Meet Warsan Shire, the Poet Whose Words Are All Over Beyoncé's LEMONADE

Photo: YouTube


Beyonce is a big fan of shine theory, the if-you-shine-I-shine ideology that involves propping up other women, instead of seeing them as competition. In 2013, Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Achicie experienced a stratospheric rise to fame, thanks to a portion of her TED talk on feminism being sampled in Beyoncé's "Flawless." Adichie was already well-known in many lit circles, but, almost overnight, millions of people were chanting her words and carrying around copies of Americanah.

With the release of LEMONADE, Beyoncé continued this theme of spotlighting emerging artists by reciting poetry by Somali-British poet Warsan Shire as connective tissue between her songs throughout the visual album. Shire's name might be new to you, but she's been making waves within the poetry scene and all over social media for quite some time. At the age of 27, she's already been awarded the U.K.'s Brunel University prize for African Poetry and become London's first Young Poet Laureate and Queensland, Australia's poet-in-residence. A full-length collection is in the works, but, until then, there are two chapbooks available, Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth and Her Blue Body. You can buy them here and here.

A poem called "For Women Who Are Difficult To Love” is quoted heavily within LEMONADE. Watch a short film Shire produced around the poem:


Sponsored

And this New Yorker profile, which explains how Shire manages to "write movingly about African migration to Europe and also tweet humorously about the VH1 reality show Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta,” is a must-read:

http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/the-writing-life-of-a-young-prolific-poet-warsan-shire

Sponsored

And they say poetry is dead.

Volume
KQED Live
Live Stream
LATEST NEWSCAST
KQED
NPR
Live Stream information currently unavailable.
Share
LATEST NEWSCAST
KQED
NPR
KQED Live

Live Stream

Live Stream information currently unavailable.