WITH THE ARTIST: AJ Addae

 

moonchild, i am.
my hair is dark and heavy
and filled with galaxies and meteors
and i walk in cargos with change in my pockets
as the cars go and escargot sits on my neighbor's’ dinner plates.
moonchild, i am.
my skin is painted from acrylics and strokes and
soil and smokes
and ashes and fire
and war and desire
and a, lion’s mane.
moonchild, i am.
my ears leak with pimp pimp hooray,
powder blue cabaret,
while i am surrounded by revoking royals in privilege,
blunt knives through your cartilage,
while my mom was stuck in orphanage
in 1996 and you dare ask me.
about the valleys on my forehead,
the rivers on my cheeks,
my cheekbones carved from graphite,
as armour for the distance
from the soil to the moon.
the soil that my grandmother cultivated
with high tides and full moons
like seeds of a savannah tree.

~"Ebony Moon"-AJ Addae,

excerpt from "Forget Me Nots"

photographed by Rose Ajegwu

photographed by Rose Ajegwu

photographed by Rose Ajegwu

photographed by Rose Ajegwu

 

AJ Addae’s is strong spirit on rise in the writing community. At only 17, she has already published her own poetry book entitled, “Forget Me Nots” and used her gift to emulate her own experiences and in turn grant a platform for others.

Addae’s repertoire is not a passive read but one that compels readers to look within but also step outside of themselves. She explains, “I like sitting down with the audience and undressing their beliefs… I like to write a lot about the human experience. These topics definitely make the reader uncomfortable but they allow the reader to seek healing. Addae derives her passion for writing from social and music industry greats such as  NoName, Toro y Moi,  Angela Davis, Solange, Roxanne.

The ink in her pen bleeds powerful compassion and allows readers a safe space to feel and process their emotions. To Addae, love is both the greatest subject matter and greatest tool in writing a piece. As a writer, she strays from a traditional allotted time of putting pen to paper, and instead benefits from continuously carrying around her notebook, recording the world around her, molding it into a skillful art piece.

photographed by Luis Aponte

photographed by Luis Aponte

The writer’s main focuses are women and the experiences of femme culture. However, through this lens, she does not only wish to cater to this demographic. She says, “I feel like I have 1010 women inside of me and listening to just one of their voices inspires me”.

She is comfortable with her growth as a writer and an artists and believes that writing rather than being a continuous path to perfection is instead reflective of who we are at different stages within our lives. Her advice to writers is: “Criticism isn’t fixed. Sometimes I look back on my book and say that person is completely different”.

AJ Addae is a vital contribution to the writing and creative communities because of her sincerity. In speaking with her, her demeanor is earnest and soft. She shows strong self-awareness but also comfort in the complexities that life can bring. When she is not writing, Addae can be found exploring her other talents and contributing to several multimedia projects involving photography and fashion. She is a sweet contradiction as a Biology major and an English minor. However, this pairing only contributes to her devotion to helping others. “I want to save lives… At some point I'll save lives with [Biology]”, she says, “ but sometimes I’ve related with a piece so much that it's put my feelings into words, some pieces have saved my life. I want to help save lives”.

 

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