SHORT BIO

d'bi.young anitafrika is a queer Black feminist artist, United Nations speaker, Canadian Poet of HonorInkTalks/TED speaker and YWCA Woman of Distinction. The internationally celebrated African-Jamaican dubpoet, dramatist, educator, director and dramaturge is also a 3 time Dora Award winning writer-performer for her epic triptych of plays The Sankofa Trilogy and The Orisha Trilogy.  anitafrika's groundbreaking creative praxis - the Anitafrika Method - uses the Sorplusi Principles as an intersectional anti-oppression human development framework, which is studied and practiced globally by artists, instigators and policy-makers. d’bi is the founding Artistic Director of Watah; Canada's only professional theatre company that offers year-long tuition-free artist residencies to Black and diverse artist-instigators. She is also the founder and CEO of The Sorplusi Institute and Sorplusi Publishing, a research-based social enterprise with a micro press extension producing and publishing works by Black and diverse creators. Author of 7 plays, 7 dub albums and 5 books, d'bi has toured nationally and internationally. She is currently creating the first ever Dub Opera, tackling global environmental issues through a large-scale political musical entitled Lukumi (previously titled Bleeders and recently funded by Canada Council through the New Chapters grant), scored by her Afro-fusion-Reggae band The 333. Lukumi garnered the Summerworks NOW Magazine Audience Choice Award for it's first workshop presentation in summer 2016. Catch d'bi this season, along with a stellar cast, in the world premiere of Lukumi.

 

MEDIUM BIO

d'bi.young anitafrika is a queer Black feminist artist. Canadian Poet of Honor and YWCA Woman of Distinction in the Arts d’bi.young anitafrika, is an internationally celebrated African-Jamaican dubpoet, playwright-monodramatist, arts-educator, director, and 3 time Dora Award winning theatre maker, whose trans-disciplinary work explores themes of identity, gender, sexuality, divinity, the erotic, race, class and the human experience. She is the creator of the human development framework – The Anitafrika Method using the Sorplusi Principles – which has been employed by The Stephen Lewis Foundation, The Banff Centre, U of T, MaRS, and other institutions globally. For the last decade anitafrika has mentored countless artists in North America, the Caribbean, Africa, India, South America and Europe through her world-wide performances, speaking engagements and arts-education projects. 

She has performed and lectured extensively internationally, including a recent address at the United Nations, and has written 7 plays, published 3 collections of poetry and produced 6 dubpoetry albums. Founder and Artistic Director of Canada's Watah Theatre and Sorplusi Publishing, where she fosters the professional development of emerging to established artists through the Sorplusi Principles, she has recently completed a dance apprenticeship at Coba (Collective of Black Artists) and a playwrights residency at Obsidian Theatre in Toronto Canada. 

A recipient of 3 Dora Awards, 9 Dora Nominations, a William Killbourn Award finalist, a KM Hunter Theatre award, a Mayor’s Arts award, a Vital People award and a Toronto Leadership Lab Fellow alumni, anitafrika recently launched her new band – D'BI. & THE 333 – with Sudanese master musician Waleed Abdulhamid, and has published her 3rd collection of poetry entitled OYA. She recently completed part 1 of Lukumi: A Dub Opera (formally entitled Bleeders), the 3rd installment of her critically acclaimed Orisha Trilogy. The Summerworks production recieved the NOW Magazine Audience Choice Award. anitafrika is now scripting part 2 of the musical. The Orisha Trilogy also features the Dora Nominated premiere play Esu Crossing The Middle Passage and the Dora Award winning follow-up piece, She Mami Wata & The Pussy WitchHunt. anitafrika lives on a mountain by a river in a forest, somewhere in the world, with her sons Moon and Phoenix.

 

LONG BIO

d'bi.young anitafrika is a queer Black feminist artist. African-Jamaican dubpoet, playwright, monodramatist, and educator d’bi. young anitafrika is internationally celebrated as a visionary storyteller, a passionate humanist, and a leader in the development of arts education. Her pan-African trans-disciplinary explorations of identity, gender, sexuality, class, and human experience make an indelible mark on the Canadian and global cultural landscape.

She is the published author of 7 plays (yagayah; the sankofa trilogy feat: blood.claat, benu, & word! sound! powah!; The Orisha Trilogy feat: Esu Crossing The Middle Passage, She Mami Wata & The Pussy WitchHunt, and Bleeders; 3 collections of poetry (Art on  Black, Rivers and Other Blackness Between Us & OYA), 6 dub poetry albums (including wombanifesto, 333, and #CivilRightsMixtape), a comic book set in Jamaica called Shemurenga: Back Supah Shero and a deck of instructional cards containing her Sorplusi Principles. Specializing in what she terms Biomyth Monodrama, anitafrika creates one-person theatre plays comprised of music, poetry, dance, and drama that chronicle the stories of global peoples and our quests for self-actualization through highlighting complex, multi-dimensional Black womxn protagonists. .

Having completed 3 global performance and teaching tours, anitafrika has shared the stage with New York times best-selling author and advocate Janet Mock; Zimbabwe’s celebrated singer-songwriter Oliver Mtukudzi; legendary African-American poet Saul Williams; South Africa’s literary genius Rustum Kozain; and renowned Ivory Coast storyteller Werewere Liking. She has also participated in art projects featuring Leonard Cohen, novelist Margaret Atwood, Sri Lankan-Canadian poet Michael Ondaatje, Somali-Canadian rapper K’naan, and world renowned singers Alicia Keys, Angelique Kidjo, Annie Lennox, and Sarah Maglachan. anitafrika was invited to be a guest speaker at India’s Inktalks in association with TED where she presented stories of three womxn: a survivor of childhood sexual trauma, an hiv positive womxn, and a young girl coming of age. A headliner at numerous festivals and conferences worldwide anitafrika has featured at: The Black Feminist Forum/AWID in Brazil, Thinklandia in Victoria, Poetry Africa in Malawi, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, Goteborgs Poesifestival in Sweden, Kosmopolis in Barcelona, Bushfire in Swaziland, Manifesto in Canada and Jamaica, Badilisha in Cape Town, Canwest Cabaret toronto, Calgary International Folk and Spoken Word Festivals, Vancouver Folk Fest, Havana International Reggae Fest, and Toronto’s International Dubpoetry Festival. She has also appeared on Def Poetry Jam, starred in the Canadian sitcom Lord Have Mercy alongside distinguished jamaican actor Leonie Forbes, and is an original dora-nominated lead cast member of ‘da kink in my hair.

EDUCATOR/INSTIGATOR

For the past decade, anitafrika has mentored countless artists through her world-wide performances, speaking engagements, and arts-education projects. She has worked with theatre companies, universities, cultural organizations, and social institutions across North america, the Caribbean, South America, Europe and Africa including the United Nations, the Banff Centre, MaRS Discovery District - Studio Y, the University of Toronto, York University, Ryerson University, George Brown College and the Manifesto Festival of Art and Culture.

From 2011 to 2012 she worked as Curator at the Africa Centre in Cape Town, South Africa in their Badilisha Poetry X-Change program, a global podcast platform featuring Pan African poets from within and outside of the continent of africa. In 2008 she founded anitafrika! dub theatre in Toronto Canada and proceeded to design and facilitate two tuition-free twelve-month national residencies for emerging playwrights instructing them in her Biomyth Monodrama model and assisting them in formulating their own solo performance shows. This initiative grew to become Yemoya, an international artist residency that combines arts training with wellness practices for the holistic development of people. The residency has been facilitated in Hawaii, Jamaica, The Bahamas, South Africa, India, the UK, and Canada. Over 50 artists worldwide have graduated from anitafrika’s Yemoya residency; many of whom have gone on to become celebrated artists, educators and activists. Former graduates of anitafrika’s Sorplusi mentorships include actor-playwright and entrepreneur Ngozi Paul from and photographer and community organizer Che Kothari, both from Canada; lecturer and performance artist Ria Hartley from the UK; from Zimbabwe, writer-activist Rudo Chigudu; writer-activist Raphael Cohen from the USA; and entrepreneur and writer Zeona Jacobs from South Africa. 

Through her work in Africa, the Caribbean, North America, and Europe with under-serviced youth and emerging artists, she has created the Anitafrika Method using the Sorplusi Principles, a personal and creative development methodology that cultivates holistic self-actualization through arts education. The method is widely used by national and global change-makers. anitafrika received a grant from Toronto’s Women’s College hospital to conduct research using the Sorplusi Principles as a health intervention for young Black womxn. She was also invited by the Stephen Lewis Foundation to design the Arts Activism and Aids Academy grounded in Sorplusi where she facilitates workshops with womxn who work at the forefront of the aids pandemic in sub-saharan Africa. She is the founding Artistic Director of Canada's Dora Award-winning Watah Theatre and Sorplusi Publishing where she fosters the professional development of emerging and established artists.

AWARDS  

Monodramas have garnered anitafirka awards in Canada, Jamaica, UK, and South Africa. She is the acclaimed recipient of the YWCA Woman of Distinction in the Arts Award, the Women’s Resiliency Award, 3 Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Outstanding New Play (blood,claat 2006) and Outstanding Performance (blood.claat 2006) and Outstanding Performance (She Mami Wata & The Pussy WitchHunt 2016), the KM Hunter Theatre Award, the Toronto Mayor’s Arts Award, a Toronto Leadership Lab Fellow (2015-2016), 9 Dora nominations, the William Killbourn Award Finalist, and countless Best Solo Artist Awards and Critics Picks. As a Canadian Poet of Honour, d’bi. young anitafrika was recently featured as a top poet on CNN. She is also the recipient of a Vital People Award from the Toronto Foundation for her relentless commitment to social justice through the arts.

RECENT CREATIONS

D’bi.young anitafrika recently completed a dance apprenticeship at Coba Dance Theatre and a playwright’s residency at Obsidian Theatre in Toronto, Canada.  She has also recently launched her new band – D’BI. & THE 333 – with Sudanese master musician Waleed Abdulhamid and is currently working on her 3rd dub poetry album with the group. Having published her 3rd collection of poetry, OYA, she recently also completed part 1 of Lukumi: A Dub Opera (formally entitled Bleeders), the 3rd installment of her critically acclaimed Orisha Trilogy. The Summerworks production recieved the NOW Magazine Audience Choice Award. anitafrika is now scripting part 2 of the musical. The Orisha Trilogy also features the Dora Nominated premiere play Esu Crossing The Middle Passage and the Dora Award winning follow-up piece, She Mami Wata & The Pussy WitchHunt. d’bi’s primary current endeavor include raising her children, Artistic Directing The Watah Theatre, writing and performing monodramas and touring with her Afro-Fusion-Reggae band The 333.