Shareefa Energy – ‘Reasoning With Self’ - Review
A few months ago the BBC offered a profile of new emerging female poets, ‘Women Who Spit’. Watching the short films by Jemima Foxtrot, Cecilia Knapp and Deanna Rodger, I noted with great relief that the art of poetry is alive and well. I have always been fascinated by the medium. The ability to express intricate thoughts and feelings in a few lines of words. It is the most empowering process. And empowerment through self-expression seems to be the touchstone for these young women. Why pick up a guitar when all you need to do is be ‘picking up a pen when life seems absurd’?
So, there I was, enjoying a post-gig beer in the Fairfield Halls in Croydon when I am approached by Shareefa Energy. She introduces herself as a spoken word artist with a debut EP to sell. She sits and tells us her story. Twenty four years of age, recently relocated to London and at a point in her life where she has finally gained an understanding of who she is and what she wants to be. Her confidence and positivity is touching. Her passion for self-discovery through artistic expression is moving. How could I resist?
My experience of the current batch of ‘women who spit’ is that they are, what Shareefa describes as ‘imaginative story tellers’ telling ‘war stories’. Angry streams of protest, justly aimed at authority, past struggles; the disadvantage that male dominated society inflict upon women. Shareefa’s ‘Reasoning With Self’, however, calls for a time to write from a place of healing. The key theme seems to be a personal mission statement to gain a greater understanding of herself and of the world around her. While others kick around the garbage and decay of the modern world, Shareefa embraces growth and declares her intent to ‘rise from the ashes’.
‘Reasoning With Self’ features six short, introspective pieces that serve as a personal manifesto of her art. It feels like it draws a line under a conflicted past and says here I am. Strong. Creative. Confident in her abilities. She speaks with insight and self-awareness. Building upon the ‘whispers of women before us’ she declares her ‘tongue a paintbrush’ and that she has achieved freedom of ‘mind’, ‘body’ and, interestingly, ‘memory’. In ‘Word Memory’ she reminds herself to ‘think positive and check my thoughts’, and each piece is littered with similar notes to self.
Shareefa’s message is clear. She is a poet who wants to sit alongside those who have experienced self-doubt and conflict. hold their hand and tell them that everything can be fine if they want it to be: ‘As we learn about our self, it is important to share.’
‘Reasoning With Self’ deserves your attention, and Shareefa Energy’s next step should be very interesting. We know who she is, we now wonder where she is going. As she says, she is ‘a rose that grew from the concrete.’