By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha
Outspoken, a cutting edge spoken word poet, will be collaborating with Bongo Love, a Zimbabwean Afro-coustics band, to take their acts to classrooms and stages across North America. In an interview, Outspoken revealed that the main purpose of the show is to highlight a non-media influenced perspective of Zimbabwe to North American audiences.
Outspoken, a spoken word emcee, combines soul-stirring, politically infused lyrics with an Afrosoul hip-hop sound. He also fuses classical and African instrumentation with hip hop beats to deliver a message of inner reflection and hope, using his poetry and music to challenge the increasing hopelessness in both Zimbabwe and our globalized world.
“It’s been a good experience; it’s a combination of workshops on two levels – creative construction of material and then art used as a media for positive social impact. There are also performances and interviews lined up. I have a few works in the pipeline in New york and Boston where I will be doing some video coverage of my album material and linking up with like-minded artists,” said Outspoken, adding that he will perform solo in Atlanta and New York.
Outspoken who performs regularly across southern Africa and is often featured at poetry festivals in Botswana, and South Africa is the frontman for “Outspoken and the Essence” – a new Zimbabwean band that fuses hip hop, reggae, and soulful African rhythms.
He is also the co-founder of Magamba!, a youth cultural activist network that uses arts and culture in the non-violent struggle for social justice in Zimbabwe.
Outspoken said that collaborating with Bongo Love was aimed at creating a new conversation about the artistic abilities of Zimbabweans on a global stage.
“For me, what the collaboration with Bongo Love represents is the counter thesis of our existence; they speak on the state of being of the people, how we are loving and all the positives, at least that is the prevailing theme that I get from their music. I speak on the social ills that affect the people and in a way show that it’s not all good, but also that the people should not be defined by the state that their nation is in,” he said.
In a metaphysical fashion that is a key characteristic of his work, Outspoken said that SpeakZimLove was a way to demystify the realities that most people use to define themselves.
“We exist in a multi-layered paradigm where each layer might coat us, but it doesn’t define us. Basically that’s what SpeakZimLove is about, plus its a combination of our names – Bongo Love and Outspoken, all from Zim,” he said.