‘People of the City’ is Whats_On Africa’s version of the Proust questionnaire. This week we have the amazing poet and producer, Benjamin Bennett, founder of the popular London Arts platform Vocals and Verses.
How did you get here?
Have you ever heard about the birds and the bees?
Are you stressed?
It comes and goes in waves. Right now I’m trying to keep it under control as I have a few projects coming up that need to be executed before the end of the year. And the end of the year is coming up fast. A bit too fast for my liking.
If not yourself, who would you be?
Will Smith in the late 80’s/early 90’s. I think he moulded my definition of ‘being cool’ growing up. The clothes. The hair. The charm and charisma. The rapper-slash-actor persona. The wild yet endearing dance moves. I was so far from his level of coolness though. But I’d love to have experienced at least a day in his life to see if it was as fun being him as it looked.
Which living person do you most admire?
Probably my Dad. He’s a visionary like me, and he’s taught me how important it is to cling to your vision and trust that God will make it flourish in due time. Even when it seems like nothing is working for you.
Which place do you call home – and why?
London and Accra. I was born and brought up in London, but my heritage lays firmly on Ghanaian soil. Both places are where I feel I belong. They fight for the domestic title on a weekly basis.
What is a typical day in your life like?
Short prayer in the morning, eat Rice Krispies for breakfast (yes I’m a big kid), get through emails, think of various master plans, eat some more, have an attempt at writing something, eat some more, and then in the evening I find myself at whichever show/play/gathering the wind takes me. Sometimes the wind doesn’t blow and I find myself in my room watching stuff on Netflix, but that’s okay.
What’s the worst piece of advice anyone’s ever given you?
“With every action you take, try and make sure everyone is happy.”
Which film character do you most identify with?
Denzel Washington in Training Day! Okay, fine.
Name one book you think everyone should read?
The Famished Road by Ben Okri.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being in a great place regarding my relationship with God, and achieving my life long goals, which will subsequently create a legacy for my children.
What quality do you loathe in other people?
Arrogance. Confidence is fantastic. Arrogance is terrible.
What quality do you most admire in other people?
Patience. For me, it’s one of the cornerstones of a relationship, so it’s a necessary quality to have.
Benjamin Bennett is a poet and producer from South London, known mainly for creating ‘Vocals & Verses’, a spoken word and live music event dedicated to showcasing some of the finest poets and live music artists in the UK. His other exploits include ‘Project 1957’, an initiative designed to foster a greater sense of community amongst the Ghanaian diaspora. This recently led him to co-write and produce a theatre adaptation of renowned Ghanaian folklore, ‘Anansi’, which sold out twice at The Lost Theatre in London.