Dis Poem literary fest goes virtual

Dis Poem literary fest goes virtual

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, November 22, 2020

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The Dis Poem Wordz and Agro Festival has joined the list of similar events which have had to go the virtual route due to the current global health crisis.

Founder of the festival, poet Ras Takura, noted that this year the organisers have had to shift their traditional plans for the staging of the festival in keeping with the present situation.

“The big thing is that this year we have partnered with the Malcolm X Sol Food and Music Festival held in Omaha, Nebraska, in the US. This is a festival which is so similar to Dis Poem with the seed exchange and it also looks at the agri component of our culture, so we are merging to bring two events to our audience ... it's really two events across three countries and featuring performers from four countries.”

“We will be streaming in Ghana, West Africa as well and the performers will be drawn from Jamaica, the US, Ghana and England,” he shared.

The list of performers includes Jamaicans Mutabaruka, Steppa, N0Maddz, DYCR, DJ Amber, and Wise Wurdz. Among the contingent of performers for the United States is Blaq Ice, Kiyoshi, Jewel Rodgers, Sabreen Jolley Just Ku, Jive Poetic, and Wakanda One. The team from Africa includes Ancestral Poet and Blakk Rasta.

The event, which commences at 5:00 pm here in Jamaica, will be streamed on the Facebook pages of both festivals (Dis Poem and MX Sol Food and Music Festival) as well as on the YouTube page of the North American festival.

“What this pandemic has shown us is that there are so many different ways we can present the festivals. By going virtual we have the potential to reach a much wider audience than we could with a physical manifestation. We will be available to so much more people in many more countries. While we would prefer to be out there we still give thanks that we can utilise this platform to make our voices heard,” said Ras Takura.

He added that one of the features of both festivals is the seed exchange among farmers. Due to the virtual nature of the presentation this will not be possible this year, but the organisers have something up there sleeves.

“We will not be able to do a physical exchange of seeds, and that is always a special feature of the literary festival. But our farmers and agriculture lovers will not be left out. We will be having a special lecture presentation by Dr Paul Ivey, who is the former head of the College of Agricullture, [Science & Education] in Portland. He will be looking at the importance of saving traditional seeds, and heirloom seed exchange for crop sustainability.”

There will also be a presentation by Dr Nikitah Imani on the Malcolm X legacy and Pan Africanism.


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