First ran into spoken word powerhouse Da Black Pearll (aka Tinitha Warren) ages ago at a Sol Testimony open mic with Pearll with me and comic K Jay featured on the bill. It was clear, right then and there, she had a unique voice. Profoundly compelling–forcefully articulate with stinging wit and impassioned, lyrical flow in a perspective that stuck up for women and girls without having to put males down. To this day, hers is a gifted pen.
Didn’t keep especially close track of Da Black Pearll over the years. But, we stayed aware of one another and, when our paths happened to cross, pleasantly exchanged words along the lines of, “We have to get together soon” you always swap back and forth with everybody haven’t seen in a while and mean to call but just never get around to it. However, we connected summer before last for an interview so I could write something about her. She was guest starring at this and that open mic, pretty much a regular for Desdamona and Kevin Washington’s Poets’ Groove at The Blue Nile in South Minneapolis. Doing consulting. Pulling a manuscript together. Now, she has the book out, The Nucleus. Brilliant prose-poetry it, hands-down, is a triumph.
Strong a performer as Da Black Pearll is, she doesn’t need a mic and pre-disposed crowd to come off tough. Her spoken word artistry speaks as well from the page as it does from the stage. Auspicious publishing debut, The Nucleus widens an audience for the mind, heart and soul of a significant artist. “What’s In Your Garden,” for instance, brings tender strength to its depiction of the quintessential young girl at risk, subject to that eternal pitfall, low self-esteem. An excerpt: “Fascinated with bling-bling/because they don’t think they shine inside/All jokes aside/they have forgotten how to be little girls/They bear the weight of the world/and it’s dealt them an unrealistic fantasy/selling their souls to hell, bidding their innocence farewell.” And there is the riveting “War-n-Love.” An excerpt: “I’m in love with a soldier/The war he is fighting, society created/When he wanted to feel loved/They made him feel hated/Stripping him of self-esteem and pride/Now behind bullets and gang colors he hides/I’m in love with a soldier/The war he fights he fights alone/He’s learned to call the streets his home.”
For roughly 200 pages you don’t so much read her poetry as experience it. In amazing depth. With fascinating immediacy. Let me break it down in plain language. It’s so rewarding, if you didn’t know how to read, Da Black Pearll’s The Nucleus would be reason to learn.