He bounded up the stairs brimming with his award winning smile. He’s the type of man that smiles with his entire existence. “Sorry I’m late, let’s get going!” Words are effortless for him. Not only are they very much a part of him, he seems to understand words on a sonorous level. Based in Bristol, U.K., Solomon O.B. is a young spoken word artist – a figure seemingly leading the charge of a rising media.
On this particular day, Milky had the wonderful opportunity to watch a collaboration he was creating with Speakman Sound. Watching him was like watching someone who had been doing something for their entire lives – no instructions necessary, just feeling. He could feel the beat before you could hear it. He spoke of poetry and words like he couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Having won the prestigious Hammer & Tongues 2016 Spoken Word Competition, it’s safe to say this is probably exactly what he is meant to do. What caught our eye, was his beautiful short piece titled ‘Outside In’.
His poetry raises questions of color identity, mental health, and what it means to be human. His poem ‘Patterns of Behaviour’ opens with ‘I’m not being funny but, I’m sick and tired of being accused of accusing somebody of being racist.’ He sat confidently and comfortably on the couch as I asked him about his own journey as a performer through racism and his relationship with both black and other communities alike. He had a very simple answer that has stuck with me every day since – “Fighting for people doesn’t only have to come from gunshots and yelling. Some of the most powerful fights can be won by just saying the right thing. That takes patience.”
Later that night a few friends went to a performance he gave in Hootananny Brixton. They came back stunned. One even went so far as to say he had never felt so connected with someone he had never met. No words could truly describe how wonderful Solomon and his words are – though if anyone could come up with them, he’d definitely be the one. He is a leading voice for this generation and Milky very much hopes to see much more work from him in the future.
The following is a photo essay by Max Kindersley of the studio recording session.
Photography: Max Kindersley