Spoken-Word Artists Bassey Ikpi and Giles Li Tell It Like It Is
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Both Ikpi and Li have achieved an enviable level of national recognition, but the driving force for writing and performing spoken word has always been to express their views and develop community. They hope that young people today will gravitate toward spoken word for similar reasons, in spite of the allure of potential commercial success.
“I feel like it’s a little more difficult now than when I was a teenager,” Li says. “Everything is so corporatized and everything is so official. People think that the only end to [spoken word] is getting to TV or commercials. That’s not why any of us started.”
“There was no that when we started,” Ikpi adds. “I think that Brave New Voices and Young Chicago Authors, places like that, they really encourage the craft and the art and finding ways to make the open mics, which people love, and say ‘That’s a huge part of it, but let’s take it back a couple of steps to the writing, and we can use the writing to move the performance forward.’”
For more information on Bassey Ikpi, visit www.basseyworld.com, or look up her many videos on Youtube from Def Poetry Jam. For more information on Giles Li, visit www.gilesli.com, which includes his very funny blog, where he writes about everything from his love for Prince to what annoys him.
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