PNN-TV:Artist Profile of Poet,Writer Kinara Sankofa
Last month’s Community Newsroom at POOR was in honor of Black History Month ( even though we know at POOR Magazine, that every month is Black History) One of our guest speakers, named Kinara Sankofa, blew the crowd away. Being that I graduated from an Africana Studies program his name automatically intrigued me because Sankofa is an important part of black history. Though our guest did not talk about the meaning of ‘Sankofa’ I thought it was important to understand the history context of this historically significant name. According to Black Student Union coordinators at the University of Illinois:
“The concept of ‘Sankofa’ is derived from King Adinkera of the Akan people of West Africa. ‘Sankofa’ is expressed in the Akan language as ’se wo were fi na wosan kofa a yenki.’Literally translated, this means ‘it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot.’ ‘Sankofa’ teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward. That is, we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward. Whatever we have lost, forgotten, forgone, or been stripped of can be reclaimed, revived, preserved, and perpetuated. Visually and symbolically, ‘Sankofa’ is expressed as a mythic bird that flies forward while looking backward with an egg (symbolizing the future) in its mouth. This ties with our motto: ‘In order to understand our present and ensure our future, we must know our past.’ “
Kinara Sankofa is an inspiring artist, entrepreneur and leader. He has been writing poetry for years. When I asked him what kind of poetry he writes, he said his biggest dream is to write about love and the beauty of the black women. He went on to explain how valuable black women are and that we deserve to have good men in our lives. He moved to Australia for about twenty years where he fell in love with a woman who inspired much of his poetry. He also talked about how men are disconnected from their femininity. He said that for men to cry and show vulnerability is actually a sign of strength, not weakness. In an insightful linguistic flip, he used the term “white inferiority” instead of white supremacy, and he made it clear that we have to stop blaming other people for our problems. He said that we need to educate the next generation of powerful black revolutionary leaders by teaching our history in our communities (such as the often forgotten fact that Oklahoma used to be the black Wall Street) and celebrating people such as Malcolm X, Assata, Muhammad.
Among his many accomplishments, Kinara Sankofa has also written a book, and started a clothing line. Black Power Clothing has a beautiful logo of a black fist with African colors. Visit his website at www.ashaybythebay.com.
He closed out his presentation at the POOR magazine newsroom with a poem entitled “The Coldest Summer Ever.” He captured the moment with his last sentence in the poem saying, ‘niggas’ spelled backwords is ‘saggin.’ This poem was awesome and really got the newsroom thinking. There were no disagreements with anything he was preaching. After his poem, we finished with a drum circle and a prayer. What can you get that is better than that?! Even though February is the shortest month of the year, we celebrated Black History Month with unity and community at POOR magazine.