iON Presents CommunicatiON
"I don't like bougie black people"
A man who once desired to be in 3 piece suits carrying bright umbrellas, Shakii, a writer from East London decided to embrace the unexpected, leave his corporate job and pursue something more organic. Despite not having the same financial stability once he’d decided to jump, the benefits of chasing a dream had much more longevity.
Writing scripts, poetry and spoken word are ways that Shakii has diversified his written ability, but his poetic skills are undeniable. One of his most popular works is a piece called ‘Nothing’ which addresses capitalism, black history and societal pressures. The piece was heavily inspired by Shakii’s response to researching the news regarding black history and his findings, “when I discovered all this stuff about black history, and what it means, it completely rocked how I saw myself and how I saw the world. Now I’m proud to be who I am”.
These findings have caused him to take more pride in being black and partnered with his brave decision to leave the corporate world, he has been able to identify more clearly what success means to him, “as black people, it seems like we only celebrate uber success. There’s people doing a lot of positive things, almost on a lower level and that’s encouraging. I’m inspired by people like Renee Davis, who runs Out The Box, and other people that are using their skills to help the wider community”.
"I don’t even think my purpose is spoken word, that’s the funniest thing"
Like Renee Davis, Shakii is also one of those people who have used his skills to impact the wider community. His poetic abilities have landed him opportunities to speak in schools and engage with young people and in doing so, he noticed their level of disinterest in the academic curriculum. When given the opportunity, Shakii strives to challenge their thinking, “if I could go into schools and engage them on what there is out there creatively, they might say ‘I really like this filming thing, I think I could do this’. A lot of young people disengage when they don’t find anything they are passionate about”.
For young people especially of minority groups, representation is crucially important. Our personal and professional experiences can lure us in to conforming but Shakii is set on remaining authentic “I understand that we have to grow and develop some level of professionalism but I try to stay true to where I came from, I don’t like bougie black people”. As young people are more often attracted to people from backgrounds and life circumstances that resemble their own story, for Shakii being relatable is vital, “When I’m asked to speak places I try to dress as casual as I can. As long as you can understand what I’m saying, that’s all that matters, trying to be within reach is really important to me”.
“As black people, it seems like we only celebrate uber success"
As life unfolds, we discover more and more about ourselves, and the things we once regarded as a priority soon become subsidiary. Shakii is in the process of developing a social enterprise that uses creativity to help young people find their purpose, and when we asked him what he has recently learnt about himself, he passionate replied, “That I really, really care. If I never make a million, it’s not that deep for me. I understand what makes my heart beat, the moments of inspiration, being a voice for people that don’t really have voices, while making a living, that’s what I live for”.
By the sound of things, Shakii’s finance days are well and truly over but not to discredit the transferable skills he can now utilize in his creative endeavours. Leaving finance to pursue poetry was not in his initial plan ““I didn’t leave finance to do poetry, and I don’t even think my purpose is spoken word, that’s the funniest thing. I think it’s a catalyst to a lot more than I know I’m capable of. It’s a part of the journey”.