Dubpoet / Monodramatist / Educator
, Anitafrika Dub Theatre, Toronto, ON. Born: Kingston, Jamaica.
From New York’s Def Poetry Jam to London’s Hackney Empire Theatre; from Cape Town’s Badilisha Poetry Exchange to Kingston, Jamaica’s Red Bones Blues Café, d’bi.young is steadily making a global name for herself as a dynamic, socially-conscious, trail-blazing tour-de-force. She is a poet and dancehall MC whose lyricism stems from the highly political genre of dubpoetry. Her unique fusion of dubpoetry, dancehall, and hip hop (what she terms ‘dubtryp’) produces a pepperpot of rhythmic content that crosses and questions cultural boundaries, social norms and stereotypes; making her a musician of the now.
This dancehall-diva-urban-warrior-chanting-conscious-fyah on the mic, is dub-roots-reggae, infused by dangerous dancehall riddims colliding with heavy hip hop beats and funked out punk. the daughter of Anita Stewart, a dubpoetry pioneer, d’bi.young grew up in Kingston, learning at the feet of the genre’s early practitioners. Following in the footsteps of the globally-celebrated father of dubpoetry, Linton Kwesi Johnson and the world-renowned, Jean Binta Breeze, she brings her own wom(b)anist flair to the mix by applying an intersectional-oppression-awareness framework to all that she creates. Her rhymes sear with provocative social commentary while maintaining their commitment to the sensual poetics of storytelling.
A headliner at numerous festivals worldwide (including, Badilisha in Cape Town, Canwest Cabaret in the historic Distillery District, the Calgary International Folk and Spoken Word festivals, Vancouver Folk Festival, Havana International Reggae Festival, and Toronto’s International Dubpoetry Festival), d’bi.young is the future of dub, dancehall and hip hop. At a time when we desire music to be simultaneously conconscious, wom(b)anist, sexy and danceable, d’bi.young’s work is opportune.
Award-winning African-Jamaican dubpoet, monodramatist and educator, d’bi.young is indeed one of north america’s most celebrated storytellers and for good reason. Throughout this decade alone she has created six albums; published three books; produced six plays; written the Sankofa Trilogy; starred in Lord Have Mercy – Canada’s first multi-ethnic sitcom; featured in Trey Anthony’s, Da Kink in My Hair; toured and lectured nationally and internationally, founded Anitafrika Dub Theatre (anitafrika.com); participated in seven residencies; and garnered numerous awards and grants.
Works: Discography:wombanifesto (summer 2010); when sisters speak, live (2008); animal farm single (2005); blood demo (2003); xperimentin dub with manana reggae band (2002); xperimentin dub with dub trinity reggae band (2001); when the love is not enough (2000). Books: untitled: africanadian theatre; sankofa monodrama trilogy; rivers and other blackness between us: (dub) poems of love; blood.claat; art on black.
Awards: KM Hunter Theatre Award (2010); Toronto Arts Council, Emerging Artist Award (2007); Outstanding Pperformance & Outstanding Design, Benu 2009 Now Magazine; NAACP Award, Best Ensemble, Cast (2007), Da Kink in My Hair; Best Solo Artist, National Post & Eye Weekly (2006); Best Play, blood.claat, Eye Weekly & GayGuide Toronto (2006); two Dora awards, blood.claat, Outstanding New Play & Outstanding Female; Harold Theatre Award (2005); Spotlight Award, blood.claat (2004); SummerWorks, Da Kink in My Hair (2004); Dora Nomination, Outstanding Female; Best Storytelling Actor & Dubpoet, Now Magazine Nourbese Philip Award (2002); ArtStarts Emerging Community Artist Award (2002).
Grants: Theatre Creation Grant, Canada Council for the Arts (2010); Playwright Residency Grant, Ontario Arts Council (2009); Theatre Creators Reserve Grants, Ontario Arts Council (2009); Writers Reserve Grants, Ontario Arts Council (2009-2010); Writers Grant. Toronto Arts Council (2007); Professional Development Grant, Ontario Arts Council (2007), Career Development Grant, Canada Council for the Arts (2007); Spoken Word Grant, Canada Council for the Arts (2001, 2003, 2006), Writer’s Reserve Grants, Ontario Arts Council (2003, 2007), Artist-Educator Grant, Ontario Arts Council (2004, 2009).
Favourite book? Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron. It humbles me.
Favourite quote? “
The stone that the builder refuse, will be the head cornerstone.”
Given the chance, what would you love to do that you have not done yet? Study and practice buddism.
Who inspires you? Tracy Chapman.
Why do you do what you do? It’s what I am meant to do.
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