Motion_badilisha-400x300Badilisha Poetry X-Change is the largest online collective of African poets on the planet! Both an online audio archive & Pan-African poetry show delivered in radio format, Badilisha has showcased and archived over 350 Pan-African poets from 24 different countries. It reflects the myriad of rhythms and rhymes, voices, perspectives and aspirations from all corners of the globe.

Toronto-based, Caribbean-rooted spoken word poet MOTION joins renowned poets from across the Diaspora.  From South Africa to Ghana, Canada to the Mozambique, Somalia and Zimbabwe to the UK, Badilisha is where international poets meet and showcase their creations in audio and print. Helmed by South African writer and poet Linda Kaoma, Badilisha features the works and profiles of such poets as Somali-UK’s Warsan Shire, Canada’s d’bi young, Titolope of Nigeria and USA’s Mahogany L. Browne. Representing word & sound Northside to Worldwide! >> @badilishapoetry 

*photo credit: Zahra Siddiqui

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FEBRUARY 20th 2016 – Special Sneak Preview of ORALTORIO: a THEATRICAL MIXTAPE feat. MOTION & DJ L’OQENZ! Directed by MUMBI TINDYEBWA, experience this aural/visual mash up of word, sound & drama at Toronto’s hotbed of experimentation, Canada’s longest-running new works festival – Rhubarb 2016 – which returns for a 37th year. With artists exploring new possibilities in theatre, dance, music, and performance art, Rhubarb is the place to see the most adventurous ideas in performance and to catch your favourite artists venture into uncharted territory. Presented by MOTIONLIVE COLLECTIVE & IFT THEATRE. Rhubarb Special presentation @ In The Chamber, 10 PM, 12 Alexander St, Toronto // M4Y1B4. TICKETS ON SALE NoW!

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artwork by Sara Golish 2015

HEADSPACE ROTATES Tributes our brother Son Of S.O.U.L. Rest in Beats.

Hosted by Motion | Selections By DJ L’Oqenz | Mixed by Zoé SoundMind of AFIME arts
HeadSpace Rotates is now on Girth Radio, TOronto.

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Sage Secrets is Watah Theatre’s Monthly Lecture Series honoring our sages amongst us; stalwarts of the community who have and continue to lay an impeccable foundation and example for us to emulate. Distinguished guest artists impart their knowledges through a lecture, interview and Q & A with current Artists-In-Residence as well as attending community members. Lectures are documented and published in a Sage Secrets anthology for the following season. The community is invited to join us each month, starting with our inaugural Sage- MOTION.

MOTION is an emcee, poet, playwright, screenwriter whose aural/sonic storytelling is a fusion of word, sound & drama for the stage and screen. With performances across Canada, the U.S, the Caribbean and in South Africa, her inter-creativity has been read in Motion in Poetry (Women’s Press), seen on stage with Aneemah’s Spot (MotionLive Collective), and experienced in the co-creation Nightmare Dream (ift Theatre/Obsidian). Her upcoming productions are the dramatic mixtape Oraltorio with DJ L’Oqenz, short film A Man’s Story (Bravo), feature film SoundGirl, and the opera Motherland (ift Theatre).

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iLove ver. Black Season Finale

Written and directed by the Governor Award-nominated playwright Joseph Jomo Pierre (Shakespeare’s Nigga, Born Ready), iLove ver. Black is a new web series exploring the trials and tensions of relationships, communication and Black love. Set in Toronto, the series’ five episodes feature the intense, poetic dialogue of Pierre, along with a soundtrack born of Toronto’s talented musicians and vocalists. Check out the finale – featuring “Fall’N” by MOTION.

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Star of the Story – Masimba (Son of S.O.U.L.))Thank you to everyone who made it out yesterday, you helped make it such a wonderful and fitting send-off. We wanted to share the video from the service. Graciously put together by Ramon Charles and soundtracked by the one-and-only DJ Son of S.O.U.L. #CelebratingSonofSoul #SonOfSoul

Posted by Celebrating Son Of SOUL on Sunday, September 20, 2015″

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9503835“Words, language, communication – these are power…

The power to define yourself, the power to give voice, to tell your own story and not have your story told for you or to you. Words can also mobilize – a whole movement, can be bought together under the banner of a phrase – the words we memorize, and quote, and pass down. How we use words can be forms of resistance; how we create new language and new codes. Spoken wordists, poets, speechifiers put our experiences into context, flip around perspectives, make connections, act as trumpets to blow down walls and light fires to put us into action…” Read more… on

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Grafflix Pic b&w


Mixes + Collabos + Exclusives + More on SOUNDCLOUD!

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Saada Branker Writes on ‘Anticipating a Movement in the Art of Spoken Word’


South North Griots Summit Team: Dwayne Morgan, Motion, Nth Dgri, Eddy DaOriginalone.

Saada STYLO reflects on a personal journey into the art and heart of  Spoken Word in this exclusive blog post for the Canada Council of the Arts. 

More than 20 years ago, youthful and thrilled by just about every experience, I lost in love. The pain of the heartbreak had me reflective, so I sought comfort in the writings of black poets, authors and folk singers. It wasn’t long before my pensive moods gave way to indignation and I put pen to paper to write my first poem, “Bittersweet Departure.” I was green, as was my technique. My words seemed tightly tangled and the sentiment flat. The poem remained inconspicuous within the pages of my closed notebook.

Then I watched Maya Angelou’s apostles describe how the span of their hips and the curl of their lips made them phenomenal and I, with a growing audience, was captivated by the poetic prowess of the spoken word artist.

To understand spoken word is to appreciate how it is poetry constructed for flight. There is movement in its meaning and a lifting of its phrasing; so much so, members in the audience catch the cadence, sway to the melody, rise to the call, raise fists in solidarity and bow their heads in mourning. In a manner so quintessential to the concept of an artist’s call and response, we lend our ears and much more to spoken word artists. Theirs is a full-bodied, poetic expression that frees us from technique and formula and rigidity and rules and instead captures us in flowetry.

A gathering of Griots

Most artists and art lovers have access to a galaxy of cyber spaces formed to share what we think and how we feel. One useful tool for connecting is subjective thought, and how we express it can present an opportunity to expand and then elevate the discussion. I’m expecting that consciousness raising at the South-North Griots Summit on May 28-31 at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre.

The 4-day gathering of wordsmiths from North America, the Caribbean and Africa at this city’s cultural hub is noteworthy. The artists who will perform and participate in panels have sparked a trail of personal and professional achievements. Their arrival at the Harbourfront raises Toronto’s profile as being a welcoming host to a movement of heroic writers performing poetry as they feel it.

Canada has a history of spoken word artistry; one that encapsulates slam contests and freestyling. But first there was dub poetry. There, as I imagine in the spirit of Trinidad & Tobago parang, words are gripped differently and restructured like instruments of sound connecting with audiences through utterances, beats, riddim, a snap, a stomp and a verbal massaging of Caribbean dialect passed on from Ancestral tellings. The delivery of dub’s mellifluous soundings intertwine with stories about hardship, integration, exclusion, actualization, celebration, growth, self-love and, yes, heartbreak experienced by everyday Caribbean women and men. Authors Karen Flynn and Evelyn Marrast describe dub poetry in a 2008 journal article, citing Jamaica as the birthplace for this movement of the working class and non-elites:

“With its emphasis on what Edward Kamau Brathwaite (1982) calls ‘Nation Language,’ dub poetry by its very existence challenges the hegemony standard English and the literary establishment; articulating the anger and despair of ordinary Jamaicans, it is necessarily protest poetry …”1

That protest caught and grew then migrated. Today, the tales are passed on and shared by a Canadian generation that honours its trail forgers George Elliott Clarke, Lillian Allen and the incomparable Louise Bennett; a cross-section of spoken word artists that birthed the new voices. They in turn use varying art styles to sound off about marginalization and the way it morphs into something else, posing challenges in the application of their craft.

A meeting of minds

Why a summit? I’m learning that the seeds for this type of artist discourse were planted by the Northern Griots Network (NGN), a collective of African-Canadian spoken words artists in collaboration with the Nia Centre for the Arts and the Harbourfront Centre. Back in 2003, the NGN organized a series of poetry performances throughout Canadian cities. The initiative ran for six months with support from the Canada Council for the Arts. At that time, the network had just formed. Years later, this South-North Griot summit can be considered another part of a long-running dialogue. Included can be conversations about the role of spoken word in our time where protests for social justice overlap. With its ability to capture attention in ways that encourage reaction and response, spoken word is and has always been an empowering method for many performing poets—storytellers whose illuminating editorials offer proof that all lives matter. That affirmation will hopefully extend to the artists’ messages and to the business of their craft. And hopefully arts councils will develop artist-oriented programs of support in response.

I did end up performing “Bittersweet Departure” on a stage as part of a Montréal-based, spoken word collective. Our ambition brought me back to living and my exit, stage left, brought me back to feeling. Best part: I was welcomed into a fold that accepted me and my personal mission to heal. It was a thrilling experience to share with artists and audience a passion for the power of spoken words, together looking deeply into what formed from the impact.

1. “Spoken Word from the North: Contesting Nation, Politics, and Identity” from Flynn, Karen; Marrast, Evelyn. Wadabagei : A Journal of the Caribbean and Its Diaspora 11.2 (Spring 2008): 3-24.

About the Author: Saada Branker
Saada Branker is a writer living in Toronto. She works with emerging writers through Saada STYLO, her copyediting business, and is currently the Fresh Milk Arts Platform Artist-in-Residence in Barbados.

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UforChange Presents…

HEADSPACE 5th Year Anniversary

Hosted by Wan Luv & MOTION

Featuring Deejays
L’Oqenz –                                                                         Charlie. –
Sean Roman –

Hip Hop, House, Nu Disco, Funk, Reggae & Old School

Date: June 12, 2015                                                                                                                  Location: 237 Sackville St. – The Church Hall
Doors: 9:30pm

$10 B4 11:30PM | $15 After 11:30PM
19+ with valid photo ID

**Funds collected at Vivacity & Headspace will be invested in free community programming for Youth Artists entering cycle 11 at UforChange, in September.

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