(Photo by Stephen Rutherford, Intro by Danielle Altrogge)
Rafay Ansari is a wonderful man. He is a talented poet, MC and community builder from Cambridge, Ontario. I had the pleasure of meeting him nearly three years ago at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Montreal in 2013 where we were both rookies. He was representing Guelph and I was representing Saskatoon. We stood in a cipher circle- he spit rhymes and I hummed an overarching melody. The alley we stood in was filled with black and white graffiti. Time seemed to stop in that moment; there was only the cluster of us, and the sound. That is one of my favourite spoken word festival moments and I’m so glad Rafay was a part of it. Rafay has competed nationally ever since representing communities with heart, strength and resilience. He’s a national finalist and deserves every smidge of success. I am proud to call him a friend.
Rafay is the kind of person who is not only articulate, but a generous listener. He knows how to communicate. Rafay speaks hard truths about racism and oppression. He is brave. Rafay prefers to wear all black and hates pineapple on pizza. He is a traveler with a gentle soul and a wide-open lion heart. Rafay Ansari is a wonderful man.
KC: What kinds of projects are you involved in right now?
I’m currently in the process of writing a full length Hip Hop album which I hope to release in July with the help of a music producer by the name of Bliiit Beats. As well as writing a one man play which will consist of me acting out a scene as my 16yr old self, rapping about the situation, from that perspective of time. Than narrating what happened through spoken word as myself today from my perspective of it now.
KC: What’s your day job? What do you like about it? What’s challenging?
My days are spent mostly writing and rehearsing for shows, if not researching or promotional work. The past few years I’m been blessed to be presented with numerous literary opportunities from rap shows to poetry readings, to workshops for people of all ages. The most challenging part is remaining consistent, and not getting discouraged when the work gets slow.
KC: What’s important to you?
Love… They are many things important to me, but mostly, love. Love is how we connect, love is how we grow. Honestly, I feel like love makes the world go round. Maybe that’s just a gravitational pull, but same thing really! But I truly feel like love can/will change the world, once we truly love ourselves, and break away from societal standards. Just live and love, my friends.
KC: What is your experience with/impression of Saskatchewan?
Well, this is my third time in Saskatchewan, and I absolute love it out here! It’s so different than back home, yet has so many similarities! Not just from corporate chains, but like the people and poetry! Every time I’m here I’ve been met with so much love, so many people welcoming me into their homes, it’s wonderful! Saskatoon is becoming a home away from home, I really love it here, and I hope to come back soon!
Online works: “My Kulture” https://www.facebook.com/TheTribeOfAnsar/videos/1225623640795785/ “My 9/11 Experience” https://youtu.be/z3KybIrNVsA “Rhythm & Poetry” https://youtu.be/nltkvok1RUI