Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Attorney Street Press Interview: Part 2

The beautiful Janine Simon did an interview with me for Attorney Street and I loved her questions so much I wanted to throw some extra questions up too. Peep this question featured on the Attorney Street site along with these exclusive questions for mine!
Attorney Street Press: Nikki NTU

AS: Are you Haitian? As I can see you and your work is influenced by the Haitian voodou spirit of Ezili Dantò. The first track is an ode to her and you have a tattoo of her veve (sacred symbol) on your chest.

No, I am not Haitian. But I would say that I have a deep connection to “circles”, chanting, and mysticism. I got the tattoo a full year before I even knew who Ezili was. I researched Mary, Mother of Jesus and came across the famous image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I thought the symbolism was so “me” that I got the piece shortly after. A year later, I was on the phone with my boy (MEGA) and he told me I had a bluish light about me, that reminded him of his mom whom voodou priestesses said, had an aura of Ezili. I quickly researched Ezili and up pops her symbol; my tat. It was a chilling sign.

Part 2

AS: Your EP artfully executes your history of dreams, now, what is the future of your dreams?

The future would be performing, traveling, activism and organizing, and doing the album process all over again. We’ve been done with the EP for a while and my heart and mind has slightly wondered off into the next sound. But for now, I’d like to stay in the present for a moment and enjoy it.

AS: Decorated author Edwidge Danticat has stated that writing for her is a ritual of sorts. When she writes she lights candles and she writes best at night when she feels the spirits of her characters roam freely. With that being said, what are some of your writing rituals?

My writing tendencies are pretty sporadic. I’d say I need a clear space to silence my thoughts enough to write them down. And since I’m all over the place in the house I find myself sitting outside more and writing on nice days. Nature is a real help, the breeze swirling around as you try to grab an idea out of the sky, the stillness… are all conducive to my process. At night though, I like to leave my book by me. At times I’d wake up in the middle of the night with no real understanding of what I’m doing and write things I have no knowledge of. It became such a routine I’d write in my head and wake up with a whole text to research and write about.

AS: Are you often caught gazing at the Moon? (Most women I know are, lol)

I’d say the moon captivates me, but I had a habit of starring at the sun for a while. The sun amazes me. I can’t believe that I can feel the direct affects of something so far away… like hands reaching out to me. The moon is beautiful the way it illuminates in the dark, round, and dew like, but I know where the light comes from.

AS: Looking back on the young girl that you once were. What words would you have for her?

“Worry less!” I always worried about the future and in the end the worrying wasn’t what got me closer to my goals. In fact it could have jeopardized some of them. Dealing with stress when you are SO passionate about things is a constant lesson.

AS: Also, Looking forward to the woman you will become in the distant future, what words would you extend to her?

“Don’t work too hard!” Ha! Just wanna say that to myself now ‘cause I’m bound to forget it later.

AS: If you were able to be apart of any past era, generation or movement what would it be? (Ex: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights etc.)

I’d have to say I would have liked to be a part of the abolitionists, pre-emancipation. Tubman was a baaaaad bitch! The famous story of her putting the shot gun to anyone who wanted to go back…man! She was that down!

AS: In knowing that with the power of words your voice can be used as a weapon, what weapon would you use to represent your voice?

I think a fist would represent my voice the best. Not as in, “fight the power” but because sometimes I get so mad I wanna punch somebody in the face, lol!

AS: How does love affect your life and work? Self-love, love of family and friends etc. How does this phenomenon paint the melodies of your music?

It’s a huge part of why I make the kind of music I make. I feel like love is a great desire of us all. My music is an outlet for me when my pride and ego get in the way. There I can admit anything because music is an extension of that love.

AS: Just like works of art, children are created and molded but also malleable. And like art, children are not only created for artists to keep but to present to the world. What are your beliefs of the role that arts have on the development of young people?

I feel every child is an artist because of their natural ability to express so freely. When children are given different disciplines by which they can express their feelings they grow and become masters of not only that craft but of themselves. To be equipped with that kind of power and ability is freeing. As a teaching artist I have a deep commitment to assisting young artists in their path towards self-mastery.

AS: What do you learn most from teaching/mentoring/work-shopping young people? What techniques do you find most effective?

I’ve learned that there are many ways to see one thing. They have such fresh eyes. At times they can see things in such a light it makes you see in a completely different way. Even when they are being crass they can make it so plain.

AS: Across the span of your educational experience, what do you think teachers did best? What could they have improved on?

Wow, the greatest teachers I’ve been blessed to learn from have put their personality and passion into their lessons. They weren’t just “teachers”; they showed they were humans by expressing themselves. Kids connect to that. I think teachers who connect with the kids will always have more of a positive affect on them than the teachers who act like it means nothing to them.

visit Attorneyst.com for the full interview and more.
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