Spotlight on Culture: J’miah Nabawi
Callaloo loves culture, and we like to bring attention to people and organizations that do great cultural work. For the month of November we’re highlighting J’miah Nabawi. J’miah is a storyteller/writer/performer. We had the opportunity to ask him a few questions for our Q&A session.
Question: Describe your work as a storyteller/writer/performer? What inspired you to create your company and work with kids?
My performance style is high energy. It’s how I became known as the “action storyteller.” My performance style is based on the African-folktale story-dance-musical drama and my mentor, Dr. Kwasi “Mugafu” Aduonum, noted ethnomusicologist from Ghana, West Africa. My writing (books) mostly reflect the way I tell and “perform” the story as it’s portrayed in the book, if it’s a folktale. I created Books for Growing Minds ™ to preserve and perpetuate the many folktales and oral traditions that most publishing houses no longer publish or see as relative to today’s youth and monetary profit. It also exists to support family literacy and many social causes and initiatives that help people.
Q: Why do you love culture?
I’ve always had an interest in other languages, music, sounds, peoples, places and being enlightened by new information. Culture introduces me to life’s humanity in multi-faceted perspectives and in various colors and perspectives. I love and enjoy culture so much because “culture” always has something new to introduce me to.
Q: How do your stories and performances impact children?
I like to say that I speak the universal language of “play” when I perform.
The stories that I do are engaging, they encourage and generate participation and everyone is assured that without prejudice, she, he and they are qualified to “do” a part no matter the physical type, skin color, size, economic background or national origin. Storytelling, the telling of tales, can be very empowering to both the individual and the community.