Sami Rhymes on the power of poetry and her latest EP ‘Triple Threat’
What were the main themes explored in your debut poetry collection 20 Something?
There are 7 sections in the collection. In addition to introducing myself as an author and looking at some of the key milestones reached as a ’20 Something’ the book explores what it was like for me as I found faith, identity, challenging relationships, mental health awareness, responsibilities and aging.
How does it feel to share your poetry with an audience?
It takes courage to speak your truth. My favourite audience to share poetry to is an audience filled with people who may not have heard of me. It’s empowering knowing my words inspire and move people who do not know me personally. Though vulnerable at times, if I’m performing a poem or publishing it then it means I was ready to go there and share. Once shared, I feel free.
Can you tell us more about your EP Triple Threat and why this is an important piece of work to share?
Triple Threat looks at the three most outwardly obvious faces of my identity and the challenges being a Black, Female, Muslim comes with. We live in a patriarchal society, Islamophobia is a global phenomenon and as Blacks we experience a lot of racism. I’m proud of each face. I chose my religion but was born a black female. I wanted not only to raise awareness about the black, female muslim experience but also to uplift those who can relate to it. I often get thanked after I perform poem’s from the EP or receive DM’s from people streaming saying these poems are needed. I’m glad it’s helped people.
What power do you think poetry holds?
For me, it’s the most thought-provoking art form. Poets have the ability to turn mess into a message and communicate truths in a captivating way. We entertain, educate, inspire, empower and so much more.
How did you develop your style / flow?
I’m an auditory learner and I’ve been a lover of rhythm and rhyme since I was a young girl. The flow is natural and varies from poem to poem but I’m yet to do a performance where someone hasn’t commented on my flow/cadence. I think both reciting the Quran and my love for music growing up aided in the development of this flow.
Is there a specific environment or topic(s) that’s integral to your work?
I do not want to put myself in a box and say my poetry will only focus on a selection of topics but the themes explored in my debut collection are themes I will revisit time and time again. I will continue to talk about lived experiences be it my own or those around me. Authenticity is integral.
Do you have any visions/goals/personal accomplishments/ projections for the future?
As a freelancer who offers multiple services I often ask myself am I going for this opportunity because of passion or the paycheck? Poetry doesn’t always pay and when it does that money gets reinvested straight back into poetry. It started off as a hobby in school then it became a release and now it has become work yet I’m still not in a position where I can say I do this full-time. I’ve achieved some great stuff to date but know there is so much more to do. I have a small international following and my words have created an impact so I feel like I have a duty to release projects which I can leave behind as part of my legacy. I want to always be around creativity, community and be involved in projects that bring about change. I don’t just want to create another open mic night. I want to be a pioneer.