Warsan Shire. Who?? Yes, Warsan Shire. The name may not ring a bell to most Kenyans, that is unless you are a serious poet. But the 27-year-old is one of the women whose works have extensively featured in Beyonce’s new visual album, Lemonade.
Shire’s poems; Women who are difficult to love, the unbearable weight of staying and Nail Technician as Palm reader, have been used in Lemonade, alongside works of five other black women.
Shire was born in Kenya in 1988 to Somali parents but grew up in London where she pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing at Brunel University. In 2013, Shire became the first winner of the Young Poet Laureate competition and a year later, was named Queensland (Australia) poet in residence.
Her poems gravitate towards love, passion and conflict with the recent narration of experiences of refugees featured in numerous publications.
She has spent extensive time in different countries learning different cultures and in exchange programs including Germany, Italy, South Africa and Kenya.
Lemonade includes Shire as one of the writers/producers and in one of the videos, Bey is seen holding a poetry book that includes poems from Toni Morrison and Nina Simone.