The True Poetic Justice
They say a woman with class and favor showcases it in her walk and the way she carries herself. But when you have a multi-dimensional woman that can’t be placed in a box, you just call her a WOMAN. Nina “Lyrispect” Ball, the gifted spoken word artist from Baltimore Maryland, has been seen showcasing her talents on stages, known and unknown, yet many really know her.
A woman that enjoys the finer things in life, like fishing and horseback riding, Nina loves that people enjoy her craft. But she wants people to understand that she has no limits when it comes to her art. Her fluidity when she steps behind a microphone is serious. But the words can catch you off guard. If you wanted to compare her, although you can't, you could say she reminds you of Lauryn Hill – the talented singer/rapper who used conscious lyrics to awaken our thinking. Or maybe a female version of Lupe Fiasco – the Chi-town born rapper who leaves people stuck with his lyrical content.
Regardless of who you want to compare her to, she’s creating a lane for herself that not many people twice her age have been able to travel. A lane that has led her to open for acts such as Mos Def, Eric Benet and Raheem DeVaughn; facilitate a poetry workshop for the young girls of Black Girls’ Rock and host ReelBlackTV. She’s able to do all this because she is a multi-dimensional woman.
“I have a lot of stuff still up my sleeve,” she said in our face-to-face interview on Sunday.
One of those things includes writing a book. A book that would of course, include poetry. It’s obvious our poetic sister won’t ever stray away from that. That’s why the monthly open mic that she hosts with four other dope poets, collectively known as Spoken Soul 215, has increased in numbers since it’s birth a year ago. The Harvest is held every first Wednesday of the month at World Café Live in Philadelphia. It brings together every form of art on one stage. From dancing to rapping, from music to tapping, the performances at the Harvest render many proud to be a part of the arts culture.
"Everyone is represented on the mic," said Nina. "You really never know what you're going to get. You can go to any other open mic you like, but you will not have a harvest experience anywhere, except at The Harvest."
And when it comes to giving back, Nina can be found doing it locally and nationally. As a career counselor for YouthBuild charter school, the angelic help that gets young people, ages 18-21, back in school to get their diplomas, she helps young adults stay motivated and transition to the working world. It was Beverly Bond who chose our gifted Nina as a program facilitator for Black Girls’ Rock. Although the recently televised award show recognized black women, young and old, Nina is a part of the ongoing movement. She helps every other weekend facilitating her own poetry workshop.
“It generally takes up my whole weekend,” she stated. “Taking the bus to New York and then coming back to Philly. But I can honestly say it’s one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.”
When asked about the girls: “They are so great. They are really smart and talented. I absolutely love working with them.”
An alum of Temple University, Nina has honed her craft beyond the four walls of a college classroom. A gift like this is birthed, not learned. To say she teaches is an understatement when you hear what she has to say. Whether teaching our young black women to embrace who they are and love that they are a "black woman" or stepping on stage to perform her latest spoken word piece, Nina has placed a significant mark in the arts world.
"You have to own that you are a black woman," she said on what makes a strong black woman. "It's one thing to know it, but you have to own the fact that you are a black woman. So many woman don't like being black and may not even appreciate their womanhood, but once you own it, that's what makes you strong."
It's safe to say that Nina "Lyrispect" Ball has definitely proven her strength as not just a black woman, but a strong, multi-dimensional woman who embraces her ethnicity.
For more information on Nina "Lyrispect" Ball, step into the arts world at the links below: