At 13 years old I wrote my first ever poem as a school assignment and tried rapping to it over a hip-hop instrumental I found on YouTube. Yes, as one can image, the bars were weak and it was probably my worst poem till date, but it sparked a flame.
At an age where we become ourselves, peel off the shell to discover what brings us joy, many Nigerian youth develop a love for the arts.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the beginning of many children's creative journey starts just as strangely as mine did. At an age where we become ourselves, peel off the shell to discover what brings us joy, many Nigerian youth develop a love for the arts. This joy begins a search for ways to get better at their craft, whether it be dance, music, or writing. In some households, parental support may not be difficult to obtain, but it is often met with the understanding that it is not a “professional” path to pursue in the future.
The fear of instability, or inability to provide for ones family takes root and cripples much bold creative movement and decision-making. It is a plight I have heard too often about, but when I see young creatives use their passion to remain in their creative element, it brings joy beyond belief. It is ironic, this coming from someone who majored in Accounting. Watching my brother change his major from biomedical engineering to digital media, grow his photography business shooting weddings and also teach teenagers at our old high school has given me a new found respect for the need to never put a box on what success looks like. I am growing to blend my creative passions with my background in business. Continuing to write, perform and illustrate makes me feel heavy enough to challenge systems, yet light enough to be a breath of fresh air to those who need it.
It is not enough to be driven by fear of future regret and "what-ifs"; It is much more purposeful to be driven by a love for a passion.
Africans and Africans in the diaspora possess a unique power in storytelling. How many stories are untold because young people’s gifts are not nurtured? Creative art is an avenue for those growing in their truths to connect to others and speak on issues affecting them. What does that look like? I can admit, I am a one of the many people still discovering what that entails, but on this journey, it is a privilege to partner with an organization that sees the need to build up a younger generation of creators.
I joined Orisun collective to be a part of something that challenges the status quo by embracing art as not just a side hobby that one grows out of with age, but an integral part of life and purpose. At 15 years old, I can honestly say spoken word poetry changed my life. I have met others who can substitute the word poetry for dance, or music, acting, painting, or writing; they also see how essential it is to pour into the next generation.
It is not enough to be driven by fear of future regret and "what-ifs"; It is much more purposeful to be driven by a love for a passion. Nurturing creative arts in the next generation opens the door for limitless possibilities.