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Opening up my mind - Interview with Flow Chyld
Zanele Manhenga,
March 09, 2010

Read Inside / Out with Flow Chyld

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Flow ChyldWhen did you start writing poetry?
I started rapping in high school. But professionally, like performing publicly, two years ago.

What inspires your poetry?
Anything that gets me thinking. I want to write poetry that will make people have a different perspective or make them think deeper, be more open minded, open their eyes. I don't to go on stage and just perform and be seen. I guess I am inspired by the need to connect with people and uplift them and elevate them. Listen

Does poetry have genres?
Actually it does. You have the Shona poets, and those who do intellectual and academic poetry. Then you have people like me, who you call a hip-hop urban poet. So yes it has genres.

What is the response of people in general to hip-hop?
Well, I think there are two responses. You have those people who think that hip-hop is what they see on TV. They turn on the TV and see those rappers with girls in skimpy clothes talking about guns. Which is not the kind of hip-hop that I am in to. There is a whole school of hip-hop that is more conscious, more thoughtful, and more intelligent and that's the hip-hop that I do. Then there are people who say, wow its something different, and especially when it's a girl who is doing hip-hop. They don't necessarily even really listen to you, they are just interested in the fact that it's a woman and she is doing hip-hop and its something different. I think there is a very small percentage that actually get what you are trying to do.

Do you think women are marginalized when it comes to hip-hop?
There are a very few female hip-hop MCs, poets or artists. I don't know if they are marginalized or that women are scared to stand up and go on the Mic, and not just sing. Women feel comfortable singing but when you talk about hip-hop poetry then they get scared

What got you into being a hip-hop artist?
I got into hip-hop because I was looking for something that would open my mind. Through reading about African American history, black history I learnt about hip-hop artists who were very conscious. They call them afro-centric and through that I started listening to conscious hip-hop. Ever since then I have been doing hip-hop. Listen

Would you advise females out there to do hip-hop?
Yes, but they have to know what hip-hop really is. It's not just knowing how to put rhymes together because you can put rhymes together saying something senseless. Don't try to follow the Lil' Kims that you see on TV because that's not really what hip-hop is all about.

Where do you perform?
I stared out at the Book Café - I perform there a lot and also at the Mannenburg. But also at different festivals like BAFA, IFF and all over the place. Even outside Zimbabwe. I've been to Namibia and Lesotho.

Is it worth it to bean artist in Zimbabwe?
If you are doing it for love, yes it's worth it, because sometimes you are not going to get any money or any remuneration from your art. Listen

What do you think is the problem with that?
I think the problem is that it's more of an industry of whom you know. And there are not that many events for artists to perform. Sometimes you find out that some people are left out because they might not know the organizers and the details of the show. Certain people who are well connected get the opportunities. If this industry were based on merit rather than on connection, I think that's one way it could get better.

What do feel is your place is the current environment in the country?
I think it is to be the conscience of the people.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Zimbabwe's best known female poet, recorded, touring, head of a production company, business mogul, arts mogul and taking over the world!

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Audio File

  • Inspiration
    Language: English
    Duration: 27sec
    Date: March 09, 2010
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 426KB

  • Why hip hop
    Language: English
    Duration: 34sec
    Date: March 09, 2010
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 543KB

  • Is it worth it?
    Language: English
    Duration: 23sec
    Date: March 09, 2010
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 360KB

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