Emoni Fela




Who is……… emoniFela

“…spirit first. earthchild by day. hu(e)man beeing AND doing. emcee. crimefighter by night. poet. thug intellectual. sk8r grrrl. nubian gangsta. emoDJ. baby of a pirate. the original and only funky fresh brown NINJA otherwise known in japan as straight dopeness – dookie love – computer groupie – baby yoda – musician – teenager – believer – debate champion – camera[gangster] – rock sox in golf carts- native washingtonian – i am love. i am truth. i am peace. i am spirit. i am freedom.
i am emoniFela…”

…It has been said that children should be seen and not heard. But contrary to this popular belief, emoniFela makes her presence known whenever she enters a room. A passionate poet, brilliant artist, and dedicated activist, emoniFela is more than just your average 17 year old. From the words that penetrate her tongue, to the bubbly personality stored within, Emoni is someone that the world will soon get to know and love.

Born Emoni Wilkins, Emoni changed her name to emoniFela after being influenced by the late, Nigerian artist Fela Kuti. “Fela is my hero!” “He had, and still has, such a strong presence in music.” “I can only hope to be half of the great that he was someday!” One listen to her music, and you’ll find easy to agree that emoniFela is one artist that refuses to be boxed. “I am inspired by so many different things!” Describing her music as Exotic Hip-Hop, one can only imagine where this kid is bound to take you musically. Whether she’s conveying the truth through her poetry, rhyming in front of a sold-out crowd, public speaking to the old and young, or deejaying at the local hot spots, Fela consistently leaves her audience wanting more.

Emoni recognized her passion at the tender age of seven when she wrote her first poem. Even at this youthful age, it was plain to see that a new star was on the horizon. As her writing matured, so did her desire to take her gift to the next level. She began writing lyrics and uniting them to music, making energy and emotion part of the collaboration. When people are surprised by my age because of my message, “Art and expression doesn’t have an age.” “I’m not ahead of my time, most are just far behind theirs!” says this teenage phenomenon. What began as just a hobby has now become her biggest passion. “It’s important to me how I come across in my music and how people perceive me as an artist.” “My biggest goal is not just to entertain you, but to inspire, empower, and educate you as well.”

As an aspiring emcee, emoniFela has been showcasing her talents to a wide range of audiences, most recently as the opening act for KRS-ONE. At the age of 12, she became the youngest artist to ever appear on Joe’s Place, a weekly radio segment on DC’s 96.3 WHUR. Her presence was so well-received that it prompted the producer of another local station, WPFW, to schedule Emoni for an appearance on Women with Voices. Before long, the hype was built and Emoni was seen opening for such legends as: Ursula Rucker, Raheem DeVaughn, Cee-Lo Green, Kurtis Blow, Slum Village, Talib Kweli, McRad, and Africa Bambaataa just to name a few. And although this area of recording is considered mainly male territory, Emoni says that she is confident enough to know where she stands. Her self-assured attitude as a well-rounded artist makes it easy for her to press against the odds to prove that real talent still has a place in the music industry, even as a female.

Fela pours her emotions into each and every song. One might listen to her voice and lyrical content and you’re tempted to draw comparisons: Lauren Hill, Rage Against the Machine, Mos Def. But listen a bit longer and those comparisons begin to dissipate as it becomes clear that while Emoni certainly channels the creativity of those who have come before her, she definitely has a style and flavor that are all her own.

Emoni’s music is deeply entertaining and transcends all gender-specific and age-related constraints. “I write about issues that affect me personally, as well as those affecting my community and the world.” “Whether it’s me, you, or the person sitting next to me and you, at the end of the day we can all relate.” Aside from music, Emoni works with several organizations and programs who are all dedicated to arts, education, and change. Emoni say’s music is simply her plateau to continue to bring awareness to the many causes she is fighting for, and she won’t stop until she sees some major changes in her time.

You may not know her now, but this young wonder is certainly one to look out for. Emoni says that her greatest accomplishment has yet to be unveiled and vows that she will not be just another kid rapper!

About Jamarhl Crawford