The New Year has finally arrived! Hopefully you all have made New Year resolutions and are ready for second semester. Keeping with the theme, I thought this month would be a good time to discuss a contemporary spoken word poet who is currently shaking the media.
Darryll Suliaman Amoako, better known by his stage name Suli Breaks, was born January 22, 1988. He grew up as the middle child with two sisters. He originally pursued a degree as a lawyer in college, but after his graduation in 2009 he became a Spoken Word Artist and never used his studies again. Despite the seemingly waste of money and time, Suli Breaks never regretted his time in law saying, “…I think mentally if I had never gone through the experience with my law studies, my mind would have never broadened to the extent it did.” Suli wrote poems most of his early life, but it wasn’t until 2008 that he performed any of his work on stage. While he has been seen on Tedx House of Parliament, most of the spoken word poems are posted online. Being well-known on the internet has granted him a platform to uplift the whole world with his words. Suli Breaks is known for his brazen opinions and passion that he speaks unashamedly. But what exactly is spoken word poetry?
Spoken word poetry is typically designed to be performed, not written down on a piece of paper. It does not have to rhyme, although it occasionally does. Spoken word is often associated with songs, containing elements of rap, hip-hop, jazz, etc. and, similar to slam poetry, sometimes is accompanied by dance or music. Most often it discusses politics, race, social justice, and other problems. For example, Suli Breaks’s poem, “Why I Hate School But Love Education”, one of his most famous poems, talks about the problems of today’s schools and what students are being told about their grades and what they’re learning. Below is an excerpt from “Why I Hate School But Love Education” by Suli Breaks.
“So you want… to get a degree.
Let me tell you what society will tell you:
Increases your chances of getting a job,
Provides you an opportunity to be successful,
Be a lot less stressful,
Education is the key.”
Later he clarifies,
“Now, I’m not saying that school is evil and there’s nothing to gain,
All I’m saying is: understand your morals and re-assess your aims,
If you want a job working for someone else then help yourself,
But then that would be a contradiction because you wouldn’t really
Be helping yourself,
You’d be helping somebody else.
There’s a saying that is: if you don’t build your dreams, someone
else will hire you to help build theirs.
Redefine how you view education,
Understand it’s true meaning,
Education is not just about regurgitating facts from a book,
Or someone else’s opinion on a subject to pass an exam,
Look at it.
Picasso was educated at creating art,
Shakespeare was educated in the art of all that was written,
Colonel Harland Sanders was educated in the art of creating Ken
Tucky Fried Chicken.”
Suli Breaks addresses more issues than just school in his other poems, like racial prejudices and conformity. Breaks is not afraid to speak his mind. I recommend, if you agree with his opinions (and maybe even if you don’t!) that you listen to his work.
Wikina, Ebenezar. Updated December 6, 2017. “Suli Breaks the School Myth: My Stroll With Suli Breaks.” Huffpost. www.huffpost.com/entry/suli-breaks-the-school-my_b_7131106 December 15, 2019.
“Interview with Suli Breaks – Spoken Word Poet.” Writer’s Edit. writersedit.com/fiction-writing/suli-breaks-interview/ December 15, 2019.
“Spoken Word.” Poetry Foundation. www.poetryfoundation.org/learn/glossary-terms/spoken-word December 15, 2019.
“Why I Hate School but Love Education.” Musixmatch. www.musixmatch.com/lyrics/Suli-Breaks/Why-I-Hate-School-but-Love-Education December 15, 2019.