Words and photos by Aaron Lee
Poets Inua Ellams and Theresa Lola hosted an evening of spoken word and hip hop on Saturday night at Waterstones on Tottenham Court Road, as part of Litro Magazine’s Litro Weekender.
Four guest poets – Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Caleb Femi, Dzifa Benson, Charles Obiri-Yeboah – and the hosts, performed two pieces of poetry each, introduced a pair of their favourite hip hop songs, and sparred over whether it’s Nigerians or Ghanaians who cook the best jollof rice.
Poet and director of the forthcoming Mother Tongues series, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, performed her pieces ‘Revision’ and ‘The Unbelievables’.
Caleb Femi performed ‘Jos’ (working title) and ‘In Defence of Giggs’, the latter inspired by negative reactions from some vocal Americans to the grime artist’s appearance on Drake’s playlist, More Life.
Dzifa Benson drew the audience to her with her physical performance of ‘Self-Portrait as a Creature of Numbers’ and her ode to the buttocks ‘Bottom Power’.
Poet and literature student Charles Obiri-Yeboah offered up the vulnerable piece ‘Figures’, and slalomed his way through ‘Dolphins’.
Theresa Lola turned a referential webpage into a heartfelt tale about her grandfather’s fading memory with ‘Wiki: How to Find Things You Lost’. And she sought to cut through the off-putting media persona of rapper DMX with ‘Transcript of DMX’s Session with Therapist’.
Poet and host Inua Ellams gave the audience a tale of an old classmate who mysteriously disappeared (‘Short Shorted 1995’), and the “first” sequel to Eddie Murphy’s Coming to America (‘Coming Back to America’).
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