My first conscious experience of this was when someone brought his sister to my house. The guy was just tired of working, and didn't know how to say it. So this girl comes, sizes me up in my house maid clothes and funny headgear typical of ladies with natural hair in their comfort zone. Inside my ragged attire was my very small body so she concluded she could intimidate me with words. So she started talking, blasting her British accent cos she just came from England the previous week. She was talking about the fact that her brother was stressed out and all, and they never sought her opinion before allowing her brother work so he would stop working. She was out to intimidate, and she wasn't hiding the fact. When she was done, I asked her two very simple questions.
"Did your brother tell you that I am extremely analytical, and that I am a spoken word artist?"
And with that, I opened my mouth, and shredded all her statements, bullet point after bullet point, using the appropriate words with my very normal accent. After all, I didn't grow up in yankee or jand.
When I was done, she was all "oh, I didn't know so so was the case. He didn't tell me this and that"
She obviously expected me to talk like the tiny illiterate she sized me up to be.
Anyway, I just shook my head. It was her brother I blamed cos we are friends and he knows the way I reason and should have warned his sister.
Last week, someone tried to manipulate me on Facebook. After the punch interview, I got loads of Facebook request. I normally don't accept Facebook requests from people I don't know. It doesn't even matter cos everything I post on Facebook is public (I use social media mainly for publicity) so my Facebook friends don't really have that much advantage over my non Facebook friends. Anyway, 5 days after the interview, I accepted some of the requests mostly from people I have mutual friends with.
Only for me to get a message that
Madam young under-30 entrepreneur Atilola, shey you see somebody cannot like something on your facebook wall now. shey you wee nor accept our friend request ni? ese gaan oYou see this message is typically designed to do something- make you feel guilty. They don't address you directly by your name. That's why she said madam young entrepreneur. She didn't just say Atilola, accept my request. She positioned her words to make me feel like the reason I didn't accept her friend request is because I have been featured as a young entrepreneur. These things are very subtle but they get the job done. They are designed to make you feel guilty, manipulate you and push you into a tight corner.
The mistake this girl made is that she forgot I'm a spoken word artist and word play is my game. She tried to sell ice to an Eskimo. I don't even know her from Adam. She should have just sent a polite message and I would have started chatting with her in a jiffy but she chose this path instead?
So what did I do to her? I considered replying her to tell her that she could have been more polite about her request instead to trying to be manipulative. But I did what I normally do in cases like this – I ignored the message, and faced my work, hoping she would just leave me alone and realise her error.
Anyway because of these two cases and many more, I wrote this poem below, and it is dedicated to all spoken word artists and everyone whom someone has tried to scam at their own game.
You can fight me with money, knives, guns, wealth, influence or insults
But please don't fight me with words
I am a spoken word artist
I use words to make you laugh, cry, reflect, dance, fall in love, condemn or praise
It is my skill and trade
I do not know how to insult
I detest vulgar language
But I can bend words to do my bidding
They are my weapons
So please don't fight me with words
Cos if you do
It won't be a fair battle, it won't even be a war
It would be cold blood murder!!!