" In the Easter of 2005 in Barbados on my gran Gran's porch I became Birdspeed. I physically broke out of an invisible box by dancing to the beat of my own drum with a unique style unfamiliar to me but familiar to my genes. My body was emblazoned with anger, sadness and resentment from previous trials which led me to carry out the powerful movements that I did. I remember it like it was yesterday. My legs and arms cut through the air and gathered so much speed that I was almost afraid of what I was doing. There was no goal, my purpose was just to dance and feel something. Every movement obliterated the next and for the life of me I couldn't remember how the dance was built even if I tried. It was the moment I first freestyled, the moment I found so much peace and sense under the influence of so much chaos. It was the best feeling I have ever physically felt. And this is why I call myself Birdspeed. In Bajan slang it means "to move real fast". So it is an adverb. I am physically doing something. I am a movement. I am in the process of becoming what I want to be. I am never still. The world is never still. Even when I stand in silence, my body is doing a dance so complex I am still trying to understand it." (Birdspeed, 2007).
Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa, 25, aka Birdspeed was born in South East London, England to a proud West Indian heritage. She was raised in both Barbados and in England and uses her ancestry, memories and socio political narratives to compose her artistic practices.
Safiya attended the Royal High School, Bath (2002 - 2007), and continued her education at Bath College (2007 - 2009) where she emerged as a political and motivational speaker as the Equality and Diversity Officer and then President of the Student Union the following year. Safiya has always being a passionate character as expressed through her dancing and political endeavors. Determined to unite artistry and academia Safiya achieved a first degree at the University of Leeds in BA Cultural Studies and then an MA in Dance Cultures at the University of Surrey. Her thesis, which focuses on the corruption and devaluation of movement within the black female body in popular culture, set in motion her courage to bring her critique to the masses as well as academics. Safiya decided as early as 2009 after winning various public speaking contests that she wanted to be a prominent voice in black feminism.
Birdspeed became Safiya's spirit for performance in 2005 (as stated above in an extract from her diary). As a cultural theorist Safiya has created her own unique platform to provide a fresh new voice to black feminism. From writing songs since 1998 Safiya added spoken word/ rap to her repertoire officially in 2010. Although Safiya was always a naturally gifted dancer, at the age of 14 Safiya developed her own unique dance style which can be described as a hybrid of African dance and modern contemporary dance styles. She is known for dancing at a very high intensity and was often invited to krump circles at hip hop conferences to perform her style. At 14 Safiya was discovered by the Swindon Dance Academy where she trained until 2009, nurtured by her mentors and world renowned dance teachers Safiya was exposed to a beautiful new world of artistry. Despite starting professional dance training late Safiya's drive and dedication was demonstrated by studying dance technique for long hours whilst juggling her studies to achieve the professionalism required of a dancer. Safiya, now 26, has grown into a confident and inspiring young woman who has choreographed and danced for notable musicians including. Safiya loves teaching and is experienced in teaching dance to the elderly as well as people with physical and mental handicaps. Her extrovert and bubbly personality ensures that her rapport with her students and clients are always enjoyable and memorable. Safiya's achievements also include winning storytelling, spoken word and public speaking competitions, other crafts which she dedicates her time to.
"Being a black feminist does not mean I only care for black women and it does not mean I speak for all black women. It means that I acknowledge the trials and tribulations unique to the black woman, but that my work still has the potential to cast shadows on other political activist movements from other feminist and humanist groups. I do not tolerate any form of racism or sexism and chose myself as a vessel for artistic movement as I know the power of self reflection." (Bath Chronicle, 2009).
CV available on request.