This month we chatted with young Bristol poet Malizah, who is in conversation with model, actor and writer Eunice Olumide OBE as part of the Reading is Magic Festival on 30 September, talking about the Black curriculum
So, Malizah, did you grow up in Bristol?
I did – on Gill Avenue, Fishponds/St Annes.
What is a typical day for you?
Meditation/reading, workout/training, responding to emails and work. Then poetry, of course, whether it be freestyling or written. Connecting with friends and amazing artists and creatives from around the world. Social media. Chill time… Anime. Cheffing up a nice plant-based meal.
Tell us about your recent projects
I’ve recently released two poetry audio pieces; Hustle andHeal EP and the TRY AGAIN experience – both on Soundcloud – and taken part in the WhoseFuture citywide billboard campaign. I’ve been doing open-air open mics in the city centre, writing theatre for radio and airing the first episode of my show Make Room with Malizah. I have a Bath Children’s Festival discussion coming up, and currently I am collaborating on a project called My Library, My Space which is opening up a conversation around young people and libraries and seeing how we can make them spaces we want to use.
What did it mean to you to see the Rising Arts #WhoseFuture campaign around the city?
It was empowering and it was a humbling moment, with all the art by young people, and their voice and vision given a space to be. Also it was surreal – my words, that I wrote in my home, being accessible to the city without me even being present to speak them. People were connecting with it while driving, cycling, walking past. I found that amazing.
What new projects have you got coming up? What are your ambitions for the next year?
Hustle and heal and use my gifts, because gifts make room. Clear space. I have a lot in the works – some very exciting projects… Some in new mediums for me but I want to keep them a surprise. Ambition turned reality.
What are your views on what Bristol is doing to redress the curriculum to make learning more inclusive in schools?
I feel the curriculum, not just in Bristol, still needs a lot of work despite efforts – more needs to be done to make it about the student. I feel we still have a way to go from feedback from school goers and siblings and my own experience.
What did you learn from lockdown?
Be creative with your time. Use what you have and get things done. You can either become better with the time or stay stagnant. So use it wisely and to your advantage. Also I learned to appreciate the everyday things I took for granted.
Whose music are you listening to at the moment?
Rapsody. Lady London. Drake. Gang Starr. Chet Baker. Masego. J Dilla. Dave East. Conway The Machine. Boogie. Brent Faiyaz.
Where are your favourite places to eat, drink and be entertained in Bristol?
Café Cuba, Baba Ganoush Jerusalem Falafel, Back Garden Pizzeria. Fi Real Vegan Restaurant. To be entertained: my house – we are the party. It’s family and jokes and good vibes, plus, good food… Can’t beat that.
What would be your first action if you were mayor of Bristol?
Ask the people what they would like to see in our city.
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us
I am pretty good at computer games… You don’t want this smoke.
Malizah is in conversation with Eunice Olumide as part of the Reading is Magic Festival. The talk will be available to download afterwards from the festival website.