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African societies have placed great
worth on the oral tradition because
it is the receptor and conveyor of
feelings, history and culture. The
oral tradition generated memory
that has passed from generation to
generation. In Trinidad, the enslaved
Africans who resided here passed
on this tradition which we embrace
in calypso, speech bands of Tobago,
the pierrot grenade, the midnight
robber. For the younger generation,
however, spoken word is the mode
of expression to discuss issues that
This evening, spoken word takes
the spotlight at the Kwame Ture
Memorial Lecture Series at the
National Library, Port-of-Spain. List-
ed to perform are Kern Solomon,
Jabari Lynch and Akil Warner.
Orators and poets will present
under the theme Youths Speak Out:
Stand Up for Justice. Pieces will be
centred around the issues and chal-
lenges young people face within the
context of the International Decade
for People of African Descent and
the ongoing Caribbean struggle for
Members of the Circle of Poets will
offer their points of views in rhyme
and prose. The Circle of Poets is a
non-profit organisation dedicated to
promoting national awareness and
appreciation for poetry as an art form
by encouraging people to develop
their talent and writing skills.
Solomon has been composing
songs and writing poetry since his
childhood. He said: "At an early age
I developed a love for reading. It was
through reading I was able to enter
a world of words and free myself from
all the madness that surrounded me
at the time. I would often read biog-
raphies of social activists such as
Martin Luther King. Steve Biko, Mal-
colm X and many others, and would
be fascinated by their ability to change
their nebulous situations through the
use of words."
His work is filled with spirituality
and, at the same time, he hopes to
create an analytical generation with
his words. So far he has produced
two CDs---Every Emotion and Expe-
rience. Solomon performs regularly
at open mics and at other poetry
Lynch is a spoken-word poet who
uses his gift to carry Christ-centred
lyrics to the people. He is in his final
year as a History major at the Uni-
versity of the Southern Caribbean.
To him, Africa is a song that he can-
not help but hold dear in his heart.
He walks the earth in hope of pleasing
God and making his ancestors proud.
Warner is a 24-year-old History
graduate from La Puerta, Diego Mar-
tin. He is an avid reader and cites
some of his literary influences as
Albert Camus, Oscar Wilde and
Charles Dickens. He is also a music
aficionado and is particularly fond of
Tupac Shakur and Damien Marley.
He combines his two interests to cre-
ate a work that is lyrical and rhythmic.
His work often examines the issues
that plague the African Diaspora and
proposes solutions to these problems.
He hopes, above all, to discover a
means by which the African Diaspora
can become a global force that is
powerful and influential.
Also performing on Thursday night
is Damian Whiskey, who will be in
his alter persona, the Midnight Rob-
ber. He has been portraying this tra-
ditional mas character since 1989
from the age of ten. Mentored by the
late Andrew "Puggy" Joseph and
Brian Honore, over the last two
decades Whiskey has performed for
the presidents and prime ministers
of T&T, as well as kings and queens,
foreign leaders and ambassadors alike.
As the youngest veteran in the busi-
ness he hopes to spread and encour-
age the growth and resurgence of the
traditional mas characters.
Youths Speak Out: Stand Up for
Justice is part of the Emancipation
Support Committee of T&T s obser-
vance of Emancipation 2015. The ses-
sion starts at 7 pm at Nalis and
admission is free.
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