Spoken word poetry is a word based performance art that is mostly performed on stage to a live audience. The art form relies heavily on wordplay, intonation, and vocal inflection to evoke desired emotions in its listeners. In Nigeria, the art form is yet to gain acceptance into our wider popular culture.
The absence of widespread support and popular recognition notwithstanding, the art forms has continued to thrive over the years. Against all odds, spoken word has successfully built a strong underground followership of devoted fans in Nigeria. This rise can be traced to the resilience and concerted efforts of the Nigerian spoken word poets. With that said, here are some Nigerian spoken word poets you should know.
WATCH TOP NIGERIAN SPOKEN WORD POETS YOU SHOULD KNOW [Article continues after the cut.]
EFE PAUL AZINO
Efe Paul Azino is a Nigerian writer, performance artist, and poet. The Lagos born creative is regarded as one of Nigeria’s leading performance poets. A graduate of the Lagos State University, he founded the Lagos International Poetry Festival in the year 2015. He is also the director of poetry at the annual Lagos Book and Art Festival.
Titilope Sonuga is an award-winning poet, writer, and performer from Lagos, Nigeria. At the May 2015 inauguration of President Muhamadu Buhari, she performed the poem, “We Are Ready.” And with that, she set the record for being the first poet to perform at a Nigerian Presidential Inauguration. She has a poetry album, Mother Tongue to her credit.
Dike Chukwumerije is a Nigerian spoken word and performance poetry artist, and also an author. He is arguably Nigeria’s most prolific performance poet. Since 2013, he has hosted a live poetry show called the Night of Spoken Word. Dike Chukwumerije has made known his desire to revive spoken word poetry in Nigeria, starting from the FCT.
Wana Udobang is a Nigerian multidisciplinary artist. She is a journalist, a filmmaker and a respected name amongst Nigerian spoken word poets. Her poetry focuses majorly on women’s rights, personal narratives, culture and social justice. Wana Udobang has two poetry albums, Dirty Laundry and In Memory of Forgetting to her credit.
Donna Ogunnaike is a poet, writer, and Energy law expert. She is considered by many to be one of the most compelling voices amongst Nigerian spoken word poets. In 2014, Donna Ogunnaike was selected by ONE.ORG alongside 11 other strong female poets like Maya Angelou and Naomi Shihab Nye for its National Poetry Month, she was the only Nigerian on that list. Her debut poetry album, Water For Roses, was released in the year 2015.