Salutations, its The Sandwich King better known as Uncle Blak with yet another installment of the constantly evolving Yukon Magazine. Were it’s all about highlighting folks on top of their game here at the Okay Speakeasy. Now let me explain, I saw something on one of the other boards a while back and they were pitching some ideas so far as name changes during the board updates. I saw the name “Speakeasy” used to describe the name of this place and I thought it was dope. I mean…this place caters and suites more of the poetic types than your average rap cat anyway. Maybe that was just an early millennium thing; the idea of posting raps on the internet, y’know. To call this place The Freestyle Board seems a bit misleading in my opinion. Aight, so that’s my soapbox…back to the matter at hand. This month we shine the spotlight possibly on the youngest (definitely the youngest to get a YM) but also one of the sharpest writers on the board. Not only does her talent belie her age but also her sense of humor. She has that dead-pan sarcasm usually reserved for older, more cynical folks. *shrugs* I speak of SoulChild who’s been supporting this mag for awhile too, see girl…I’ve noticed that and I thank’ya. Let’s see what she has to say.
YM. So how did you get started here at okayplayer?
Music is my first love. And sometime between my teenybopper stage and the brooding adolescence, I developed a thing for hiphop. With this in mind, my older sister turned me on to okayplayer. I joined on Christmas of ‘03 but I lurked for a month or two before feeling reckless enough to post something of my own. The writings on this board were well above my musings at the time. When I finally posted something, I got 6 replies. For all of which, I was more excited than I’m normally willing to admit. And so, I stuck around.
YM. They refer to my generation as “Generation X”, all them folks creeping to or already in there 30’s. How do you feel about you’re generation being called 'The Hip-Hop Generation'? To what degree does Hip-Hop play in your life and in youth writing?
I borrowed "The Score" from my sister because I dug everybody’s favorite ballad on track 8. It was late at night, in the privacy of my headphones, when I did exactly what my momma told me not to: listened to the rest of what the Fugees had to say. And between “Ready or Not” and “Manifest”, I first felt hiphop. Stylistically, I appreciate hip hop; the beats, the flows, the swagger. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to notice what this music lacks. Direction. Soul was the soundtrack of the civil rights era, jazz vocalized the anti-lynching movement, and Negro spirituals ushered blacks from slavery. Hip hop, as a whole, lacks a unified purpose. When creators do try to use their music for social betterment, it’s not adequately nurtured by African American leaders, nor the older generations who precociously deemed hip hop worthless. Not seeing this music as the political vehicle it could be, it’s become vulnerable to a hijack into mainstream “bling-bling-ism” which has promoted plenty of bullshit. The “hip-hop generation” needs to be propelled toward a cause. Hip-hop should unite us in something other than a national obsession with a certain type of shoe. It’s music. Music that I love. But as Mistuh Al Sharpton put it, “The hip hop culture is just like electricity. It can be used negatively or positively. The same electric current that lights up your house can also electrocute you.”
(blak – so, I didn’t answer how hiphop touches my life and youth writing, but I said what I wanted to say, and I figure that I rambled on enough…)
YM. As a younger person on the boards do the other writers here at all intimate you? What is your relationship to them? Who are some writers that have influenced your work if at all?
Well…the intimidation was a thing of the beginning. When I first came I was 15 and in awe. It was really those honest bitches. The ones who meant to tell me exactly what they thought. They made me nervous every time I bared a piece. I was both terrified and hungry for what they were gonna say. By now, I love the honesty more than anything. Regardless of the fact that I’m a “younger person on the boards” I’ve gotten close with plenty’a cats. There are writers who I greatly respect here, and some who’ve taken the time to work with me on my own pieces, like foneticuss, otto, rgv, decstar, ratpackslim, and others I don’t mean to forget. I spend a lot of time reading. Toni Morrison, Yusef Komunyakaa, Charles Bukowski, Rita Dove, Patricia Smith, Regie Gibson, among others, have all influenced my work.
YM. Often, people talk about "coming into their own" do you feel like you've done that?
Not yet. Of course I’ve grown, I’m not the same writer I was 3 years ago. But if I had to admit that I’ve “come into my own” now, I’d be disappointed. I have so much to read, to see, to learn. I’m still frustrated and dissatisfied. And writers, they are ever-evolving things. Words are never stagnant. So, I plan to keep growing as they do. Dying, as they do. Resurrecting, as they do. I don’t intend on ever “coming into my own”. But I do intend on writing through. Just keep writing through.
YM. A lot of writers have reoccurring themes behind their work…yours, we've noticed, race and gender. Can you elaborate on your experiences, and how it relates to your writing?
Race is a part of my home. In my house, it’s like a scent. Muzak that you’ve grown so used to, you have to be reminded that it’s there. My mother is black, my father is white, and my brother, sister, and I are somewhere in between. My interest in race is pretty much swimming in my blood. Gender? Well, because I don’t think much about the patterns of my writing, I wasn’t aware that it was a reoccurring theme. But, as I think about it, I’ve written quite a bit about women, and what it means to be girl. And I wouldn’t say that that should be surprising. I’m just writing from where I am, with these breasts, and these fallopian tubes.
YM. Don’t have to tell you love is a hot topic in poetry. Ageless, timeless talk to me about love.
I don’t typically write about love (at least not in first person) for two reasons:
1) I don’t do sappiness. None of that “Nubian cocoa bean king-be the butter on my cornbread-let us bumpeth and/or grindeth the night away!” kind of stuff. Therefore, if I do write a love poem, it must be original, and I guess the inspiration hasn't hit… 2) Secondly, and more importantly, I have yet to fall in love.
YM. Your avatars...Angie Davis, Erykah Badu…How do you relate to these figures? Do they hold a special place for you?
Well, my mother is a strong black woman. She is also the first being I loveed when I came into this world. And for my love of black women, that is the only good explanation I have. Maybe it’s just the time of life, but I am drawn to them, and one day hope to be one of them.
Plus, anyway, I dig angie’s afro…
YM. I believe your government alias is Phyllis, right? How does she intend to make her mark?
I figure I’ll always write. I’ll always sing. Those things are as natural as limbs. Maybe I’ll write a book one day that best sells. Maybe I’ll only sing to my shower curtain and a few bottles of shampoo. Maybe I’ll fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. Maybe I’ll move to Africa and read books on the top of hills. I plan to always have passion. And how I make my mark? I suppose we’ll find out.
YM. Word associations time…a little twist from my usual last question concerning last thoughts. Ya’ready!?…
OkayPlayer - the hermit’s wonderland
Poetry - immortal
God - love
Purpose - antistrophe
Rgv - who?
Yukon Magzine - lies
I’d like to thank blak for this interview, and all of y’all for this soil in which we have the God-given burden to grow.
The flag is near...
once i figure out how to keep a sig and not have all chopped up whenever i respond to a post.
9. "RE: YUKON MAGAZINE.XIII" In response to Reply # 0
Entertaining and informative, as always. Much respect to Yukon.
Nice to make your aquaintence, Soulchild! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "When we're writing, I'm not sure that we think of the reader. It's more that we pray not to lie, to get it right, so that if we're writing about a tree, we get that tree and not a petrified log..."
17. "that's some indepth shit" In response to Reply # 0
keep it coming i love what was stated ... damn i feel lucky to be amoung some intelligent people on this board...
i think it takes talent to be here.. .love respect.. all that good stuff.... keeping growing ...
~~~~~~~~ luv R. https://www.facebook.com/robyn.wildchild12 psycho. "Institutions encourage us to consider the opinions they sell as "facts" and that we "believe" rather than question the morality they pitch." cities need fewer shopping malls and more skat
I’ve always been more impressed with great imagery than word play or catchy phrases or rhymes. I always will be. I’m drawn to poetry that is charged with imagery. Images are moving. They do not beg to move you. They do not strain to wring emotion from you. They just are. I generally remember the images from books. I might remember a great choice of words or at times, exactly what a character says, but the images are what I keep with me. My imagery can stand to get thicker.
I’ve thought and written much for my brother, mostly because his destruction is more apparent than others, and easier to recognize/mourn over. I’ve written for my mother. I’ve written for those I’ve passed by in school or whom I remember from my childhood. They’re often cats that I saw/see as especially victimized. I don’t think I have one muse in particular, though. Not yet.
hard question. I generally like "chill" music when i write but it varies. i like working to jazz: coltrane, miles davis, billie holiday, sarah vaughn, pat matheny, etc. When i'm writing, sometimes i get stuck on a song. I'll listen to it over and over for days or for as long as that piece takes to write. Just the other day, i wrote an entire piece to green eyes by erykah badu. The day before that, nightengale by norah jones. before that push up ya lighter by the roots. i thought about listing artists or songs but that list starting getting much too long.