Abigail Langi-- Spoken Word Artist


[Abigail Langi performing her spoken word piece and being backed up by her aunty Neti Taumoepeau (676) and her mom Lavinia Taumoepeau. Special thanks to Maikolo Ika for the awesome picture!]

In the past few weeks I have been working with my niece Abigail Langi on a spoken word piece that she composed to perform at the Island Groove Concert! I wasn't able to get a video recording of her performance but it was absolutely amazing!!!

I am posting below her poem and her introduction of the H.Y.P.E. Movement which was infused with Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" with a little twist in the lyrics to fit her experiences and her poetry. She is only 12 years old, but she can hold it down with some of the very best poets out there! Much love to the PALE Foundation for creating the platform for her to perform!

Introduction of the H.Y.P.E. Movement
Pacific Islanders in school districts all over the United States represent one of the smallest student populations but are among the highest dropout rates. Since the year 2000 the incarceration rates of Pacific Islander young men have tripled, our suicide rates have doubled, drug use has become common place and the death rates due to gang violence have increased by 110%. The HYPE Movement, which stands for Helping Youth Pursue Emancipation is our way of breaking free from these negative trends and uniting our youth and raising our voices to make a positive change! I dedicate this poem to every young Pacific Islander in the struggle!

[singing]
I’m gonna make a change
For once in my life
It's gonna feel real good
It’s gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right

As I look at my fathers’s eyes
My mother’s fateful cries
Their pain is blowin’ my mind
I see my friends in the street
Without a heart to beat
Who am I to be blind
Pretending not to see their needs

A fatherless Tongan child
Alone and suffering trials
With broken hearts and dreams
There’s more to life than
This I know
And so it’s time to let it go
That's why I want you to know

[Abby's spoken word]
I want you to know about the
Screams of my mother crying
Voices of my father yelling
Me sitting in a corner
Being put through this torture
Many nights I cried
Waking-up with blood shot eyes
Thoughts would race through my head
As I lay silently in bed
I love them both so much
That it hurts to even think
Or imagine
The sadness of separation
Caused by acts and thoughts of desperation
I want to make things better for me and you
But I am just a child—what am I to do?

My friends tell me “not to worry… it’s all good”
As they continue to skip school and do drugs
To prove they are “down for their hood”
But I can’t help but see how there is no gain
In their choices that only bring more and more pain
I want to stand up and make a change
But another day goes by
I suffer alone in silence
As I wonder why
It’s so hard for us to try
To break free
from all the negativity

Just because the color of our skin
Doesn't mean that we shouldn't win
Just because our cousins are locked up
Doesn’t mean that we have to give up
Just because we might have doubts
Doesn’t mean we aren’t brown and proud
Just because we were born and raised on the Westside
Doesn’t mean that we don’t have dreams inside
I know it’s hard sometimes,
Without a doubt
But we are strong and fierce
We know what we’re about
Mou'i manatu ki ho tupu'anga
Means our past is our legacy
But we, we create our own destiny
If you dream it
You can achieve it
If you believe it
You can be it
Life is full of the good and bad
The happy and sad
We don’t win by counting smiles and frowns
We win because we stand up
Every time we fall down
If you hear my voice
Then you know you have to make a choice
Live the H.Y.P.E.
Let go of the fear and pain
Live the H.Y.P.E.
We have so much more to gain
Live the H.Y.P.E.
Only we can make this change
I’m getting up
I’m taking a stand
For once in my life
I’m livin’ the H.Y.P.E.!

[Singing]
As I look at my fathers’s eyes
My mother’s fateful cries
Their pain is blowin’ my mind
I see my friends in the street
Without a heart to beat
Who am I to be blind
Pretending not to see their needs

A fatherless Tongan child
Alone and suffering trials
With broken hearts and dreams
There’s more to life than
This I know
And so it’s time to let it go
That's why I want you to know

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make that change

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make that change

Saturday, July 18, 2009

2 Comments:

IWA (e - va) said...

That poem was awesome and sooo inspirational!

I wish I was there in person to see/hear it!

way to go Abigail!

George said...

Abigal you truly are an artists. Your poem had tremendous emotion and much food for thought.

Please keep up the good work.

Mabel Harris Wishart