Everybody has a need to express themselves. This need is most times expressed wrongly when the person is unable to find the right channel of expression. Most people love music, but not everybody can sing to save their life. Most people love jokes, but not everybody can make other people laugh. Likewise, acting, dancing, sports, Spoken word poetry, etc are all different modes of expression. This means that there is a mode of expression for different people.
Spoken word is a very powerful performance-based poetry that focuses on the aesthetics of word play and story-telling. It is often used in conjunction with other art forms, such as music, theatre, and dance, and has been an outlet for people, especially youths, to creatively express their views, emotions or life experiences.
In Nigeria, Spoken word poetry is a fast emerging art-form, which is gaining strong grounds and attracting an ardent following, especially among the youths. With the growing popularity of this art form, Spoken word poetry can be used to reduce unemployment rate, increase the level of literacy and possibly eradicate poverty. How is this possible? Well, Spoken word poetry as an art form is naturally a perfect fit as:
- A genre of entertainment: The art form is one with great intellectual content and plenty of entertainment to keep the live audience excited and viewers glued to their seat. This art form is thus content for audio and/ or visual networks.
- A tool to increase the level of literacy: There is no degree requirement for becoming a poet, and no degree program can guarantee that graduates will become good Spoken word poets. However, the foundation for any poet is the ability to read and write. With this foundation, a poet will still need to develop and improve on his or her writing skills and increase their knowledge about all writing genres, and different aspects of life i.e. politics, love, finance etc. 🙂
- A medium of communication among people across the globe: the ability to express one’s emotions and thoughts in a clear and concise manner is an act of communication. Thus, most people are able to connect with a poet’s performance/ poem because it is something that they have experienced or at least, know about.
- A means of livelihood: This is the vision we have for this art form. And nowadays, we have very few Spoken word poets who get paid to perform at events (sometimes, themed events). However, for this art form to be a full-fledged means of livelihood, there is a major need for investment and support of this art form by individuals, corporate organizations and the Government.
Spoken word poetry captures all genres of people, the young, the old and the high network individuals. Given its intrinsic value, it is an art form with the potential to keep the youths (and the general populace) entertained, educated, literate and employed.
Olumide Holloway (King Olulu)