Date Published: January 1 2021
Publisher: The Roaring Lion Newcastle LTD
Black ≠ Inferior is a collection of poems divided into 2 parts. The first part is a collection of thematically linked poems exploring Blackness and the myriads of issues it attracts. The second part oscillates themes— talking about consent, a query of death, a celebration of love among others. In his usual stylistic, this collection deals with weighty matters like race and colourism with simple and clear language.
In Black ≠ Inferior, we see Tolu’ Akinyemi reacting in response to the world, to issues that affect Black people. Here, we see a poet shedding off his burdens through his poems; hence, the beauty of this collection is in the issues it attempts to address. In this collection, Tolu’ wears a coat of many colours – he is a preacher, a prophet, a doctor and a teacher.
We see Tolu’ the preacher in these lines:
‘I wish you can rise through the squalor of poverty
and voices that watercolour you as under-represented.
I wish you can emblaze your name in gold,
and swim against every wave of hate.’
This is a collection of poems fit for the present narrative as any (Black) person who reads this collection should beam with confidence at the end. This is what the poet sets out to achieve with his oeuvre.
Can you tell us a little about the process of getting this book published? How did you come up with the idea and how did you start?
Ans: I had previously written a story titled ‘Black Lives Matter’ in my collection of short stories—Inferno of Silence. I would say the story birthed this collection as I felt the urge to expand on the subject considering the hurting year that the past year has been with racial tensions been on the front burner.
What surprised you most about getting your book published?
Ans: The great reception by early readers has been endearing and very heart-warming.
Tell us a little about what you do when you aren’t writing
Ans: When I am not writing, you can find me working at my day job as a Financial Crime Compliance Consultant. I currently work in my present role as an Incident Manager for a Tier 1 Investment Bank through a Global consultancy firm.
As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?
Ans: Very recently, one of my poetry collections won an award however I would say nothing beats the feeling of seeing my first book in print.
Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?
Ans: I get the best ideas either while I’m out running, basking in the tranquillity of the cool breeze caressing my skin. Also, I get great ideas when I’m in bed with my eyes wide-opened either in the early mornings or at the dead of the night. I love the tranquillity that nature offers and also the silence that the night offers gives me the opportunity to generate ideas without stress.
What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
Ans: There are negative critiques here and there, but I see criticism as part of an author’s journey. The moment a writer hits that publish button and open up their work for public consumption, then negative criticism should be expected.
Personally, I do not weigh criticism received against one another, so it’s not an issue but a part of the writing experience.
What has been your best accomplishment as a writer?
Ans: Becoming a published author has been my greatest accomplishment as a writer. Knowing that I would not go to the graveyard with all these books as unpublished manuscripts.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Ans: At the moment, I have no unfinished books, however it’s only a matter of time before that narrative changes.
About the Author
Tolu’ A. Akinyemi hails from Nigeria and lives in the UK where he has been endorsed by the Arts Council England as a writer with “exceptional talent”.
Tolu is the author of seven outstanding books which includes, Dead Lions Don’t Roar (Poetry, 2017) Unravel your Hidden Gems (Essays, 2018) Dead Dogs Don’t Bark (Poetry, 2018) Dead Cats Don’t Meow (Poetry, 2019) Never Play Games With The Devil (Poetry, 2019) Inferno of Silence (Short Stories, 2020) A Booktiful Love (Poetry, 2020). Two poetry collections, “Black ≠ Inferior” and “Never Marry a Writer” are scheduled for publication in early 2021.
A former headline act at Great Northern Slam, Crossing The Tyne Festival, Feltonbury Arts and Music Festival, and featured in various Poetry Festivals, Open Slam, Poetry Slam, Spoken Word and Open Mic events in and outside the United Kingdom.
His poems have appeared in the 57th issue (Volume 15, no 1) of the Wilderness House Literary Review, The Writers Cafe Magazine- Issue 18, GN Books, Lion and Lilac and elsewhere.
His books are based on a deep reality and often reflect relationships, life and features people he has met in his journey as a writer. His books have instilled many people to improve their performance and/or their circumstances. Tolu’ has taken his poetry to the stage, performing his written word at many events. Through his writing and these performances, he supports business leaders, other aspiring authors and people of all ages interested in reading and writing. Sales of the books have allowed Tolu’ donate to charity, allowing him to make a difference where he feels important, showing that he lives by the words he puts to page.
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