Outspoken is an underground emcee and spoken-word artist from Zimbabwe. He is one half of the hip-hop duo Dialectric Blue with rhyme partner Upmost a.k.a my bruthaz keepa. Known as Outspoken Alpha Intellect (pronounced Eye-ntellect) he is an activist in social movements advocating for the empowerment of the masses. He is also the front runner to the band Outspoken and the Essence.
He has shared stages with greats such as Pops Mohammed, Kwani Experiance, Likwid Flo, Tamika Harper (Georgia me), Imani Woomera, Comrade Fatso and Chabvondoka, Cajus, Bianca Williams, Kabomo, and Soul Dada, just to name a few! Outspoken has toured South Africa and the east coast of the United States. 2009 saw him and his band traveling to Swaziland to perform at The Bush Fire Festival and most recently to Durban as the closing act of the Poetry Africa festival finale.
Five Questions with Outspoken:
1. How long have you been writing poetry?
I can say that I started writing when I was still in junior school, but actually started performing poetry professionally in 2003/4.
2. Who are your favorite poets? Which poets have most informed and inspired your work?
To be honest with you, I started writing as a form of protesting the education system that force fed us information that we didn't want to know and even graded and segregated us through that system. My inspiration then spawned from the downtrodden and oppressed, it was and is influenced by the everyday struggle that we have to face, not by beautiful words or good English. If anything, it is a protest against "the norm" and the trendy. I chose not to read and retrace the footsteps of other poets and rather walk my own. If these paths meet, then I have reason to believe that the many different journeys were inspired to one destination. I do however spend time with great poets by the names of Chirikure Chirikure and Julius Chingono, and most of my friends are into creative writing!
3. What do you hope to accomplish with your poetry?
When I started writing I had no agenda, and to date hold no agenda except to ignite discussion or debate upon relevant issues, showing how another point of view exists! I seek for the future and the present to realise that life is not to be dictated by Hollywood blockbusters, magazine pictures and tel-lie-vision programming! If anything it should serve as brain-cleansing to our current state of brainwashing.
4. Do you see hope of the Freedom Train arriving at the station any time soon?
I don't know why we went on board the Freedom Train to begin with, given how it was known to operate in other countries! Looking at how it is running in South Africa at the moment, one sees the truth of the illusion which is their current state of democracy. The problem with train rides is that they are not to flexible when it comes to direction! Either you are coming or going, but you are stuck on the same tracks, forced to submit to the classes that you can afford, economy class being the most over populated and over burdened while also being the constant that keeps the train running since its always guaranteed to be packed. Another very sad reality is that the station hasn't even been built! Looking at our templates for democracy and freedom anywhere and everywhere on this earth. America to Zimbabwe, it is a situation of politicians taking the peoples power and profiteering from it. We are all gagged, it is only a scenario of who is more gagged than the other, our situation is better than most countries because our oppression is so apparent that you are aware of it. Those that live in the McDonald's illusion and coca-killer reality have a lot to learn about what oppression really is.
5. Do you think that poetry and spoken word can help speed the arrival of the Freedom Train? If so, how?
Yes, awareness. Once you are aware you are able to act, in fact you have the choice to act or not, given you situation. It is through your brain registering a sharp pain from your thigh that you can act on the ant that has taken your flesh as its breakfast. First there was the word, now it is on those that choose to act upon it to shape and reshape their existence, not to have a freedom that imposes or infringes upon another, but one that works in a beautiful symbiosis with all attached to it. We all want freedom, but at this point in life we also have to ask this very vital question. "what makes me deserve my freedom?". Let's look outside of the freedom train because lest we forget, it is just a mobile prison until you reach your destination... if you reach your destination.
Outspoken reminds me of one of my all-time favorite poets, Allan Hope (popularly known as Mutabaruka).
The poetry utilizes prosaic elements effectively and its power lies in its relativity to its listeners.
Outspoken touches the phenomenon that exists all over the world, regardless of country: the essence of democracy and freedom.
Two questions that have nagged searching minds are
what is democracy in reality, not in definition?
what is freedom in fact, not in what movies, TV programs and theories tell us?
The truth in Outspoken's poem is that classism manages to determine one's enjoyment of democracy and freedom. It seems that the old problems of our age have transformed themselves into new realities.
Money is king - mentality is the vehicle of existence - status is integral to motions of life - having a mind that thinks is a threat to societies that require everyone to act the same way.
Even in capitalism, we have socialism and vice versa. I feel the frustration of the poet in Freedom Train, as injustice and inhumanity are carried out non-stop in the freedom train.
I love the use of irony to drive home emotion and fact. This is poetry intended to make everyone uncomfortable - this is the poetry of intense truth.
Thanks, Outspoken. Let no one silence that voice.
Incisive and poignant- Outspoken's philosophies bring to the fore elements of modern societies that are often overlooked.
Prince, You couldn't have said it any better and Mutabaruka would surely love to read this poem...... We are still seeing injustices all around us even on the so called freedom train which never gets to its destination but we can only carry of the fight but this time to our own backyard of Africa where our leaders are using democracy to enslave us all by the day.
Only God can help us..............
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