One thing that excites us at The African Writers, is the growth of young budding African Writers who defy all odds to make things happen.
Ella Forte is one writer whose journey we have followed with keen interest. Her dedication, tenacity and the skill with which she churns out quality content makes her stand out from the crowd of young budding spoken word artists.
It is no wonder that she found her way into the Dare 2 Dream competition and ended up winning the Performing artists category. The Dare 2 Dream competition is a youth empowerment platform set to channel young creative talents into entrepreneurship.
Let’s meet Ella Fortté, the young poet whose talent, skill and attitude coupled with support from the community spured her on to emerge as the champion of the competition.
TAW: Tell us about the young girl who became Ella Fortté. What led her here?
Ella Fortté: Ella Fortté has always been Ella Fortté 😉, born Emmanuella Alile to a physiotherapist and a medical doctor. Growing up I was always the “black sheep” no, I wasn’t bad (I think😂) , I just saw and did things differently from what others did, and because of that simple fact very few people ever really understood me, so I turned to reading everything I could get my hands on from novels to encyclopedias on different topics just to transport myself out of my reality into a different one, it sort of became a lifeline for me, it wasn’t long before people always wanted to hear me speak or they’d come asking for advice and I always had something to say, it just kind of spiraled from there…
TAW: Was there a defining moment that made you realize this was what you were born to do?
Ella Fortté: hmm, a defining moment, sincerely I can’t say there was one, there were actually a bunch of little events that led to this, a word here, an uplifted mind there, yea, it was just a bunch of little things that made me realize spokenword poetry is me.
TAW: Did you receive support from family and friends?
Ella Fortté: 😂 😂 Luckily I have always been somewhat of a very loved child, both by family and friends, so yes, the support I received was overwhelming, my aunties in the UK sent videos saying how proud they were, friends from around the world constantly dropped messages stating that they believed in me, so yea, the support I received was MASSIVE!
TAW: What were the tools that helped you to develop your craft over the years?
Ella Fortté: BOOKS!! I can not overstate the importance of reading, it expands your mind and takes you to universal planes you didn’t even know existed! Also, learning from the poets from different times, watching, listening to and reading their works helped me develop my craft.
TAW: Why spoken word and not other writing forms?
Ella Fortté:Official answer to that would be the fact that it was very obvious to me that that words I penned down were not satisfied with being only on paper, they demanded to be spoken… But the unofficial answer would be I was always to lazy to write😂😂, I’d rather talk than write, on a serious note though I could connect to spoken word poetry on a much deeper level, and when I’d listened to spoken word, I could feel the exact emotions the poet feels when they speak, it always gave me a sense of belonging, I wanted to help other people feel that too.
TAW: What is your writing kryptonite?
Ella Fortté: Sometimes ideas come up too fast for me to jot down and I end up not writing any at all. I’m also a very lazy writer😥. I think procrastinating probably is the worst one, but I still get the job done, so I’m a productive procrastinator, now that I think about it, this is perhaps the reason I still procrastinate! 😂😂
TAW: What inspired you to enter the Dare2Dream competition?
Ella Fortté: Well, sincerely? I just saw the banner and I decided to enter. I didn’t even know what I was getting into when I entered, and considering the fact that I am not a very spontaneous person, doing that was definitely outside my comfort zone, but it was the BEST spur of the moment decision I ever made. Quick learning moment: “Take the leap!” Planned or not, it very well could land you on top of your dreams, and I’m speaking from experience!! 😉
TAW: Were you at any point intimidated by the other participants?
Ella Fortté: I don’t think I was ever intimidated by any of there other participants and I don’t mean that in a cocky way. We were all just doing very different forms of art and it was difficult to judge say dance and spoken word, I respected their arts, but I was much too focused on ways to make mine better to be intimidated.
TAW: You mentioned that on the night before the finale, you were missing your lines. What gave you the courage to continue and eventually ace it the next day?
Ella Fortté: You guys!! You all gave me the courage to continue. I remember after posting that story about forgetting my lines and how much it was getting to me, my DM’s BLEW UP!! I had so many people that I didn’t even know where following my journey send messages saying they knew I could do it and I should stop worrying so much, I got love from EVERYWHERE, at that point I realized that the competition and my performance was not about me, I was merely a representative of something bigger, that realization helped me put things into perspective and as a ripple effect helped me deliver a near perfect performance.
TAW: Inspiring! What words came to your mind the moment you were announced as the winner?
Ella Fortté: I DID IT. Those were the words I kept screaming over and over again, then Denrele hugged me and said the exact same words in my ear “you did it.” I think that was when a tear slipped out, I did not cry though, I just had water in my eyes for a few minutes.😂😂
TAW: (Water? LOL. We love your sense of humour. ) What is your advice to young spoken word poets who have dreams of winning poetry slams?
Ella Fortté: Like Nike, just do it!! What ever “IT” is. Leave your comfort zones, listen to other people perform, learn from them, don’t ever feel too big to learn, and read, read and read even more!!! Don’t be so bothered about the likes or views you may or may not be getting, just work on honing your craft to the best of your abilities, take masterclasses, polish your communication skills, it is also very important to note that while we as poets speak our truth , we should do it in a way that others can relate to, that really is the power of poetry… Lastly don’t give up. I know that may sound cliche, but it’s the truth! Keep pushing and one day you’d be surprised at how fast things would start working for you, who knows, you might even win the Dare2dream season 6 competition.😉😉
TAW: What’s next for you?
Ella Fortté: what next for me? Lol!! A whole lot is in the works, just follow the journey!! 😊😊
We sure will. Congratulations Emmanuella! We know greater things are coming.
To you who is reading, We believe this has inspired you to go out and chase that dream that is dear to your soul. It is not enough to wish, take action.
Keep writing! #TAWCares