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Peacocks and Other Savage Beasts

by Tenesha The WordSmith

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Tenesha The Wordsmith presents a hard-cutting, gut-wrenching, and extremely moving spoken word album produced by Khalab that brings together different lines of black music – folkloric, jazz, and electronic dance – into an afro-futurist narrative with thunderous results. ‘Peacocks & Other Savage Beasts’ lays bare difficult truths and projects the stories of hidden voices, with a warm and heartfelt delivery that envelops the soul.

The poems are dedicated to the intersection, the places where we contemplate identity, culture, trauma and love. ‘Peacocks & Other Savage Beasts’ is a place where they all meet. “I hope between these lines you find healing,” says Tenesha. “I hope your compassion for others grows. I hope you will make the decision you were afraid to make. I hope you will learn how to turn pain into power and purpose. Decide which type of beast you want to be and if you can’t make up your mind, watch the women…”

Originally from Oakland, California, “a place where revolutionaries are born,” Tenesha the Wordsmith originally began to fuse hip hop and poetry while living in Albany, New York, where she created her first collection ‘Body Of Work’. Her early influences have returned with features from beatboxers and vocalists that give the album a distinctly urban hip hop vibe.

Blending music and poetry is also a distinct nod to the unique rhythm of the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is now living. ‘It’s a place filled with art, music and romance,’ says Tenesha.
“I write about what I want to celebrate; family, community, resilience, and hope. I also write about what I want seen; poverty, racism, sexism and trauma. I want to put into words concepts that I struggle with on a personal level that are also concepts that exist on a broader human level. After hearing me perform or reading something I write, I want people to celebrate what is good but under-appreciated and I want people to think about the way they think and question what they value. It seems like I want to do a lot with just a few poems but, words are powerful...”


released August 30, 2019

Words: Tenesha Smith
Music and Production: Khalab (R.Constantino)
Sax on 'Again': Tamar Osborn
Synth and Fender Rhodes on 'Peacocks...' and 'Bastard' by Giovanni Guidi
Mixed by Khalab & Knuf at Snob Studio


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Tenesha The WordSmith Oakland, California

My love for poetry and music was born through my life in Oakland, Ca and the unique rhythm of the San Francisco Bay Area. I loved going to poetry readings at local independently owned book stores and, there were always free concerts in the park. Blending music and poetry is my way of paying tribute to the Bay Area. A place filled with art, music and romance. ... more

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Track Name: Why White Folks Can't Call Me N*gg*
Why White Folks Can’t Call Me Nigga
Because you ain't my comrade
you have not felt the rage of seeing your people beaten
your outrage shouted down by oppressors claiming
and having no recourse except silence
feel your skin grow tight around your body
trying to contain anger that has become a family heirloom
generation to generation
watching from the belly button window
born understanding that they will not be understood they will be
the anger turns itself inward
pushing from within
fight or flight
I’d rather you called me nigger say what you mean
I live as an accoutrement to your life entertainment
anthropological study
a paragraph in a history book
you are Atlas contemplating shrugging
my shoulders are heavy but you claim the burden don’t call me nigga
you ain't from where I’m from
I was raised at the intersection of Frederick Douglas
and Marcus Garvey
the village warned the children to be careful of what they said in front of white folks so we became
ambrosia and kool aid
high rises
low rents
drinking champagne out of plastic cups whispering the ideals of black nationalist while mouthing the national anthem
oh say can you see
you can’t see me
been living beside you for hundreds of years building communities brick by brick but
you can’t hear me
been here before Isabella commissioned it we kings
we queens
among cave dwellers
you don’t know me
You can’t call me nigga because
you don’t believe in black angels
haven’t accepted the fact that a
blue eyed, blond haired Jesus
would have died in the desert
you haven’t accepted the fact that
black represents the presence of all things black is everything
the spirit of god is black
You can’t call me nigga because
the word is code for brotha
and we ain't kin like that
your appropriation of my culture has not been by my permission
Don’t call me nigga because
my humanity is more important than your swag because Dylan Roof was not a lone gunman he walked into that church on a foundation of laid by white supremacist
he will be tried by a system that perpetuates white supremacy
his actions were motivated by propaganda promoted by pop culture
You can’t call me nigga because
5 year olds should never have to play dead on church floors
My niggas understand a part of me that rose up from the ashes of the Antebellum South but still feel the rawness of
my niggas understand that racism is a white man’s madness
because the south lost the war because of the Jena 6
Nia Wilson
Mike Brown
Trayvon Martin
the achievement gap
mass incarceration
police brutality
because the branches of our government bear strange fruit because fuck you
White people can’t call me nigga because they don’t know who they are
To be a nigga
to not be a nigga
that is the question
a conversation white folks simply are not invited to

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