This biography will be regularly updated to keep up with Safiya's journey.
Birdspeed is Barbadian slang meaning “To Move Real Fast.” Birdspeed originally referred to Safiya’s unique dance style which incorporated rapid body movements and her athleticism.
Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa (who also performs under the alias Birdspeed) is a British-born Barbadian-raised artist of Barbadian and Jamaican descent. She has the ability to captivate audiences by effortlessly weaving poetry, storytelling, satirical humour and dance/movement. Her poetry (page & stage), which predominantly focuses on her Caribbean heritage, braids rhythm, science, dance and technology.
Safiya was recently announced a recipient of the Jerwood Arts| Apples & Snakes Performance in Poetry Programme and the winner of the 'New Voice in Poetry Prize' courtesy of Culture Recordings. This year she was shortlisted for the Outspoken Page Poetry Prize and Longlisted for the Film and Performance Prize.
After being discovered at 14 years old for her dance talent by Marie Mccluskey MBE and Viv Slayford, Safiya was trained at the Swindon Dance Academy where she was taught by renowned practitioners such as Namron and Kenneth Tharpe CBE. Her passion for critical thinking ensued and she achieved her Bachelors in Cultural Studies at Leeds University while continuing her dance training. Determined to unite her artistry and academia Safiya explored dance form and theory to challenge the mystifying existence of "Blackness" in popular culture, regarding its simultaneous stigmatisation and commoditisation. This encouraged Safiya to carry out a Masters in Dance Cultures. Her desire to coalesce her research with her practice is what would lead her to develop her arresting style of performance and innovative writing, which is constantly evolving.
In 2019 Safiya became the first person to win the BBC Edinburgh Fringe Slam Championships, become a BBC 1 Extra & Asian Network Talent Search finalist and the Hammer and Tongue UK Poetry Slam Champion in the same year. Aside from winning numerous slams in the UK Birdspeed is also a multi- slam winner in the US and has won over 16 titles in the States. She also performs internationally and has headlined in city venues across New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Los Angeles. Notable US venues include the Bowery Poetry Club, NYC and The African American Centre, Philadelphia. In 2019 Safiya also wrote and performed her first play, The Firebird at the Salisbury Theatre Playhouse.
Her work is published in the following journals and anthologies:
The Caribbean Writer Journal Vol. 34, The Amistad, Birmingham Literary Journal, Finished Creatures, Alter Egos (Bad Betty Press, 2019), Words on Windrush Anthology (Empoword, 2019), Word's First (Own It, 2019).