Shareefa Energy is Unsigned Hype Spoken Word Poet of the Year 2014 and her Meandou produced Reasoning with Self EP will be launched at D’Gaf in Stratford, London on the 21st of July.
Q. Who is your favourite fictional character and why?
Matilda, the girl with a big energy who makes things happen.
Q. Why do you write?
As an outlet and expression and to file and organise the frantic thoughts in my head. Writing is therapy.
Q. You talk about being the change you want to see yourself. What are you trying to change about your own self now/ or in the near future?
I’m trying to be more reflective, responsible and to take myself seriously. Trying to come from a point of balance than reaction which is easy to fall into when being rightfully upset with the inequalities and subconscious realities some of us recognise in this world.
Q. What are some of your favourite books and what could a new reader take away from them? ‘
Women Who Run With The Wolves’ by Clarissa Pinkola Estes has supported my journey. She tells great tales and explains them in a way it is easy to relate her message to your life. A book to read with respect for the wisdom of the writer. I’ve learnt to study her words and carry her in my bag as an elder sister. My other favourite books are by Frantz Fanon. He delves deep into the psychology of colonised people which can only be appreciated by poets who are everyday sociologists, always analysing and attempting to make sense whilst asking why. ‘Bandit Queen’, based on the life of Phoolan Devi. I have been inspired by the fire in Indian women who stand up for themselves, despite being the outcast in their community.
Q. What is your favourite food?
I would say lasagne which was always my typical answer since school. But as I wonder… my favourite food would have to be my grandmother’s biryani.
Q. What are some of your favourite music albums?
Raw Slice of Reality by Lenea Herew, No Longer At Ease by Nneka. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was always a favourite during my early 20s, full of guidance. I really appreciate the Pearls of Islam, these sisters keep me grounded and humble. Reflections by Eyesis-Star and I‑deal is great too. The Contents Page by El Crisis, an introduction to a big journey. Most of my favourite artists are unsupported to invest in their art and do not have albums yet.
Q. Your EP is spoken word on music. Which poets do you look up to that have released similar projects format wise?
To be honest, this project was a project I hadn’t thought of till Meandou approached me to collaborate and create a production. I only really saw myself as a writer than a vocalist, but I’ve enjoyed recording my art in the studio nonetheless and look forward to sharing it. WriterJones is a great poet based in Portsmouth in the US whose words and flow I admire ever since I was introduced to his work along the journey. We shall be working together insha’Allah in the near future so watch this space.
Q. What will people take away/what do you want them to take away from you EP launch event?
My EP is intended to benefit many people, especially young women. I feel it is my role as a 25 year old woman and elder sister to play my role by sharing my experiences, perspective and thoughts i’ve spent a long time coming to terms with. I want my sisters to know there are women they can reach out to and to also give us justice as women by another female artist based in London to be reminding people women are equally talented. I also feel I am blessed to have a beautiful relationship with my brothers so hope I can use this gift to communicate respectfully a woman’s perspective. I want to remind people a shift in our minds and refusing to give power to fear is possible, whilst reminding myself.
Q. You can time travel to any point in history. Where do you go?
Back to Gujarat in India, before the British colonised us. To be allowed to be a young Indian woman without all this land and identity confusion, without our history being distorted and brushed under the carpet as though our struggle is only economic.
Q. You get to invite any one from history to a dinner party. Which 4 people are at your table?
Phoolan Devi, Fela Kuti, Khadija RA, the Prophet PBUH’s wife who no doubt would inspire me with her wisdom, patience and the mind of a business woman. Malcolm X
Q. What are your favourite guilty pleasures?
Tiramisu, paprika crisps, paprika and cinnamon on everything.
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