Peace Akintade

At just 20 years old, Peace Akintade is making herself heard. The African Canadian poet, public speaker and thespian was Saskatchewan’s Youth Poet Laureate for 2020-21 and uses poetry to share her experiences growing up in Nigeria, Kuwait and Canada and relearning her culture in the face of colonization.

An outgoing personality, Peace was introduced to poetry in her early teens through an Open Door Society youth program. She has been writing and performing ever since. “I participated in a lot of activities and workshops through the Open Door Society. I became invested in spoken word poetry, and that morphed into public speaking when they asked me to talk with other youth about being an immigrant in Saskatoon,” she says.

Peace is currently studying anthropology at the university. “It’s interesting to me that I’m attracted to a field that was created to study people shaped by colonization. How do I make this mine? I love words and art, so I want to explore the impact on culture and art of being westernized, how has that changed how people see art?”

“Colonization has changed how we see our own culture, even something as simple as clothing,” she says. “When I walk to the mall, I will wrap myself in cultural clothing as if it’s normal. It’s my way of saying that our culture is not just an extension of western influence, it existed for years and years before any western influence.”

For Peace, her clothes, like her poetry, are a form of activism. “Being a person of colour in Canada means you are always walking activism. Just sitting down in a public space carries an element of activism,” she says. “But I also want to emphasize black love, not just black trauma. I want people to understand that culture and history is integral to who we are, but it is not all we are—we are people first.”

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