WeBeSpirits.com | Interviews
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Talib Kweli – Rapper/Songwriter

Photo by Dorothy Hong

“Justice is what love looks like in public.”

…Talib Kweli explains at his show at Barts in Barcelona, part of the 2017 Grec festival. The statement being part of a speech made about hip hop and its well-known origins, describing the music as the outlet, the expression, of an economically-deprived community in 1970s Bronx, New York. READ MORE

Nowadays

What will they say to us, in many years to come?
Still busy counting limp bodies, lifeless and numb
Didn’t you try to make a change? Didn’t you understand?
But we were too busy being distracted, iPhones in hand

Online shopping and gaming, online friends and love
Whilst offline people flee wars, pursuing the dove
Allergies rampant in the West, antibiotics the main diet
In other places eating seeds, hungrier and quiet

Politics the best current mini soap-opera
They let us social media-rise but rarely do they offer
Real support or action to bring some kind of justice
Unaware of human rights, for most of us mistrust is

The impossibility exists for many to overcome
Social barriers holding us in, be it penthouse, be it slum
Pre-positioned, pre-judged, pre ‘who am I anyway?’
Far too hard to look within, I’ll just do day by day

They made us think to be enlightened was hippy, alternative
Couldn’t it be normal to think of others, to smile or to give?
Colour, gender, God, age and sexuality
They split us up, and made us think there should be rivalry

Control and fear have become the norm, the benchmark of our age
Too much context to understand, I’ll just opt for rage
Many saw this coming, we were warned, 1984 times
Conspiracy theories become the truth: discuss, argue, mime

Back to basics could be a way. Trust our senses and slow down?
This economic structure one day just might not be around
Reflect, think, feel, aren’t we part of something bigger?
Let’s move towards each other, and away from the trigger

Philissa Williams – Fashion Designer/Chef

“Fashion is an expression. A way to create a mood, lift your spirits, show your creative side, or simply cover up your mood.”

Philissa Williams is the quintessential craftswomen, she thrives when creating with her hands. When she’s not designing and making clothes, she’s cooking and experimenting with food for friends and clients, something she likens to therapy. Born in Guyana and raised in New York and Washington DC, she lived in Japan for two years before settling in Barcelona, Spain.

Since then her fashion and food reputation has been growing steadily; in November 2016 she put together her debut fashion show in Barcelona, and this July will be participating in Barcelona African Fashion Week.

I caught up with her recently to find out more about her passions and what life is like for an African-American fashion designer living in Barcelona.

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Mtume Gant – explains his new film ‘White Face’

We Be Spirits once again had the pleasure to talk for a second time in two years to critically-acclaimed Mtume Gant, to find out about his latest short film White Face. After the continuing success of his first short film Spit from 2015, which touched on such topics as race, art and late-stage capitalism, Mtume has outdone himself again having written, directed and played the lead role in White Face. By dealing with issues of race and identity in this, his second short film, he is aiming to further the current conversation about structural racism in the United States.

Check out the trailer and Kickstarter campaign here, and read on as Mtume expands on the film’s theme, explaining vividly how the idea of White Face came to him, what developing this complex script required of him, and his views of art and social media in relation to political discourse. 

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Hiatus Kaiyote: Perrin Moss – Drummer

Photos by Juanmi Sansinenea

When I first heard this group’s music at the beginning of 2015 I remember thinking, ‘That’s it, this a slice of the future’. I still think that when I listen to it. You could almost call it generic music, in the sense that it seems to effortlessly combine so many music genres into one flowing exciting soundscape, without that sense of nostalgia that so much of today’s music emulates. And it sounds distinct; the lyrics and song themes, as well as the melodies, rhythm and spirituality of it. You can hear the group’s vision of the now, and it is not based in the past.READ MORE

A Prince

It was you we all followed down that street of letters,
With horses running free, doves crying.
We remember your unlucky cousin who first smoked in September
When Hurricane Annie was causing more dying.READ MORE

Indee Styla – Dancer/Singer/Emcee

Born in Pamplona, based in Barcelona, Indee Styla is truly a multi-talented artist. She backs up her astounding dance techniques with a solid yet sweet emcee and singing style. With so much to offer, her performances are far from dull – she performed twice at the Glastonbury Festival last year on separate stages – and have gained her a devoted and growing fan-base, in particular in Brasil.

Recently, in the appropriate setting of Guzzo in Barcelona, Indee talked to me about how she started out in the hip hop world, about her experiences as a female within it, and her love story with Brasil.READ MORE

BluRum 13 – Emcee

photos in Marula Café with Honey Larochelle 

Born in Long Island, NYC, having lived in Washington DC, throughout the DMV, Orlando Florida, Montreal, London, emcee BluRum 13 currently lives in Southern Spain. He describes his heritage as Barbadian, African American, Native American, German, and possibly Spanish.
As an artist he has been collaborated and worked with the likes of DJ Vadim, Yarah Bravo, Montreal’s Bullfrog, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Frameworks.
An articulate, original artist he talks to We Be Spirits here about being an emcee outside of the US, what improvisation means to him, and what his relationship with the public is when performing, amongst many other things.READ MORE

iLLspokinn – DJ/Emcee

photos by LaBifurk & Rae Maxwell. 

Hailed as “one of the all-time favourite live MC’s at The Blue Note”, iLLspokinn is a rapper and dj with much to say regarding workmanship and creativity in music. He has just finished a 2015 European tour – hence a growing international following – and has a very interesting 2016 in front of him. In addition to performing he holds regular hip hop workshops and classes, and is the host and producer of the legendary hip hop event in NYC, Freestyle Mondays.
Though he was born just south of Boston, iLLspokinn’s father grew up in South Carolina and his maternal grandparents are from Cape Verde. He has spent the last 14 years in Brooklyn. I am very pleased to present a fascinating and uplifting interview with this true disciple of hip hop, a student and master in one: iLLspokinn.
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Caspar Melville – Lecturer at SOAS

“I have never quite fit anywhere very securely…” explains Caspar Melville, lecturer in Global Creative and Cultural Industries at SOAS, University of London.  Casper is referring to his varied and colourful career (so far); he has been a music journalist, a dj, radio presenter, club promoter, was editor of the New Humanist for eight years, and is a published author (Taking Offense, 2009). Born in Highbury,  Islington, he lived for seven years in San Francisco in the 90s, and currently resides in South London.

I am very excited to present this fascinating and thought-provoking We Be Spirits interview with Caspar, which has him talking about the Brixton gig that changed his life, how music is a way to heal the mind-body split, and about his upcoming project discussing reggae in Britain.
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