This piece is dedicated to all the young struggling artistes who just want their voices to be heard. ✊ This piece is basically a collection of my thoughts on certain issues that have been happening over and over again. To be frank, these are painful things I’ve got to get out of my chest. As much as I’m just coming to runt here(cos I own the place😁😁😁) this is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed.
Mostly we don’t like to say it but we’ve been exploited so much, so many times, all in the name of “the road to glory is not a bed of roses”… Well screw that!!! If you don’t have a screw driver, well jump on the bus and call the school driver(nerh, nerh this isn’t deep… It doesn’t even make sense…😒😒… Guy you can do better… Make a come back in the second line😋) you know what I’ll be your school driver… Fasten your belts… And let me get you schooled… Y’all missing some loose screws… Grab your notebooks and listen up… You’re about to take notes from a screw up…(now end it here before you really mess up😯😯) okay now that I’ve loosened up I can blabble out.
Now, I basically want to hit on two main things…
2. More respect!!!!!
I’m practically the most disrespected person I’ve ever met (well I haven’t met Donald Trump yet, so I think he’s prolly Trumping on this leaderboard). When I say respect, I basically mean respect for me as a person and respect for my art form.
Now a lot of crappy things have happened to me. To start with, I’ll hit on the subject of this blog. Life’s junkyard™. I named this place that because certain peeps have called my writings junk, so I figured, what the crap!!! Create a junkyard.
Now I don’t have a problem if you are clearly not interested in what I do… But you have absolutely no freaken rights to look down on it. You can’t stand there and say something like ” its just Spokenword… Its just poetry”
This isn’t just…
Do you know the hours of clear thinking and meditation I need before I can clear my mind up.
Do you know how difficult it is to focus on creating something out of nothingness.
Most of the time it comes as an idea… A very abstract image or concept map thingie…
And its my job to translate it to words. Its like painting a picture with colours that don’t exist.
Now those who know me personally know that, I don’t just get up and play any gig… Nerh…
Not every gig is relevant to my development as an artiste. Some things are completely not my business.
In relation to gigs and events there are 2 different categories I’ve worked with, There are the religious ones and the non religious ones.
Now with most of these gig they don’t pay a thing to you(especially the religious ones) sometimes you aren’t even given cash for transportation. And most of the organizers would give you a short notice, and want you to compose and memorize a new piece just for their event.
The most clichéd excuse is “Ooo you know that art is priceless so we can’t pay for it” Dude like I’ve got to eat something at the end of the day. And most of you expect us to do it for passion, well passion doesn’t fill the stomach (except for passion fruit😂… Runt continues after the comic relief). Passion ain’t airtime on my phone, passion won’t get me new shoes, passion won’t get me a new phone. Passion won’t give me the financial assistance I need for my projects, passion doesn’t pay for a custom domain, passion doesn’t pay for studio time.
Y’all have misinterpreted what passion is for. Passion is what drove me to start this so I could get something in return. Passion has got nothing to do with you its between me and how I’m true to my calling… Passion is why I have my personal blog, not why I should blog for you on your site. Passion is why I tackle societal issues in my pieces and put them out there for free. Passion is why I dropped political science to combine major in theatre and English. You know the most painful thing about being disrespected not only as an artiste, but as a student of the literary and performing arts is that… If it were a different profession you’d be treated differently. If I had read accounting and was an accountant, or I had become a lawyer or some other job or something, no one would come up to me and be like “come and work for free to satisfy your passion”. As much as we all agree that we can’t pay for the talent, let’s at least, be generous and give the artiste something with a little weight. Even if you can’t pay in cash you could always use the batter system and pay in kind, through goods or services.
Now in relation to events, normally two things happen. Its either you siting there waiting to perform, and the Emcee just decides “ooo spoken word isn’t needed we’re out of time let’s skip it” I’ve sat through events hoping that they’d at least call me up after the closing prayer.
I’ve left events knowing I could have touched someone’s life. Most of the time I get there very early. I help setup, do sound checks and all that. Just because I believe that if things don’t go well it also affects me cos I’m a part of it. And when it comes to time for performance, I’ve been grossly overlooked.
The painful thing is knowing that I could actually sue them and win, for using my name and image for adverts.
Now the most annoying people to work with are the religious events, churches and Christian groups to be precise. In the beginning, when I first started Spokenword, I thought everything I’ll ever do should be in churches and Christian circles. I remember struggling hard to fit into Christian circles. I remember trying so hard to be in the church. I remember forcing myself to write religious stuff even when the motivation was not around. I remember begging for just 3minutes to just use my art to bless people. I remember being denied on accounts of my spiritual maturity and blaa blaa blaa… So I took my art where it was accepted and this very people complained I was going secular. Now here is the deal. I’ve learnt to value myself. I’ve learnt to speak honesty… I’ve learnt to perform straight from my heart, and I’ll touch on religious stuff when the need arises. At the moment I’m still Christian… In fact I’m more Christian than I’ve ever been. I’m getting to know Christ for myself, and I’m trynna be more like him in my own way. But to be honest, the church and Christian religious circles are the last places I’d want to grow my art in. The church kind of limits their artistes…
Everyone would want me to keep shouting hallelujahs and speak about ecstatic religious phenomenons all the time. Then I’ll be expected to hit on doctrines instead of the bare truth … And all that ain’t really really changing nobody’s life. What happened to given back to society… What happened to feeding the hungry before preaching to him… What happened to helping the weak and injured before preaching to him. Right now we don’t even preach the gospel of Christ, we’re preaching in the name of our pastors and our churches. I’ve had Christians knock on my room in school preach to me knowing that I’m Christian, and still try converting me to their church. Can we win souls that have been won already?? Does my art have to be explicitly Christian to prove I’m Christian. The church pushes a lot of people out than we realize. (I’ll runt on the church later… Let’s get back on track…) I’m currently working on some real stuff, and I couldn’t have done them if my art developed solely in the church.
Now the issue with religious events is pretty simple. Your performance (which they would prefer you call ministration…. When in actual sense its a performance and the only person doing a ministration is the spirit of God not me… I’m just a broken vessel … Who is also broke😂😂😂) is considered to be there work of God, so your reward is in heaven. No problem… I barb. But supposing a guest artiste/minister, who has some form of celebrity status is to show up, he would be paid thousands and hundreds of CEDI’s… So how come he gets rewarded here and I don’t? Just because of celebrity status. It is practically the same crappy showbiz going on inside and outside the church… The emcees will never forget to call me up stage cos they’ve seen me on TV, or heard me on radio… Event organizers will be ready to pay me heavily cos they’ll consider it an honour to have a celebrity on their show.
While it is Shatta Wale, Sakordie, or Medikal , outside the church, we’ve also got Ohemaa Mercy, Joe mettle, and Cwesi Oteng in the church.
I know I’m prolly not close to these people in achievements but I’m not cheap, or valueless.
I’ve performed free in churches and Christian events whereby I entered with a few cedi notes and came out empty, just because the Emcee was directly calling you out for fundraising and seed sowing… Just because I’ve dressed nice and given a powerful performance.
Supposing I sow seeds and die of hunger who reaps my harvest? I’ve walked to and from religious performances, and people who saw me perform would pass and wave…
There have been nights when I’ve walked passed about two bus stops to ensure my money is enough to settle the fare.
I remember the voice of Bun B on Lecrae’s church clothes 3mixtape saying: ” be true to yourself and be true to your struggle, with time people will learn the truth and understand you, then the will relate to you” for how long do we have to wait…
Until we make it… All I can say is “God bless our hustle”