We are Black History: Priscille Bukasa
Black history is especially important because it is so rich and complex… It’s the compelling stories of triumph, over coming, and courage that truly inspire me.
W hen we talk about history (in this case black history), we don’t just talk about honouring our past; we also remember the people that are duplicating or making history as we speak. Whether that be through activism, entrepreneurship or art, these people find ways to inspire us through mind blowing talent and relentless hard work.
Meet Priscille (Priscilla) Bukasa
If you’re into the Spoken Word scene in Calgary, than you’ve definitely seen this Queen light up the stage. She’s not just a creative story teller, but she has a way of using her words to give you goose bumps in places that you didn’t even know you could get goosebumps.
Her versatility and talent has put her at the center of a variety of venues like conferences, churches, universities, and even marketing campaigns spanning the entire province of Alberta. From remarkable soliloquies of love and faith, or an ode or two to the Motherland, Priscille is the complete package when it comes to narrating the strength of a woman. She’s definitely one of a kind and has truly established herself as one of THE Spoken Word artists of Calgary.
How did it all begin?
Writing sort of just happened for me, I never had an aha moment! The first time I wrote a poem was for a literature assignment in junior high. The teacher asked us to write a specific type of poem (maybe a haiku, I can’t recall now) but I didn’t know how to write one, and I found it difficult to do restrict myself to a certain style. After that, the only time I could write was when I was angry about something. It was unfortunate because the art that I was creating at the time was such a thrill, but could only be invoked during a certain emotion. Such a travesty.
The first time I performed was at the University of Calgary for the African Students Association talent show. I used to just casually perform or write with no intentions or awareness of why I was doing it. After going through almost two years without writing, I realized how much it really meant to me and how much I needed to write. I spend countless hours on YouTube watching other artists and reading poetry. Spoken word is so unique because to get on stage, capture the attention of people for a few minutes and be vulnerable is a hefty task. I give all the credit and glory to God! He’s given me this ability, and to show my gratitude I think it’s important that I share it with others.
Have you been inspired by a specific person or people?
My inspiration for writing comes from personal experiences, my background, other artists and most importantly, my faith in God. I can’t say one specific artist has inspired me, I think numerous artists have done so. Some of my favorite poets are: Brook yung, Aja Monet, Joshua Bennett, Jackie Hill Preston, Khalil Gibran etc. Martin Luther king Jr. has also influenced my writing. I remember doing a project on him in the eighth grade, and being completely in awe of his “I have a dream” speech in 1963. I listened to it over and over, and memorized all the lines. I find myself quoting a lot of what he says into my writing.
What advise do you have for people taking on this art form?
My advice for people who want to do spoken word is commit to it, be authentic, and learn the craft. One of my favorite poets by the name of Rainer Maria Rilke wrote:
“Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.
This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity;”
Bit dramatic but he gets the point across. Also, learn the techniques and practice, practice, practice!
What do you want people to take away from your work?
If I perform for a big crowd and one person was moved by the performance, then I’ve done my job. I think poetry is supposed to move you, make you cry, laugh, think, provoke you, inspire you and that’s what I hope my poetry does for people. That’s all I can really ask.
What do you hope to get out of this?
I want to continue doing spoken word for bigger audiences, different platforms for various events… until I run out of things to say!
Finally, you’re clearly making history, but what does Black History mean to you?
I think it’s important for anyone to know their history. Black history is especially important because it is so rich and complex. There are so many trials and tribulations that we have gone through; however, it’s the compelling stories of triumph, over coming, and courage that truly inspire me. Black history plays a significant role not only in my writing, but also my perspective in life.
Check out her poetry for yourself!