreadlocks. Coincidence? There’s just something about us that rocks. LOL, don’t even fight me. *flips dreads*

I almost forgot! Don’t even leave here without watching Bored of Education! Don’t!

AKUA NARU

akua_naru_2_1443Strictly speaking, Akua Naru isn’t a spoken wordist, but she happens to be classified in my mind as one, because the first time I saw anything of hers was on Youtube, and it was a poem. At least I think it’s a poem. It was called Poetry; How Does It Feel? And I was absolutely blown away. Well now I have two albums of hers – the only ones whose existence I am aware of – The Journey Aflame and The Miner’s Canary. Check them out. Her sound is amazing. She’s like jazzy hip-hop. And her messages are also pretty relevant.

Oh, and look what hairstyle she’s got. Hee-hee!

SOPHIA THAKUR

sophia-thakur-iiJust yesterday, I was being blasted by a friend for lamenting that Sophia Thakur is way too cool, because she’s so young and getting it, and I’m stuck in boarding school, doing the IB. I think she’s probably about 20, and so I must have heard of her when she was like 18.

Generally, everything she does is fire, so I’m going to recommend the video she performed at a Tedx event, My Boyfriend Isn’t Allowed To Cry, Unfortunately, but honestly don’t stop there. Search her until you’ve listened to everything she has, including and especially Beatbox, and her EP, called the Silver Linings 3P.

POETRA ASANTEWA

Important note: Don’t spell her name with two a’s. (Side note: don’t spell mine with opoetrane.) Poetra impresses me time and time again. She’s so extraordinary – and it’s even more confounding because she’s so ordinary. I’ve met her and I’ve talked to her and I don’t know how you can be so normal and so brilliant at the same time. There are a million things that she does and I could write an entire blog post on her alone, but obviously I have to focus on her spoken word, over here.

The most important place I feel I can direct you to is her EP, released a few months ago, called Motherfuckitude: The Naked Ones. Some people have heard the name and expected truckloads of swearing and sex or whatever, but if that’s what you’re expecting you’ll be disappointed. Yes, Poetra is badass – but in the way that she says the things that actually need to be said, and I swear she isn’t just trying to please an audience. So after you’re done with Motherfuckitude, follow her on all her social media, and stalk her, like I do.

Eventually I’m going to write an extended blog post on Motherfuckitude alone. (I know I’ve been saying this for months, but chale, life is hard.)

DZYADZORM

dzyadzormThis woman is the reason I do poetry in the first place, and the reason I fell in love with spoken word. And somehow, she seems to be everyone’s favourite female poet. It might be something to do with how easily she can get you into your feelings. I don’t know man, if Dzyadzorm went into acting, she’s probably be just as natural at it. It’s like she was built for the stage. The first thing I ever saw her perform was Stay, and if you see that live and you don’t fall in love with her, I don’t know what is wrong with you. Also, listen to her piece, called War.

Dzyadzorm is brilliant.

 

100% – HONDRED PERCENT

ydbmeuo9I don’t even care that he’s married. He was supposed to marry me, and I’ll keep saying this. Hundred is super cool because he’s an entertainer all round. Another natural performer, and word-player, who can deliver the most clever jokes with the straightest face and not a pause in his flow. I don’t know how he does it. He can freestyle anything and make it look like it was ten times rehearsed. I am telling you, I do not understand it.

Watch his collabo poem, Power, with Poetra Asantewa.

When he comes out with officially downloadable content, I promise I’m going to be on that faster than Harmattan dust on a horizontal surface.

He’s also a really cool person in real life and happens to be my favourite adult in all the world. Don’t tell him I said this, but…he might be twice this age in reality, but somehow he still manages to be fifteen. Which is also why I love him.

TONYA INGRAM

maxresdefaultHer messages are so positive! I’m talking about pieces like Suicide (with Alyesha Wise and Ki NG), and This Is What It Feels Like To Be Depressed. Don’t think I’m being ironic. Go and find these pieces and listen to/watch them. Then go and find anything else you can find on her.

 

BEAUTIFUL EULOGY

beautiful eulogyIs it rap? Is it music? Is it spoken word? All I know is, they can talk over production and it sounds really cool. The first thing of theirs I found which hooked me is Signs and Symbols, which also happens to feature Propaganda. They’re Humble Beast too, so just go on their website and download all their stuff for free. It’s like listening to sermons with rhythm.

 

 

 

This list is by no means exhaustive and if I could mention all the poets I am in love with, this post would take two days to complete. So I’ll leave it here for now and hopefully through other blog posts, other loves of mine will be adequately exposed.

Happy World Poetry Day!

-Akotowaa

P.S. Ha! I bet you expected me to feature myself.

 

The Girl Called Vanessa Who Needs Lexivism

You don’t know what lexivism is? Get up to speed, la!

Lexivism: Activism/advocacy for the recognized significance of words, literature, or things related to them. Also, a general love for these things. (At least until I find a more eloquent and adequate way to define it.)

Last week, the school received a visit from Akosombo International School, for no sensible reason other than that they wanted to see how our “good” school operates and implement what they liked back in theirs. More staff members came for the visit than students, evidence of their (unhidden) agenda. They were probably taking notes attentively, too. All I hope is that they were able to see, at least partially, through the façade that this institution knows so well how to put up.

Anyway, as I was enjoying my Saturday sleep, continued from early Friday night, broken only briefly for the sake of breakfast, I received a visit in my room. I bet the AIS girl was wondering what I was doing in my pyjamas at 3pm, but was too polite to say anything.

She was there to speak to me for a very specific reason, sent by a classmate of mine, with whom she was boarding, Sophia. Sophia sent her to me because this girl had an interest in writing. To a certain degree, this was really cool, because I seem finally to have reached that point where people around me think, “Oh, it’s about writing? Refer to Akotowaa.” Yay for recognition. Although I know that this will start to cause a lot of typecasting problems.

So this sweet girl came in and introduced herself as Vanessa, and said, “Sophia sent me to talk to you because she said you are a writer, and I also like writing. And I’ve written a drama.”

Vanessa was one of those people that I immediately liked. This is an infrequent occurrence, because I don’t immediately like a lot of people I just met.

So we entered a brief discussion about the production of literature, and Vanessa revealed to me that her play wasn’t actually completely finished and it would be done by June (?) and that after that, she had plans to begin a novel. I was in love, and so, so proud of her. I asked her what she planned to do with her finished play, and she said, “Publish it.” Which is cool – even though I was looking for more of an answer concerning where and when it would be staged – but I don’t think she had thought that far.

I encouraged her, if she could, to one day go and see an Ebo Whyte play, and stay behind to talk to him afterwards, because he’s amazingly friendly and responsive.

It was nearing the end of our short and fast-paced exchange that she began to (unintentionally) break my heart. She had been so enthusiastically caught up in declaring her literary ambitions to me, when suddenly, she paused and said almost penitently that she was intending, however, on studying law after high school, and that the writing thing was just “on the side”. Do you, or do you not understand why that made me want to cry?

  1. Why, oh God, why did she sound so freaking apologetic all of a sudden, as if her literary ambitions were not enough, and had to be compensated for, as if having these dreams as main goals was sinful, but acceptable as side-things? Who taught her to be sorry for liking what she liked? It’s a mere guess on my part, but I highly suspect she was told the same things, very early on, that I was. This is Africa, where that’s not a proper career, you won’t earn money, et cetera.
  2. Was she lying? What if she was lying? What if she wasn’t even lying to me, but was lying to herself about what she really wanted? I suspect my own bias comes into play here, because I want so badly for her to want what I want. And I saw some fire in her. Some light, when she talked about literary ambitions nearly as fervently as…me. Pardon me if I’m wrong (and I probably am), but people don’t have ambitions as large as hers for what they regard as “side things”. “Side things” don’t require that much passion, do they?

Sigh. I wanted to go deeper into the conversation, into questions like, “Who indoctrinated you?” But she was already getting ready to leave. There was not enough space, time, depth to get her to unlearn her miseducation. Anyway, we exchanged emails, and I’m going to hit her up as soon as her WASSCE is over. (By the way, I’d just like to say that I love that she’s writing right in the middle of her freaking final exams. That’s exactly the kind of dumb stuff that I do, when everyone else is seriously stroffing!)

Whether her dreams are professional-sized or side-thing-sized, Vanessa needs support. Vanessa needs lexivism. And I want her to get at least some of it from me.

-Akotowaa