Spreading the Gospel through Slam Poetry

Written by on 21 Mar 2021

21 March is celebrated as World Poetry Day, and we are very excited to introduce you to an exceptionally talented artist who believes in spreading the Gospel through his Slam Poetry.

Slam poet Given “Illustrative” Masilela

You might know Given from his work as a presenter of “I Am Live”, the primary youth show on Radio Pulpit. He is also the leader of the I Am Youth Movement, a Spoken word artist, author, MC and R.A.P. musician.

Given’s work is best known for its vulnerability, honesty and unapologetic propensity to encourage hope, faith and love. He has since reached several platforms as a guest performer and headlining artist, namely:

  • AVBOB Poetry Gala
  • Kaya FM Poetry Corner on Karubi
  • SAFM Poetry Mash-Up
  • South African Local Government Association (SALGA)
  • Hear My Voice
  • Word n Sound International Youth Poetry Festival
  • Night of the Poets
  • The United Nation’s National Nelson Mandela Day
  • Radio Pulpit Ascension Day

Given also performed on countless other platforms, including T.V. and Radio broadcasts.

He has performed alongside several renowned artists such as Lebo Mashile, Phillippa Yaa De Villiers, Myesha Jenkins, Last Days Fam, Thabiso Afurakan Mohare, Lilly Million, Janetteā€¦iks and Ezekiel of P4CM (U.S.A.), Ian Kamau (U.S.A.), Natalie Lauren (U.S.A.), Chiccy Baritone (U.S.A.), Buddy Wakefield (U.S.A.) and more.

Facebook | Instagram | i.givenmasilela@gmail.com

We sat down with Given to chat about Poetry, God and being an artist.

What is the difference between Slam Poetry & Traditional Poetry?

“Slam Poetry is a competitive sport in which poets compete and are critiqued by a panel of judges who rate their performances until a single winner is left.  A slam poet is often wrongfully used to refer to modern poets who share their work through theatrical performances that might incorporate music and videography to enhance the presentation of their work. However, within the poetry community, a slam poet is widely understood to be a poet who participates in competitive poetry.

The term traditional poet can be used to identify a poet who is of a generation that appreciates poetry in its purest form. This generation of poets often does not aspire to become great performers, but rather the investment is more on being great writers and communicators of emotion and experience. It’s also important to note that a traditional poet can also refer to a poet who uses indigenous language in their writing and cultural attire and instruments to enhance and contextualize their performances.”

How does being a child of God influence your work as an artist?

“Being a child of God comes with the responsibility and discipline of always spreading a message that encourages people, whether saved or unsaved, to draw closer to the likeness of God. So it has moved me to theme the message within all of my poems around hope, faith and love.”

If you could say one thing to today’s young artists, what would that be?

Don’t wait until the stars are perfectly aligned before you begin. Start with what you have; dare to start even though you know you are not yet the best and don’t have the required equipment. Start today. Nothing is more important than starting and maintaining consistency.

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