Ahead of her debut Spoken Word/Poetry EP, i quizzed Poetra Ama Asantewaa about the EP, Feminism and Ghana’s growing poetry scene.
Can you describe who Poetra is? Tell me and your fans how you became a poet?
I’m not clear on the things to be done before one can call herself a poet, except from the act of writing. I have been writing for several years now. But I became a performance poet 5 years ago when a friend invited me to a monthly poetry show to perform one of my poems.
How will you judge the Ghanaian poetry scene today?
The poetry scene today is vibrant and bursting with poets from different backgrounds and with different styles. When I started performing 5 years ago the poetry circle was so small I knew every poet by name. The burst of growth is great and the talent is amazing.
You will be releasing your debut EP. What motivated you and what are fans to expect?
I started performing poetry because I was prompted. I’ve always been a shy seemingly timid geeky girl; I never thought I would be on stage performing for fun, much less, as an art in itself. It’s great when you can create art, but it’s even greater when you can share art created and have people relate to it, appreciate it or understand it. So, after 5 years of being on the stage, I’m ready to show something for it.
Interesting the title of your EP. It’s bold and creative. Why a title like Motherfuckitude?
Motherfuckitude is a work of art that expresses overriding my limitations, insecurities, jealousies and ineptitude, to create well. It is the result of coming from a place of struggle and emotional imbalance, to weaving great art from a tattered experience.
Tell me about your album- themes, style and number of tracks, any features?
It’s a spoken word project so it’s mainly poetry on afro beats. It’s a fusion of poetry and a little bit of singing. There are 6 tracks on the EP and there will be no features.
Some describe your poems as highly sexualized and uncomfortable to read/listen. Is it a deliberate style or an inspiration?
Highly sexualized? (-_- side eye)
Uncomfortable, yes I’ve been told. Well, I aim to speak the truth, and if the truth makes anybody uncomfortable, the more reason it should be told. So I guess it would fall more in the lines of inspiration.
You’ve been performing for five years now, what delayed the release of your major project like this?
Honestly my growth process in the art was slow. For the longest time I didn’t think I qualified as a real artist. I just felt like an ordinary girl writing poetry. So it was a matter of not being ready.
Do you write poems to educate or highlight a societal ill?
I write poems as a way of communicating. Just as someone would talk, I write. And my writing encompasses everything. Some days I’m a social commentator, some days I’m my mother’s daughter and some days I’m a girl whose heart has been broken by country and people.
In honest terms are poets doing enough to push the artform?
We’re doing some, but there’s a huge ass room for improvement. We can do so much more with our art.
As a lady with many caps on your head, how do you juggle between your arts and lady roles?
I view each of my interests as my babies. Sometimes one of them will starve, but I cannot let any of them die off. And that has been my motivation from the start.
Is the Ghanaian society a hypocritical one as far as issues of sex and female sexuality are concerned?
Yes it is a heavily hypocritical society. We vouch for women to control their bodies and their sexuality and then crucify them when they actually do.
Is the new wave of feminism here to stay or a new movement which will fade with time?
Feminism has always been here. Studying the lives of my grandmother and my mother clearly tells me that they are feminists. The difference is that now it is being identified as feminism and it has a bigger following. So it is a continuum.
MOTHERFUCKITUDE is set for release in October, 2015.