Tshombe Sekou Interviews with OPWR: Spoken Word Saturdays

Date: 17 Jan 2015
Interviewer: Ms Creoleness aka Adrina Smith, New Orleans
Subject: Tshombe Sekou, Japan

Q1: What is the strategy behind Tshombeism?

A: If what you mean by strategy is purpose, let me first specify that the “ism” has little to do with some form of ideology or iconology, but more to do with a principle of defining self and sharing myself with others who are like-minded; the concept of the ism portion of the idea was conceptualized by a good and dear friend of mine who goes by the name of Seaniemo (a radio DJ out of D.C.) who has been studying a lot of my works from long ago, once he made the statement “there goes another one of those tshombeisms…” and like that it stuck! But if we are to use your word “strategy,” it would be simple: discovery.

Q2: When I say Tshomebe Sekou, His work, His words, His way. What does that mean?

A: I suppose that it means that you have discovered something within my works, actions, and most of all character as a person that identifies a poet; a philosopher, an activist, a human being worthy of examination. To me, it means exhibition, and that’s what it means to be an artist—to be in exhibition why else would one choose such an exposing practice if not to be inspected and shared?!

…and to speak a bit about the exhibition of our own art, the allowance of inspection and inquiry is something we must not fear…to examine art is to appreciate it; to inspire it, and to become greater in it. In my work I had to become transparent and welcome without fear the scrutiny of perspective, learn to not fear opinion and not to hold on to the sensitivities of creativity.

So when you ask what this statement means to me, I suppose it means to be fearless and welcoming.

Q3: When you are in the studio, what do you want the listeners to capture from it?

A: Well I believe that when we are writing poems, it itself is a dimension of our creativity of its own, when we have decided to lend our voices to that work we are giving it a new dimension of existence; it’s like taking a 2D image and making it multi dimensional not just in the 3rd Dimension. When we begin to voice our work, we are giving it life, spirit if you will, and we are commissioning ourselves to intercourse with other sense beyond the ocular perception…some may have called it a full body experience, or whole sensing…see, when you read a poem you get to develop your own voice and sense of perception to understand the process or to relate, but when an artist begins to aid you in that by sharing with you there own intentions, the experience deepens…and to me that’s what the intent of transforming my work into an oratory medium. This is what I want you to feel!

Q4: How have your roots from New Orleans influence your writing?

A: Well, New Orleans provides a foundation of ancestry, culture, and identity; yet that is only a microcosm of it; New Orleans while it is my birthplace, is just that a place and the world is filled with places to limit ourselves to identifying with just one—a river passes through many places before it reaches a destination, and in those travels it picks up many things along the way contributing to its passing along, but once it reaches its destination it matters little of where it originated, but more on what it brought with it—our lives are like a river, we can focus on one place and miss all the places we have passed without realizing what we are carrying with us to the end of our journey. New Orleans is a code in my life stream, a place for me to always call home, a place for me to identify as the source of my origin, but it is not where I am going.

Q5: I want you to talk to the people about the Alien track especially with you serving overseas.

A: Oh yes, Alien—this poem was born out of a sense of observed frustration ( I do that a lot, observe my actions and interactions with things), while I was sitting at an open mic called “spit that” in DC last year I was recalling my engagement with a border agent while processing through custom into the U.S.—this track is an exposition of what it means to be an American today, where we live under the concepts of bravery, freedom, and independence, but we live in fear and distrust; where color still defines placement and treatment—where the sounds of our names strikes the heart with terror, we have begun to fear even ourselves—so while this may be an enjoyable piece to listen to, it is at the same time a dirge for who we are not and pretend to be.

Q6: Talk to me about Mickey Williams and how those collaborations came about…

A: Oh yes, Mikki is one of the few artist I have had the pleasure of working with—I’m a bit selective in that regard because I need to be able to feel and understand the artist I collaborate with—and with Mikki there is a resonance that spoke with me; there are others such as Tantra Zawadi, Mahogany Diva, Epiphany Castro, and fellow poets from the Poetic Voices writers crew…but, back to your question—Mikki and I had been sharing poetry and ideas back from when she hosted a show here on blogtalk radio and had invited me on as a guest and out of that was born a friendship and kinship in art and spirit and from that was born the opportunity to work together on a small project called “Formulation”—the project just came together out of random creativity with intention—an oxymoron I know, but somehow it makes sense to me—us. Thank you for asking about that, and I am sure Mikki is appreciative as well.

Q7: Tell everyone about your evolution as an Independent Artist. Past present and Future…

A: Well, that’s a rather lengthy journey, but I think I can bring it together in a few short points: The independence in artistry is about the freedom of reliance, boundary~less creativity, freedom of release, and charitableness of art…I found myself in poetry searching for a means of freedom from matriculation and perceptions; from presuppositions and subjection, that to me being independent in the ability to create was purpose. This meant that I had to learn every aspect of creating and delivery what you receive today—I didn’t start a poet, I started with the expressions of anger and bias rhetoric—and one day someone called it a poem, and from that point begin my discovery of being creative and the process continued to magnify from there and I believe that it will continue to evolve as long as I don’t fear the process: I don’t fear perceptions, acceptation, genres and classification, I don’t fear the truth of who I am.

Q8: How have fatherhood changed you?

A: That’s a well placed question, it has given me more patience to see what I am looking at rather than looking at what I am seeing—in a lot of way being a father creates a deepening in my creativity because now for the first time in my life I have an active—living—interactive mirror before me—who will undoubtedly someday inspect the works I am presenting now. Fatherhood has increased me.

Q9: Tell the people something about Tshombe Sekou?

A: Sometimes I love having the gift of being a poet, but I dislike being a poet sometimes because the responsibility feels burdensome at times—once you become fully engaged as a poet, you begin to examine things for more than what they are, you begin to see almost compulsively a cup of tea as a part of both the ocean and the land coalescing in one body and somehow feel compelled to share and rather convince others of how wonderful such a discovery is—even at the risk of being perceived as abnormal. But I don’t really consider myself a poet, that’s for you to perceive and define; I find myself more an examiner and even a seeker of many things and whatever it is I discover is what I begin to share with you…I have mentioned in the past—probably in some other interview or form of disquisition that you can tell a tree by its fruits, and a fruit will reveal a tree through its seed; well I believe the same is true of an artist, so what you find when you examine my works and words is me…

Thank you for your questions…
Tshombe Sekou

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