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We must build a poetry community in Ghana – Spoken word artists advocate

The spoken word artists appeared on TV3’s Simply Showbiz

Sir Black, Crystal Tettey and Laud De Poet have entreated all spoken word artists and poets in the country to come together to form a union.

They hope a community of poets in the country will champion the cause of poets and spoken word artists.

The three leading spoken word artists appeared as guests on Simply Showbiz on TV3 hosted by Nana Kwadwo Addo, Saturday, May 15.

They reacted to the genre not having any common front or guild to stand for their interests. Unlike musicians in the country who have the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSICA), poets have nothing.

The founder of the EhaLaKasa poetry movement, Sir Black, asked for a starting point for the project. He mentioned that it would be in right standing to first find a physical meeting place.

According to him, poets used to meet at the Nobuki Foundation when poetry started getting popular.

Sir Blacked cited the generational gap among poets has also been a challenging factor to their growth as a movement.

He said, “There were those who used to do it in the past, the Atukwei Okais and the Anyidohos. In their generation, they were also doing poetry in a strong sense. There has been a gap or the bridge between them and us.

“When we were coming up because we didn’t see them in person performing in those days. This gap has been a challenge for us to link and establish the younger ones who are coming. I’m speaking from a structural point of view.”

Sir Black went on to point out that they still have the potential to organise themselves. But they must first unite as a community before they can stand up for each other.

He continued, “What does a community do? What do they stand for? They stand for each other.”

He complained that in the past, they have tried to build a similar community. But when there is an event for poetry and poets, you find that others in the industry will not share the flyers or show up at the event. He insisted that these are some of the petty problems that need squashing to build a community.

“We need to understand what a community is. We need a community of poets and spoken word artists. Different elements make up a community. I should know that you live here, I should check on you, I should know where we fetch water. We should know what our needs are, we should know when someone is mounting a pillar so we can come and support the pillar”, he pointed out.

Laud De Poet, the founder of Verbal Inn, also chipped in a few words. He appealed to the government to show interest in their art form and help them establish a legal and formal body.

He said, “There is a role that government must do, yeah exactly there is a role government can play. Not necessarily taking a petition to them, but you see when there is a structure then there is a system. We would all get to benefit from it. Spoken word as it is, most of us record our pieces. So musicians and the poets can equally benefit from it.”

Co-founder of EhaLaKasa, Crystal Tettey, said, “I like your point about being solution-oriented because sometimes we are pained by the current situation. But it is always helpful to look at what can be done, and what’s being done. And so I will say building on what we have because I will admit we are not operating in a void. At least this young man here co-foundered the EhaLaKasa, a community we are all a part of.”

She said that the EhaLaKasa has sustained poets and given them a platform to perform. She also mentioned that they hold performances online on Fridays on their social media platforms. She urged everyone to help support the growth of the spoken word and poetry community in Ghana.

Source : Ghanaweb

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