This little - big - song is on repeat!
Ivana Akotowaa Ofori is Akotowaa, out of Ghana, 18 years old and wise as wise is. Spoken word artist and writer, the self-coined "lexivist" - word activist - she describes this poetic song as "a fresco of riffs and picks, claps and voice tricks, and of course, #SpokenWordOnBeat."
Akotowaa explains the inspiration behind the poem on her blog:
... It’s the world that’s changing, not us. Feeling underappreciated was a thing, before getting few or zero likes on a post was there to catalyse it. Envy already existed before someone else’s fantastic Instagram posts were there to make you wish you had what they have. And loneliness, exclusion, solitude – in whatever synonym, this thing that has been the theme of my life for so long – always existed, before the group photographs (that someone is missing from) were there to enhance it.
Everyone’s a photographer now. Social media thrives on its visuals. Often, we take photos of ourselves wherever we are. We use our frozen faces, our permanent expressions to create long-lasting memories. Sometimes I feel like if you went somewhere and didn’t take a selfie while you were at it, you might as well not have been there. Where’s the proof?
Importantly, she says, the message is not the exclusion itself but the desire for belonging and the regret of not seeking and finding the place where you belong in strength. "I wanted to be able to be bold enough to insert myself into spaces I wanted to be in, not just hover around the sidelines." I might not be fresh out of high school any more, but I remember the feeling, and I think we all might. Some, more intensely - those that are sensitive and empathetic, who become the artists that we admire, if they can find their voice. I think Akotowaa's message is important in an age where we have the potential to live in part as avatars of ourselves. And, I think we'll hear a lot more from Akotowaa, at least I hope so. Not only is this a great poem, it's also a great song, production and verve and vibe. Ghana is so ripe with the artistry! More to come in these pages.