BRIANNI BLUE talks a lot about her destination, what she's trying to accomplish. Even with all of the obstacles that have shown themselves along the way, Blue is still taking steps in the right direction. Below, Brianni discusses her latest book, her first time performing spoken word, and why she believes she still has a long way to go.
LA: You've made a name for yourself performing on campuses across the country. Did you perform at open mics, etc., while you were in school? What was it like the first time you performed in public?
BB: While I was in school, I performed at local open mics, slams, other schools, churches and community events. The first time I performed in public for a serious performance was for the AKA Sorority's "Apollo Night" at UCLA during my Freshman year in college. I was extremely nervous as I awaited my turn because I had absolutely no idea what to expect from a room full of strangers. Once I stepped up to the mic and saw the response I was getting from the crowd, I was able to loosen up and actually enjoy the performance.
The Bay area is known to be a place that takes its spoken word seriously. What type of feedback have you received from those audiences?
I always get amazing feedback from Bay Area audiences. Some people have heard me before, some hear me for the first time, but almost always, people will come up to me to talk about a situation they, or someone they know, were in that mirrors what I was talking about in my poem. I am often told that I'm relatable and that I should consider going into schools (high schools and colleges) to share my work because young women would get a lot from hearing my stories. I do have some who call me "angry," but many go on to explain that they understand my anger regarding the issues I am discussing.
Tell us about your latest book, Destination: Unknown. What message are you trying to get across with this project?
In my latest book Destination: unknown I am talking about the path I am currently traveling in my life- trials and tribulations, obstacles, roadblocks that turn out to be speed bumps. I want to get across the message that, although I may not have a clear idea of exactly where I will wind up at the end of my journey, I know I'm going somewhere. I just have to get through and past the things I've faced before I reach the final destination.
Your poem, "Just Me," reads like it could be an anthem for all women. What inspired that poem?
'Just Me' was inspired a few years back by the naysayers; the people who tried to tell me I had to assimilate or transform myself into somebody else in order to be accepted as a young, Black woman. These were people who oftentimes did not approve of decisions I'd made in my life or wanted me to be apologetic and spend my days trying to "make up" for situations I had been in or things I had done in my past. I wrote this piece specifically to let the world (or as many people possible) know that this is who I am--love me, hate me, accept me, deny me, but don't think you will be able to change me. This poem is to let people know that it's okay to just be you, regardless of what others think. There is nothing wrong with taking the path less traveled as long as you maintain your individuality and sense of self along the way.
What's one thing you'll take away from performing on Verses & Flow?
One thing I will take away from performing on Verses & Flow is never to get too comfortable with my talent. I met so many other hungry, talented, experienced poets that took my breath away; people who live and breathe their craft. Hearing their words and seeing their performances made me realize that although I have come far, I still have a long way to go.
Stay tuned right here at luxuryawaits.com for more interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and web-exclusive videos from the talented poets of "Verses & Flow" in the coming weeks.