YWCA 2015 Woman of Distinction in the Arts, d’bi.young anitafrika, is an internationally celebrated African-Jamaican-Canadian dub-artist, arts-educator and theatre director, whose work explores themes of identity, gender, sexuality, class and the human experience. d’bi is a Canadian Poet of Honour who was recently featured as a Top Ten Poet on CNN and awarded a Vital People accolade by Toronto Community Foundation for her tireless commitment to social justice through the arts. She is also a recipient of two Dora Awards, a KM Hunter theatre award, and a Mayor’s Arts Award. She has worked and lectured extensively internationally and has published numerous plays, writings, and dubpoetry albums. d’bi is the Founder & Artistic Director of Canada’s Watah Theatre Institute, where she teaches The Sorplusi Method, the personal liberation framework with a human development lens, that she has been evolving for the past decade.
how do we cultivate and nurture the artist as healer, the artist as teacher, the artist as leader, the artist as keeper of the sacred, and the artist as a whole human entity who mirrors society and helps to shape it circularly and inwardly. this is my primary motivation in life – d’bi.young anitafrika
d’bi.young anitafrika — artist & humanist
Canadian Poet of Honor d’bi.young anitafrika was recently featured as a top ten poet on CNN and awarded a Vital People accolade by Toronto Foundation for her relentless commitment to social justice through the arts. Founder & Artistic Director of Canada’s Watah Theatre Institute where she designs and facilitates residencies for emerging to established artists, anitafrika is an internationally celebrated African-Jamaican-Canadian dub-artist, arts-educator and theatre director, whose Pan-African trans-disciplinary explorations of identity, gender, sexuality, class and the human experience, continue to make an indelible mark upon the Canadian & global cultural landscape.
Published author of ten plays, two collections of poetry, six dubpoetry albums, a comic-book featuring a female super shero called Shemurenga and numerous anthologized writings worldwide, anitafrika has worked extensively across Africa, the Caribbean, Europe & North America, lectured at national and international institutions and addressed the United Nations. Over the last decade she has been meticulously developing an extensive human-development anti-oppressive framework called the Sorplusi Method which is rapidly becoming a reference point for national and global change-makers. Women’s College Hospital awarded anitafrika a Women’s Xchange Grant to conduct research using the Sorplusi Method as a health intervention in the lives of young Black Women. She was invited by The Stephen Lewis Foundation to design The Arts Activism & AIDS Academy grounded in Sorplusi.
Heavily lauded, anitafrika is the recipient of the Women’s Resiliency Award, a Dora nomination for her spellbinding role in Trey Anthony’s ‘da kink in my hair,‘ two Dora awards for her coming-of-age monodrama Bloodclaat, the KM Hunter Theatre Award, and the Mayor’s Arts Council Award. Her latest solo performance piece is She Mami Wata & The Pussy WitchHunt on gender, sexuality and divinity. It runs March 24-28, 2015 in Watah Theatre Institute’s Audre Lorde Works-In-Progress Theatre Festival at DanceMakers Centre For Creation in Toronto’s Distillery Historic District. She is also working on her 3rd dub poetry album Dark Matter Dub.
dbi333.com | watah.org | yemoya.org
afrikan-jamaican-canadian dubpoet, playwright, monodramatist and educator d’bi.young anitafrika, is internationally celebrated as a visionary storyteller, a passionate humanist and a leader in the development of arts education. she is the published author of eleven plays (solitary, yagayah, domestic, androgyne, she, blood.claat, benu, & word! sound! powah!, nanny, she mami wata & the pussy witchhunt), two collections of poetry (art on black and rivers…and other blackness…between us), two dub poetry albums (wombanifesto and 333), and a comic book featuring a female super shero (shemurenga). specializing in what she terms biomyth monodrama, d’bi. writes one-person theatre plays comprised of music, poetry, dance, and drama that chronicle the stories of global peoples and our quests for self-actualization.
recently completing her third global tour, performing and teaching, d’bi. has shared the stage with zimbabwe’s celebrated singer-songwriter oliver mtukudzi, legendary american poet saul williams, south africa’s rustum kozain and ivory coast’s werewere liking. she has also participated in art projects featuring canada’s leonard cohen, novelist margaret atwood, sri lankan-canadian poet michael ondaatje, somali-canadian rapper k’naan, and world renowned singers alicia keys, angelique kidjo, annie lennox, and sarah maglachan. most recently d’bi. was invited to be a guest speaker at india’s INKtalks in association with TED where she presented three stories of womben: a survivor of childhood sexual trauma, an hiv positive womban, and a young girl coming of age. a headliner at numerous festivals worldwide d’bi. has featured at: poetry africa in malawi, zimbabwe, and south africa, goteborgs poesifestival in sweden, kosmopolis in barcelona, bushfire in swaziland, manifesto in canada and jamaica, badilisha in cape town, canwest cabaret toronto, calgary international folk and spoken word festivals, vancouver folk fest, havana international reggae fest, and toronto’s international dubpoetry festival and at the united nations. she has also appeared on def poetry jam, starred in the canadian sitcom lord have mercy alongside distinguished jamaican actor leonine forbes, and is an original lead cast member of da kink in my hair.
d’bi. has worked with theatre companies, universities, cultural organizations, and social institutions across north america, the caribbean, europe and africa. from 2011 to 2012 she worked as curator at the africa centre in cape town south africa, of their badilisha poetry x-change program, a global podcast platform featuring pan african poets from within and outside of the continent of africa. in 2008 she founded anitafrika! dub theatre in toronto canada and proceeded to design and facilitate two tuition-free twelve-month national residencies for emerging playwrights; instructing them in her biomyth theatre model and assisting them in formulating their own solo performance shows. this initiative grew to become YEMOYA, an international artist residency that combines arts training with wellness practices for the holistic development of people.the residency has been facilitated in canada, the uk, south africa, india, jamaica and hawaii. the initiative grew even further becoming canada’s watah theatre institute, a professional theatre company and professional development centre for emerging to established artists.
her monodrama trilogy sankofa, featuring the plays blood.claat, benu, and word! sound! powah! most recently played at tarragon theatre in toronto canada and was an overwhelming success. sankofa is being published in 2015 by playwright’s canada press and will be packaged with a dvd version of the trilogy. d’bi’s one-person shows have garnered her awards in canada, jamaica, uk and south africa. she is the recipient of the canadian poet of honor award, two dora mavor moore awards for outstanding playwright and outstanding actor, the canadian km hunter theatre award, the toronto mayor’s arts council award, the best spoken-word artist award and numerous best solo artist awards.
through her work in africa, the caribbean, north america and europe with at risk youth and emerging artists, d’bi. has created a human development methodology called the sorplusi method that aims at the holistic self-actualization towards community mobilization, through arts education. she teaches this methodology globally, primarily through watah theatre institute, the YEMOYA residency and the stephen lewis foundation arts, activism and aids academy, which she designed and facilitates. over fifty artists worldwide have graduated from d’bi’s residency and have gone on to become celebrated storyteller themselves. d’bi. has also been invited as a keynote speaker most notably at the university of toronto, york university, ryerson university, greenpeace canada, the feminist art conference, manifesto festival of art and culture and the united nations.
having completed three global tours of her albums wombanifesto and 333, d’bi’s current art projects include: a biomyth monodrama entitled she mami wata & the pussy witch/hunt, as well as a new dub poetry album, currently untitled. her currently long-term project is a theoretical text on the sorplusi method.