Is it a new diet? Is it a new workout? No, it’s Birdspeed. Never heard of Birdspeed? Neither had I, until I read about this poet winning the “triple slam” of poetry prizes.
Born in the UK but raised in Barbados, Birdspeed, is the adopted performance name of Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa, and means “To Move Real Fast” in Barbadian slang. She is considered by many in the poetry scene (yes, that’s a thing) to be a rising star. Those who know, praise her ability to blend expert storytelling and smart humour, to captivate her audiences with poems that are part social commentary, part author-biographical. Her work covers a wide range of topics, from Caribbean culture to black feminism, and mental health. Birdspeed performs and conducts workshops in places she believes she can empower and inspire marginalised and disadvantaged communities, including prisons and refuges.
This week, Birdspeed completed her hat-trick by winning the BBC Edinburgh Fringe Slam Championship, which joined the accolades of Hammer & Tongue’s UK National Slam Championship and BBC 1 Extra/BBC Asian Network’s Talent Search, which she won earlier this year. Previously, Birdspeed has won the Nuyorican Slam twice, been a New York Slam Champion Finalist and she currently holds the title of 2019 Manhattan Arts Laureate.
Birdspeed is a pioneering feminist, who embodies everything Force Mujer was created to celebrate, so if you need a pick-me-up, check her out!
You can find more of Birdspeed’s work published in Empoword’s Words on Windrush Anthology, and in the Bloom: Flowers and Festivals.