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Sunday, October 31, 2010


Yesterday I had the awesome Privilege Honor and Pleasure to converse with Amde Hamilton of The Watts Prophets, along with Chenyelu Bomani. It was awesomeness in my life not just as a poet but as a woman. I have often said that as Poets it is incumbent upon us to look back and remember honor reflect revisit and understand those that came before us. I am not saying that we should all become scholars of the past I am simply noting that the best way to move forward is to know where you have come from. If we as a people of poets have no idea the roads we have traveled how can we prevent traveling those roads again?

When you take a road trip you plot and plan your course so that you dont travel the same roads unnecessarily. You want to get to where you are going so you are careful with that map to follow the course plotted out. Not vearing off the path. I say the same thing should apply to our craft. Why should we continue to flap in the wind with no direction and no plotted course. We just continue to flail in the wind blowing which ever way the wind blows.

"If you dont stand for SOMETHING you will fall for ANYTHING". A quote I am sure you have heard your entire life. All I can say is that its absolutely truth. Lets take the young woman Jasmine Mans. She took a stand for what she believes in. Not in an effort to bash degrade or denigrate anyone but to say People are watching mindful what you show them. Did anyone stop for a minute to think about exactly what this young woman said? Those of us that see what she sees, yes we listened and understood her message. Others didnt. Either way she has stood her ground and defended her voice. She has used poetry to say something that needed to be spoken on. She in one piece has led by example. We are supposed to hold our entertainers accountable just like our followers should hold us accountable for the words we say and our actions.

So many of us only want to hold the title along with the semi perks of being called or labeled a Poet. We seek out these psuedo celebrity identities by saying we are poets when I believe words have power and one is responsible for the words they put out into the universe {Hence the Nikki Minaj piece by Ms Mans}. When we put words into the universe that are empty unfulfilling and death {spiritual and physical} those words manifest their intent. But when we speak about things that will encourage nuture and plant seeds... life will manifest.

It is our responsibility as Poets to do more than just entertain. We are to affect and touch our community, not just entertain them. We must be what our title proclaims. We are messengers not just people that can put words together that rhyme. We have to be saying something to be worth our weight in ink. Gil Scott Heron said it in his piece Message To The Messengers "They had to get out there and get busy cause it wasn't gonna be televised/ We got respect for you rappers and the way they be free-weighin'/ But if you're gon' be teachin' folks things, make sure you know what you're sayin'
Older folks in our neighborhood got plenty of know-how/ Remember if it wasn't for them, you wouldn't be out here now" We have to keep in mind that our words are more than mere black and white stains and markings. They are more than just vain repetitions. Actions are the manifestation of our words.

The Bible says "In the beginning was the WORD and the WORD was with GOD and was GOD". This scripture from John 14 verse 1 shows us how important the word is. We have to understand that we are accountable for the words we speak into the universe. If you dont believe that words have power here is another quote " And God said..." It was his words that brought forth life energy and creation simply from the word that was spoken.

We are the givers of the word as poets. We are not just entertainers we are prophets and messangers that are called and destined to speak truth for those that are either blinded or hiding in the matrix of ignorance. Not to say that we cant entertain as well but we should be teaching, but most importantly we should be mindful of what we are feeding others.

Mr. Bomani said and I Quote " As a poet you are a messenger. I dont care how you look at it you are a messenger. What you need to examine is what type of message are you bringing? What is it that you are really trying to instill? Words Live Forever" This statement should if nothing else make you sit back and examine your poetry and life, and the words that you place into the universe.

We sat and talked to Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Bomani last night listening to a wealth of their information not just on poetry but also on life. We, and I say we for those of us that were in attendance and touched by these two phenomenal men, experienced something so great in those three hours of Blogtalkradio last night. The ability to say Thank You to those that laid the foundation for what we take for granted everyday was an honor of unspeakable joy.

Mr. Hamilton said and I Quote "We wasnt parrots and always agreed with each other, but we always supported each other in other words I may not totally agree with whats said in a poem by one of The Watts Prophets nor may he totally agreed with what I said in one of my poems but he would support my right to say it in the way i want to say it and help me to say it as powerfully as I could. We allowed everybody to be their own self."

When I asked Mr. Hamilton what he would say to the poetic community he said "Use their creativity for our survival. An artist is a one man army."

This was truly a night of amazing enlightenment. Two weeks ago I became a poet. Last night I garnered true understand of what a poet is. So I say Thank you to Amde Hamilton and Chenyelu Bomani for bringing so much knowledge to us last night. I also Thank the poets, authors, playwrights, musicians, singers etc that have made it possible for me to be who I am and what I do. I Love you All.



  1. I love this post Toye! I haven't known you long or known you well, but from what i've seen you have done some growing over these last few months both personally and artistically! Continue to grow and stay true to you. You are a force Lady! Much love and respect!

  2. Thank you Paradyme...Much love peace and blessings to you