Monthly Archives: May 2018

PORT HARCOURT: PHLS SLAM POETRY JUDGES UNVEILED

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PORT HARCOURT: PHLS SLAM POETRY JUDGES UNVEILED

PORT HARCOURT HOSTS NIGERIA’S BIGGEST SLAM

As part of its ongoing literary engagements, the Port Harcourt Literary Society will host, arguably, Nigeria’s biggest Poetry Slam this month.

And the Society has unveiled four award-winning and distinguished Nigerian poets as judges for the Slam, scheduled to hold in Port Harcourt on May 25.

They are Efe Paul Azino, curator of the highly successful Lagos International Poetry Festival whose recent project was the brilliant Heritage Bank advertisement, and Andrew Patience, spoken word Amazon and one of the founders of the impressive Custodians of African Literature, based in Jos, Plateau State.

Others are Obii Ifejika, winner of Nigeria’s first ever slam, and multi award winner and slam poetry master, Graciano Enwerem.

Chairman of the Slam committee, Edwina Aleme, says the Slam is already receiving entries from around Nigeria, promising to bring some if the best of Nigerian spoken word poets to the Garden City.

The PHLS Poetry Slam, the first major poetry competition in the Niger Delta region, promises it’s winner a whopping N100,000.00. The runner-up will take home N75,000.00, while the second runner-up will receive N50,000.00. A fourth prize, the first of its kind in Nigeria, worth N25,000.00, will go to a winner among secondary school entrants who have benefited from the Society’s PHLS-LIFT (Literature for Teens) programme.

“This is in line with our objective with PHLS-LIFT to nurture a new generation of spoken word poets in Port Harcourt and the Niger Delta,” Aleme says, “so that we help create a new narrative that our youths are not militants. We are a society of brilliant young people and the world needs to hear our voices.”

 

JUDGES:

EFE PAUL AZINO, is a Nigerian writer, performance artist and poet. He is the founder and director of the Lagos International Poetry Festival, and the director of poetry at the annual Lagos Book and Art Festival. Azino has featured in a number of local and international poetry events and is a fellow of the Osiwa Poetry Residency…

ANDREW PATIENCE FINYE, known as AP, is one of the leading voices in creative spoken word poetry in Nigeria, with a debut spoken word album ‘I Am’ to her credit. She is the founder of Custodians of African Literature (COAL), a platform that promotes African writers and their writings. AP is also a broadcaster and media personality based in Jos, Nigeria…

GRACIANO ENWEREM (Sir Grrraciano) is a poet, writer, teacher and media consultant. A graduate of English and Literary Studies. He’s the winner of War of Words (Season 3), YOUPoetry Slam, War of Words Online Slam 1 and other prizes. Cofounder, Figures of Speech movement (FOS), the first online creative group on Whatsapp…

OBII IFEJIKA is a story-teller who made her debut in Spoken word at the maiden edition of Bassey Ikpi’s National Poetry Slam, where she was crowned Slam Champion in October 2012. She has performed in several poetry events such as the maiden edition of the NIBRA Awards, Wole Soyinka’s 80th birthday celebration and at the Theater Expedition Metropolis, Germany.

 

*How to enter:

Just send a 1 or 2 mins video of you performing a poem to literaryevening1@gmail.com . Entry closes on the 20th of May by 12 noon. Send the mini version on Instagram, then follow and tag @phls_openmic with hashtag #phlsslampoetry. All chosen 15 finalists will be contacted via email before 12 midnight on same day.

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STAYING AWAKE (This Is America… Or the Black nation?

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STAYING AWAKE (This Is America… Or the Black nation?

For many years, I have been one individual whose adrenaline pumps when I come in contact with controversial hidden messages in any work of art. I always do not let go, but tend to take a bite at the information I gather, then get pretty excited; just like what I recently came across on Instagram. The moment I saw that fifty-nine seconds clip; I drove myself to find what I can gather on Youtube. I was in awe at first, then I began to decode a few hidden significant meanings from first view.

Today, I am here to yap a little bit about Donald McKinley Glover Jr.  also known as Childish Gambino. He is an American actor (major Character in the TV series- Atlanta), comedian, writer, director, producer, singer, songwriter, rapper, and of course a DJ. He strikes me as an eccentric character, and that is what has drawn me to him. He is different, and filled with a lot of information like the ‘awakened ones’.

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So, I have finally watched Childish Gambino’s THIS IS AMERICA up to 4 times or so, and I am still gathering information from the hidden meanings:

First my attention goes to the font in rage italic style this is America, and black background which shows its rough textured edge, from his shirtless body, grey confederate uniform pants, the yellow shoes, the eye-pop and Jim Crow pose, the first close range shot fired the guy whose head is shrouded in white and playing a guitar (this could be Richie Haven who improvised the song ‘Freedom’. It could that the black community’s cry for freedom may have been shot while they aren’t looking), the scarlet piece of clothe and maroon chair, the dancing students in grey and white (young people following his every step), and the masked people with their mobile phones (celly: a form of mind or social incarceration) that’s considered a weapon or tool and typing away their time and recording the chaos, the warehouse-like environment which also might look like a cell, the white and brown chickens (lily livered individuals who are not able to do anything, but just eat and watch) , the grey horse its rider and the police car towing behind it (a symbol of the apocalypse according to Revelation 6:8), the chaos in the background, the gayish mannerisms in his solo exaggerated dance steps, the gwara gwara dance in connection with South Africa… The struggle continues – apartheid? (embedded within too is a one-time popular shaku shaku Nigerian dance style… lol), the sneaking in to a church and shooting at the entire choir or students (the Charleston church shooting), the repeated verse “black man, get your money…” (entertainment and distraction), his hair shaped like the map of Africa (black man/racism), the guy that was thrown down from the first floor (murder), the circle dance (occult), the female voice in shrieking screams (continuous tears and pain), the daze mode and marijuana smoking, the dance step on the old model car, the chase in the end (payback time or an overwhelming situation that causes one to run from the problem without confrontation…?)

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What could these statements mean…?

 

“This is America. Don’t catch you slippin’ up” – Staying awake to the happenings?

“Look at what I am whippin’ up…” – Gun violence?

“Police be trippin now. woo!” – Police brutality

“This is America; look how I am kinky now. I am so pretty” – the black nation, and focus on beauty

“on the Benz, on the Benz, on the Benz. contraband, contraband, contraband” – Stagnation

“Girl you got me shaking… shaking the frame” – America in an uncontrolled state of chaos

I think this entire video is portraying the black struggle stage in which America has come from, especially with the recent gun violence, which is very much prevalent at this level in its society. What happens when you have access to a gun and you are the bad guy? A lot of things will go wrong. There will be murder rates going on the rise at all times. This might also be the major reason for the ‘Gun control’ advocacy.

I believe Childish Gambino has succeeded in awakening the inner mind of America as a unifying, yet divided body. Like I always say, “America is a country that eats its own.” several thousands of miles back here, as other black Africans, we may not understand that there is gross porosity that has made this nation a ‘danger zone’ (not that I don’t like America, I do) for many who are in dwellers. The black community suffers this the most because there is the ability to be distracted by everything that that has been happening, especially the crave for fame in the entertainment industry, the crave for money, the excitement of gun carrying signature, etc.

In line with what popular Nigerian Afrobeats King- Fela Anikolapo Kuti said in his song “zombie o, zombie”, “suffering and smiling”, and one of Nigeria’s foremost lyricists- Modenine, stating this kind of distraction as the “happy feet syndrome”. I know these examples might sound a bit bland, but these quickly come to mind for me. On the other hand, I also think popular culture has played a major role at damaging the core of the society (mainstream media), and those who are most adaptive to this kind of culture are the young people who for some absolute naive reason are ultimately clueless of what’s going on, and the detrimental effect of being ‘zombie-like’ to ‘OBEYing’ everything damaging that comes to them. For example, there is a fight somewhere, and phones are whipped out of their pockets to take pictures or record without doing the right thing… Well, you might say “that isn’t supposed to be my problem. What if I get injured in the process?” I’d leave that to your conscience to answer.

I am not here to criticize any society or anyone, but it is just the obvious that has caused an awakening. You might say “well… that’s America.”, but trust me, we need a lot of Childish Gambinos in the world to awaken us from our slumber. Nigeria is also in a place where we need to remain AWAKE 24 hours round the clock. How much information do you know about your environment, community or nation? The world is sleeping, and so is the entire black nation. Some are awake, but not all are WIDE AWAKE! Man know thyself.

There are lots of ‘adlib’ distraction techniques in this song and in the world today. STAY AWAKE!!!

 

(c) Edwina Amakievi Aleme

 

Watch the original video here: https://youtu.be/VYOjWnS4cMY

Watch the SNL stage performance here: https://youtu.be/m1xkLqd1wdU