You and Thobani are the only two finalists that have battled it out at a season finale. What lessons from your performance at last years finale are you bringing to the battle this year?
Oh man, I’m so grateful to be going to festival for the second year in a row, dedication really pays off hey? I think last year I was in a much different place in terms of feeling a need to prove myself through my work. This year I think I’ll be going into the festival with a more humble come-what-may attitude that I do hope will enhance my performance but more so that will decrease my stress levels! Haha
A lot of poems are racially charged. What has that meant for you as one of the only white poets on our stage? And is it uncomfortable to be in the audience sometimes?
Yes, a lot of poems are racially charged, as they should be in my opinion. We are living in post-apartheid South Africa and true art has a duty to portray the decay within society, which unfortunately, there is a lot at the moment. I would be lying to say that I have never been uncomfortable in the audience listening to certain poems, but again, I think it is another one of the duties of good art; to make people feel a little uncomfortable. How else do we reflect on ourselves and change accordingly? I am very aware of what I look like to others and what perks and downfalls come with being white in South Africa and this year especially has been a huge learning curve for me in terms of learning further when and where and how my voice is needed, if ever, within the struggle. The more I learn, the more I realise there is so much more to learn! So my education in social politics and racial discourse is very much ongoing – the Word N Sound stage is one of my favourite classes.
How’s the YouTube page going? How is the world responding to your poetry and music?
My YouTube page is going well! I am slowly but surely gaining subscribers and building a solid database of my work which is the main reason I keep uploading. So far I have heard only good things about my art and my naive hope is that that continues! But I am very glad that the following is growing slowly enough for me to have time to develop the thick skin I will need for when the haters arrive.
Which poet in the in the Top 5 will be your toughest competitor at the Season 6 Finale at #WNSFest6? (we don’t want any of those PC answers about being your own toughest competition… you have to select one of the other finalists)
No PC answers? Haha ahh… Alright, I’ll answer. But first I need to say that a.) I truly am my own toughest competition (!!!) and b.) I am so so soo excited to be competing against these four incredible poets who have shown so much dedication to their craft over the last year and who are genuinely kind people, it’s going to be an amazing show.
Ok ok. No more PC! So, purely based on his experience and having competed against him last year already, I think Thobani might be my toughest competition this year.
So what is the plan for your poetry in 2017? Will you be slamming again?
2017 is a mystery to us all hey! I have a couple of things up my sleeve but I can’t let the cat out the bag just yet. I may still slam at Word N Sound a couple of times next year… but also, I may not be able to. We shall see! Either way, I want to take this moment to say THANK YOU to the incredible WNS team for the stage, the love, the lesson and the fabulous memories. I have appreciated my time with you more than you know and whether I slam or not, I will definitely visit.
Bella “B-Lyrical” Cox is a spoken word slam and performance poet, vocalist and media creator. She has been performing in and around Gauteng since early 2014 and is a WordnSound Queen of the Mic and two time festival finalist as well as a Perfect Poem nominee. She has won multiple amateur slam competitions around Gauteng and has also showcased in Durban. B-Lyrical is best known for her raw, truth-telling poetic style, quirky love poems and controversial socio-political pieces as well as her soulful vocals. She is bent on making poetry accessible to the youth as a means of self expression and growth and since graduating from the University of Pretoria in 2016 she is now working full time as a performer both on stage and camera. B-Lyrical hopes to publish her first musical EP by the end of 2016 and has just had two of her poems long listed for the South African Sol Plaatjie 2016 Award and publication.
Will we have another Queen this year? Only time will tell…see you at the Season 6 Poetry League finale at the Market Theatre on Sat 8 Oct. Get all your #WNSFest6 details here.
Photography: Poetry Vision and Shassy Chasowa