A couple of months ago, the internet did what it does best and it found me a 💎.cue a Facetime call with one such gem, Banji Chona, a call that wasn’t supposed to be anything more than touching base, a getting to know one another. However, we gradually fell into a great conversational rhythm, and it turned into something of an impromptu interview:
By the way, I had never done something like this but it came all too natural to me, considering I am an inquisitive, empathetic person. I LIKE to ask questions, I LIKE to see another human unwrap themselves to me in words.
So, when the opportunity presented itself as a chance to utilize these traits to show some love and shed some light on an artist that stood out to me, that was too good to pass up.
Speaking to Banji her accent is difficult to place, her voice is delightful, like the sound of like running water, like you’re opening a tap…soon, I figure out that she is a Zambian- born offspring of the diaspora (that topic alone deserves another write up), based in Manchester, Banji is to quote Azealia Banks, “studying some shit about political science.” And what she studies is not relevant. It is what she is, and more importantly, what she does. As we get more comfortable, she expresses her struggles as a young black child growing up in Lusaka, Zambia, an environment notorious like many other African countries for its highly traditionalist, conservative society, which does not provide the best breeding/stomping grounds for your friendly neighbourhood “negro de banni”: “…it felt like there was a plastic bag over my head”, she tells me.
“…like I was trapped…caged every time I was there.” And I sympathize with her on a major level.
However, this stifling environment contributed to what would become her own unique embracement of her Zambian roots, influencing the pride she takes in her melanin, which she wears like a shield and a crown.
You can find her work: here
And her online store: here