Titilope Sonuga needs no introduction. She is the critically acclaimed spoken word artist and playwright whose words are celebrated for their message of humanity. This year, the artist scored a major first with the Doyenne Circle production ‘Ada the Country’. The stage musical which centres on the grief of a mother was well received and adjudged one of the most entertaining shows of the New Year. For Sonuga, it was a wild feeling having people respond to the story like that. In a chat with The Interview, she talks about how she handles the accolades and her belief that the spoken word scene will be explosive very soon.
You once said in an interview that Spoken Word artists would dominate the arts scene very soon, has that prophecy come to pass?
It’s coming to pass. There is a wave of brilliant poets in the country, young and old who are pushing the envelope.
I aspire to write a play but there is an energy of this place that compels you to try and create other ways of telling these narratives. There is a million of me coming. I’m confident that they will change the poetry landscape.
The last decade saw a lot of discussions centered on women, do you think that trend will still continue in this new decade?
As far as I’m concerned, it will continue. With so many years of centering the narrative on men and what is important to them, we can bear with a few years of hearing a lot about women.
In many ways we haven’t been doing that before and women pay with their lives. So I think in a way, selfishness is allowed.
Are you sometimes overwhelmed by accolades from fans of your work?
It’s a very strange thing. It’s beautiful and wonderful. To me, it’s an honour and privilege. I think for all creatives, when the praise is much, you struggle to believe it.
I hear it all and the next day I’m wondering if tomorrow I can still write.
What are the positive messages in ‘Ada the Country’?
I do not want to focus on messages positive or otherwise. I want people to feel what they feel. That is what art is supposed to do; to illuminate, based on where a person is in their own lives.
Does the feedback you get in any way influence your next project?
I have to create new work in isolation from the last so that I am not influenced too deeply by good or bad feedback. That kind of push and pull is not sustainable for the kind of life that I want to live.