Words designed to Intimidate

It's very funny when people size you up and think they can just manipulate you anyhow with words even when they have no point.

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 o
You 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.

She didn't even consider that I might not have seen her request or I don't accept random request, which was the case here

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!!!


  1. So today has been a very good day for me..... going into Twitter nd finding sugabelle being stuck to her page for a few hours noticing how amazing she is at what she does.... But apart from all that awesomeNess she referred me to you nd now am here nd this is the first post am reading....and I am just happy I found you nd this blog..... wonderful post now...... i like your confidence in who you are "spoken word artist" nd how you have used who you are to defend yourself that's just heavy.... you have just won a follower

    1. Aww, your comment really made me smile. Thank you very much. I am encouraged to keep being myself because of comments like yours. Thank you very much.

  2. Ah ah, check out the poem now! Murder for real... if the cops come, I wasn't there by that time.

    Berry Dakara Blog

  3. Hahah. Let no one try it. Once you start like this!! Loool.

  4. Hahaha!

    But really those who send those kinda guilty messages like the second lady did are just not worth replying.

  5. First CONGRATULATIONS on your recognition as a young entrepreneur. Last week was tedious for me. I read the interview and saw the call out. Simply ignore it, some people just get bad belle o jare! I know how and when you started your hair journey and saw the advertisements. You are a very ambitious lady which is a trait some either admire or envy! So, don't let such sayings pierce your skin. Well done!

    Ok! My comment on today's post is that success has many fathers! So I am not surprised at the fb requests. Apart from the fact that you are a spoken word artiste, Nigerians esp Lagosians can use one word to mean two different things! An insult or praise! The tone of the word and the context it was used can determine if one is being cursed or praised! This I learnt in my the 3 decades of living in Lagos.

    What you explained above is one of the characteristics of some diasporas that grates on my nerves even when I was still in Nigeria and when I relocated! I sincerely don't understand the 'I-am-better-than-you-mode' they put on when they go back home! I once wanted to talk about this ish when I noticed it amongst diasporas here, especially those that believe their children are more intelligent than those born in Nigeria! But I let it go, so as not to look as if I am always putting diasporas down! But seriously, some diasporas should get off their high horse abegy!

    If you were wearing designers and bling bling, she would have been the one feeling intimidated because the vain-ess in some Nigerians is beyond description! People are judged by their outward appearances rather than what they have got inside of them! I am happy you put her back in the shoes she belonged in!

    I like the poem! I can relate with it and even paraphrase it with my own words, like;

    You can fight me with money, knives, guns, wealth, or influence!
    But please don't fight me with sarcasm and parables!
    I am as cunning as you are!
    I use undertones to pass a strong message to you!
    I learnt it from my elders!
    I do KNOW how to insult!
    I detest vulgar language, but never hesitate to use 'em!

    An enjoyable post. keep doing you!

    1. Thank you for your compliments. I really appreciate it. Your poem made me laugh my head off. Kai, anyone who comes near you is in for some serious gbege.

      Yes, Nigerian can use one word to mean so many things. It takes wisdom to distill the various meanings and treat them accordingly.

  6. Most times people who try to intimidate others feel insecure and inadequate deep down within themselves; so relating to people in a healthy manner is hard for them. It is a case of them and not you.

    1. Yes, it is not about the recipient, but the giver. It's good for us to know that not all battles need to be fought. We need to learn to walk away from most.

  7. If you ask me, you just fought with this article. I enjoyed the punchlines in it. Nice defence.

    Attackers beware of this spoken word artist. Aha!

    1. Thanks very much, lol. Thankfully, I don't use my art to attack. I'm more into edification. Thank God for that, lol.

  8. Well done Atilola, don't allow these words downplay your shine.

    1. Thans very much Lara. I appreciate your encouragement

  9. Kai it's been a while I got on here, I have missed this space... I see you haven't changed lol (no be insult oh). I love it when some smart talking human sees my quiet resting face and thinks they can intimidate me with words, chai e go be ke ke that day according to my ghanian cousins.

    1. Looolll. I can imagine you spitting fire. So you have Ghanaian cousins.

  10. Yes ma'am!!!!! Go on with your bad self!!!!

  11. Babe, continue to be yourself. Sadly there seems to be less and less confident women of substance around these days.

    I usually will block anyone with such a ridiculous message attached to a friend request. Is it by force?

    And the boy who needed his sister to get him out of a contract (even a verbal one), how old is he? 12? smh.

    1. Lol yes. He was a teenager, about 18 years old. You know how I love to work with young people.

  12. Silence a most powerful tool for 'Spoken Word Artist', a perfect irony.

  13. "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!!!" *helps her drop mic*


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