Highlighting & preserving women in Art
We are thankful to everyone that came out January 9th to ‘Inhale’ at the Wow Cafe Theater where feature Nefetiti Asanti brought us under her spell. Originally fron Brooklyn, NY, this lover of words and expression has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. “I used to scribble what I thought was cursive as a way to write like “the big people” and get their attention. My mommy gave me first journal when I was six. She told me I could write anything in it, even cuss her out, and she wouldn’t read it. She gave me something that was mine.” Today she continues to stake her claim in the world as poet, teacher and activist. A woman of many hats, she sat down with Art LovHer to share some of her process.
1. When did you become serious about your art, and pursue it as a life path? Would you consider what you do your life path?
I was introduced to spoken word/performance poetry when I was 13 while attending the Junior Scholars Program at The Schomburg Center for Black Research & Culture. I had the privilege of meeting Black role models that dedicated their life to words and connecting with youth. I didn’t like slam so much but I performing was something I was meant to do; it was naturally how I crafted my pieces. I remember being 16 & declaring I would never do this for a living because then I would hate it. I was wrong.
2. Why do you create?
I create because I’m supposed to. It is my way of being in compassionate with myself and others.
3. Who are some of your major influences/role models?
I have a deep appreciation for the musicality of Black speech patterns. I desire to echo the deliberate language & wisdom passed down to me from my mommy & grandma. I was always fascinated by grown folk conversation & as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gained my very own seat at the kitchen table to add in my two cents.
I also admire fierce Black women poets and sci fi authors. I have been reading a lot of Patricia Smith lately & she devastates me.
4. What inspires you?
I am inspired by the way words look on the page and sound in the ear. Most of all I am inspired by intimate moments, journeys through self, journeys through others, an exploration in healing.
5. What advice would you give a young creative who wants to make their thing into their whole life?
I would say become an expert on your experience. Talk to yourself often, not like self-conscious, more like if you have a fear or something you been putting off, talk to it. Be gentle with it & listen to what it has to say.
Read! It truly is fundamental
Be in community with others, as a source of support, inspiration.
in the meantime in between time do something else you are really good at to keep the income coming in…
6. What’s one of the most rewarding parts of your work? One of the hardest?
Being present from the moment I think up some words to the moment they leave my lips to the moment I hear them echoed back at me…this work reminds me to be present & gracious
I’d say the hardest is being deliberate in word choice – the word “something” is a placeholder for a word I can’t quite put my finger on
7. How do you get through blocks in your creativity?
I don’t think of myself as blocked, more like distracted. I am all about freewriting & being gentle with myself. I know when I haven’t written for days, and for now, I can be ok with that & not beat myself up about it.
8. What have you got coming up in the next couple months?
I’ll be featuring at Exhale Jan 23rd, other then that… I’m not even sure, so don’t start me to lying lol
9. What are your pet peeves?
When the pot starts talking about the skillet.
10. What’s your favorite color?
Gold & green
Featuring Nefertiti Asanti & Lady Moon & The Eclipse