I believe Safiya aka Birdspeed is one of the most exciting new spoken word artists to appear on the South West scene in recent years. Her poetry and her stage presence is vital, exciting and incredibly powerful. She was one of the most popular new performers on our stage at WOMAD this year and attracted audiences of 200+ people, very considerable for spoken word. I also received a great deal of positive feedback about her and her work from audience members and other poets, including Forward Prize winner Kei Miller.
I also found Safiya to be reliable, hard working, gracious and supportive of other artists. She knows how to market and present herself and works hard to be the best she can be.
I have also noted in the couple of years since I first started watching Birdspeed perform, the great improvement and growth in her writing and performance style. She always brings her entire being to the stage. She tackles extremely emotive and important subjects, exploring among other things, racial and spiritual identity, feminism, the consequences of abuse and mental health. All of which she handles with passion and skill, never losing her audience.
Poet/ Producer/ Educator, Founder of Taking The Mic,
Hip Yak Poetry Shack WOMAD
Birdspeed performs with a full and lively heart, yet free of emotional incontinence; her words, images, choreography, and ideas are utterly worth our full attention. Her artistry as a dancer brings in a whole new channel of communication, which gives shape and emphasis to even the most abstract ideas. And on top of all that, she shows no signs of ego-indulgence or any budding diva.
I also see great potential for her off-stage work, for she speaks elegantly and very thoughtfully about cultural theory with a fresh and insightful eye.
I believe Ms Kinshasa has a unique talent the world will embrace with great enthusiasm, one that is truly original, global, intelligent, full-hearted, fun, serious, inspiring, and spellbinding. I can easily see her developing into an international artist that Britain would be immensely proud of, even if a post-Brexit Britain may not deserve her.
Birdspeed's work is both moving and pointed - making strong and pertinent statements about race and gender and the world. Her beautiful words and powerful performance make her unforgettable and you will find her still with you months after seeing her. In my humble opinion thus is the one to watch in the uk poetry scene.
Poet, Lecturer, Editor, Part of Hammer & Tongue Bristol