I just want to take this time to celebrate the love and commitment of two of my best friends, Dempstu (DJ) Simmons, and his new bride Keisha (EmpressZingha) Simmons. I saw their love grow from her being one of his fans to solid friendship to dating and now to marriage!
DJ is one of the primary spoken word artists in Barbados. His name is synonymous with positive, frenetic energy on stage and in life. Zingha is also involved in the arts, being a theatre practitioner, actor, director, stage manger …. you name it, she’s done it. And she is a powerful poet and spoken word artist in her own right.
I met them as members of the spoken word / poet / writing community in Barbados around 2011. I was, at that time, a superfan … I was introduced to DJ via a FB event. I needed to get out of the house and I was told about this poetry show, so, because of my love of the poetic form, I went, with no question. DJ was running the show that, I would come to realize, was an open mic, where people were encouraged to do their own work in front of the audience. After a couple weeks I – with some trepidation – went on stage myself and did my piece “Whispers”; the only poem I knew by heart at the time. I was so nervous that I forgot my entire second verse! Mortified, I expected to be booed off the stage, or subjected to a hook that would drag me off (anybody remember the Night at The Apollo?) However, the opposite happened, and everyone clapped and encouraged me to continue. To say the least I was hooked! (No pun intended!)
I became a super-fan, following DJ to any event that I was aware of. I realized that he and his group Rawt Iron at the time (alongside Adrian Green – another spoken word stalwart – and others who were their backing band) had a monthly open mic and show at the I’Akobi Centre, and I followed dutifully; which wasn’t hard, I lived pretty close to the venue.
While going there every week, DJ asked me for a favour one day, going across town to pick up this girl Keisha, who was a good friend of his, one of his fans, and who wanted to see him perform. I said yes, we hopped into the car and went to pick her up. From then I was introduced to this lovely young woman who fast also became one of my strongest friends. Before long, they were dating.
I’ve been through a lot with them – we became founding members of the League of Extraordinary Poets (LXP), they helped nursed me back to sobriety after my first night out getting drunk (I have finally gotten over the constant teasing…. you would have to ask them about it, I’m not telling!) and I’ve been there even when Keisha’s mom didn’t like DJ when they first met….
But now they’ve jumped the broom – quite literally!
I wish you both extreme happiness together, my friends and that wedding and the celebration concert after was EPIC! Here’s to many more!!!!
(And the title – yeah – one of our friends Ch’an came up with it….. She’s a Fairy…. you get the rest *grin*