Dasan Ahanu

Dasan Ahanu

BandSpoken WordHip Hop

A rebellious blend of spokenword, hip hop, jazz, blues, and soul music. Intense lyricism over inspired production. Storytelling at it's best. Well placed metaphors and well used imagery covering a variety of topics. On point delivery and excellence stage presence.

Biography

Dasan Ahanu is a public speaker, organizer, workshop facilitator, poet, spoken word performer, songwriter, writer, emcee, and loyal Hip Hop head. Born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, Dasan has used his southern roots to craft his own brand of creative expression. In addition to performing, Dasan is often asked to also host many poetry, jazz, Hip Hop events, and arts festivals across NC. Having performed with a number of notable emcees, poets and writers who are from or have visited North Carolina, he has amazed audiences from the underground scene to the college circuit as well. He has also been a regular in popular venues in cities from St. Louis to Texas. As an actor, Dasan has been a member of the cast of the “hip-hopera”, Right is Right and a Harlem Renaissance production, Images, which was featured at the National Black Theatre Festival. He is currently a member of Black Poetry Theatre and has been a cast member in two productions, Black Poetry and Herstory of Love: A Stronger Daye which he also wrote and co-directed. Since finding a passion for slam poetry Dasan has competed regionally and nationally as a member of the Charlotte Slam Team and started the first ever Bull City Slam Team in Durham, NC. A lyricist with a thirst for being on stage, Dasan is truly an artist with “presence”

Since falling in love with the stage and microphone, Dasan has also used his talents and connections within the arts circuit to aid in developing the community and pushing for change. He has worked as an organizer on such issues as war, social injustice, workers rights, domestic violence and sexual assault; taught with Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies; conducted creative writing and performance workshops for college and high school age artists; promoted Hip Hop as a tool for literacy with SCALE and it’s campaign with the University of North Carolina; and spent time working with at-risk/court-involved youth. A believer in the power of creative expression, he continues to be involved with cultural arts as a creative consultant and artist resident at the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham, NC and an artist-in-residence at St. Augustine’s College.

Dasan has promoted his own series of shows and collaborated with other promoters to provide some of the best arts and music events in NC. His work is featured often on NPR’s News and Notes with Ed Gordon and in online and print publications. Having signed with NC independent record label Amp Truth Records, he teamed with up and coming music producer Picasso to produce The Jim Crow Jackson Experiment. Their self-titled debut album is an amazing blend of spoken word, rap, soul, reggae, and blues. The album showcases both artists’ unique talents. This is Dasan's first major release, but his third CD. He released TPI: Twisted Panoramic Ideology in 2001 and The White Experience: Fall into the Page in 2004. Dasan also self published his first book of poetry entitled The Innovator in 2005. Following in the footsteps of artists from the Harlem Renaissance to the parks in Brooklyn, Dasan seeks to create art that tells stories that intrigues people’s minds, touches people’s hearts, and captures people’s attention.

Lyrics

Medusa

Written By: Dasan Ahanu

Medusa
Inspired by Sunset (Medusa), painting by Eugene Berman

They say gray clouds darkened sad skies
The day that cold got it’s name
Out of darkness a seed grew a vicious vine
They say the devil makes promises only night can keep
Womb corrupted in its sleep
So momma delivers what the night saved
Because the thorns were too sharp to keep
They saw it was a baby girl and began to weep
This is what wants can make
When bruises apologize this is what it creates
Born red, the color of hate
They named her medusa
Famed actress on a stage corrupted by love long gone
Mold settled but daddy never did
So only loneliness, not family portraits, accompany it on the wall
Momma dressed her in velvet and lace
But could never look her in the face
Seemed to turn her heart to stone
So if she never made eye contact
She wouldn’t remember her man wasn’t coming home
Hair grew long, anger boiled deep
It was like amber flames were ignited by her mind
Lava raging to her shoulders
Cooled by the moons that passed as she gained in age
Expressionless face gave a blank page
Eyes dark as ink, you could read your vanity
Left frozen in insecurity
They called her medusa
Product of a father who didn’t love her
Nurtured in uncertainty
Like it was the angel of death who hugged her
Mother didn’t know the contours of her face
But knew what she was shaping up to be
An actress longing for a role written for her
Not this existence written in pain
Or the shackles of dysfunction to which she was chained
She blossomed
Developed in intuition and in frame
Boys recognized the same
Knew her body before they knew her name
Told her lies that set in like mold
Covering her walls of wisdom
Tainting her rational thought
Not one of them knew the color of her eyes
Engulfing and rich black as asphalt
Her momma named her Medusa
Wrote her downfall on a birth certificate
She said that when death let go of her
They could use that same certificate when her life left
As if the period at the end of this sentence
No different that when she took her first breath
Punctuating her purgatory as over when she takes her last breath
How can you give a child no hope for her birthday?
No chance at sanity
When madness screws chaos
Only God can say let there be light
Two fallen angels can only say let this be the end
With the devil and death as friends
This is the family this little girl was born in
She’s 18 now
What is she supposed to do?
When the world doesn’t know what she looks like
When no one will face the circumstances
She won’t face tomorrow
Afraid she’ll corrupt her future
A mother, but no parenting
Daddy’s gone, no home
Look at how this child has grown
Feels she is alone
Because anybody that knows her true beauty
Has turned to stone

Brown Bag Daddy

Written By: Dasan Ahanu

Brown Bag Daddy

My father kept his whole life in a brown bag
Squeezed tight at the top to hold dreams in
Held to his mouth to drown his sorrows
Wash away his pain
Facing tribulation full on liquid courage
He kept his potential in a brown bag
Sin laughed on neighborhood corners
Wisdom spoken in slurred speech
Young eyes learned that nobody beats the bull
3 dollars for a malt from the ice cream shop
2 dollars for a Schlitz malt liquor from the corner store
5 dollar bill from my battered wallet
20 minute walk with your son to the store…priceless
Because a working man works to earn a living
And his living was in that brown bag
Not in child support payments
Not in school clothes or school supplies
Not in little league refreshments, basketball shoes, football cleats
No roses on valentine’s days
Only Wild Irish
And Mad Dogs see street life with 20/20 vision
Blind to role modeling adolescence
Trapped in a Boones Farm, 40 acres and a mule
Are 40 ounces and a jackass
Pissing away his life, love, and his child’s admiration
In park bushes, talking yesterdays as time ticks
And he’s hung over like necks hung from nooses
Because responsibility is prejudice against him
Leaving burnt bridges on his lawn
And white sheets covering his future
Tomorrow is dying
His liver is dying
His spirit is dying
His son is crying
His mother is crying
Optimism is hopeless, no half empty or half full
He sees the world in pints and fifths
And holds his life in a brown bag
Works construction all day
Guzzles lust like a six pack
Six baby mommas, 8 children, no remorse
Heavy hand, smacks brown sistas
Loves brown sugar
Relishes brown bags
In it, he puts everything he has
So don’t tell me about heartache and ups and downs
Until you’ve seen your happiness go at the bottom of a bottle
And it comes with every open top
Don’t talk about obsession til you wake up and realize you can’t stop
When sobriety is worse than insanity
And everyday is better straight up no chaser
When melanin is corroded by wheat and barley
When your son grows under your nose
And your first love weeps and hardly
Recognizes you anymore
When the bag you claim…claims you
And your body is bagged, twisted tight like corner store treasure
And I can’t pour out a little liquor for you
Because I can’t stand to have your blood on my hands
Holding on to your grim reaper
When you’ve run out of time
And I sit crying trying to remember the good times
Realizing you didn’t leave anything behind
No legacy
No inheritance
No estate
No memories
No wife
No accolades
Just a brown bag and an empty bottle of wine
My brown bag daddy

Special

Written By: Dasan Ahanu

Special

I felt special
Like the first flower dawn finds when the sun decides to shine
When you smelled pride
Pointed a wanting finger that Uncle Sam recruited my adoration
A young star
That found the spot where I could glimmer in your eye
On that woven stage in the center of the living room
In a house that held few successes
See daddy treated his dreams like his women
Paid little attention to them and failed to keep them all
But he had me
And in that living room he could show his friends what God destined me to be
So I performed…everything my imagination could craft
It was my responsibility to make my daddy laugh
Tell me who teaches a man resilience
Because the Marlboro Man only shows you the picture of strength
And leading men in movies are edited into significance
Daddy went through lies like cigarettes, packs a day
Crumbled after work like reels on the cutting room floor
Until the show began
And I brought back his smile for an encore
We grew…both of us
I grew up and he grew tired
Puffed ignorance and blew away hope
But I never lost my aspirations; guess it was the second hand smoke
2 men in the cycle of life at different points
Only a matter of time
Before our relationship flat lined
9:15 pm
I told him I was leaving and never coming home again
Shooting star aiming for a better way
Tension was thicker than the air that day
Holding back tears knowing I was taking his smile away
Couldn’t maintain when I realized he had nothing to say
The last time I saw him he was crumpled
Edited into a dramatic tragedy
Smoke from will burnt out filled the air
Nothing but despair the last time I looked in his eyes
The next time was for closure
His eyes closed, the casket closed and I blow smoke through my nose
Depression grew like Cancer
Blackened his spirit in chaos til he was coughing up confusion
Lost his will and then wrote one
And put himself out on that woven stage
Last act of man who played with promise
That day he turned that living room into his ashtray
Now I pull on cigarettes
Trying to suck daddy’s love into my soul
Bought my first pack after I left that night
It was 9:45 and I never felt closer to him
Still seeking smiles
Standing on stages, making a living finding room in peoples minds
Blowing hope into the air
See daddy I make every venue home
I raise the mic up whenever I touch the stage
So you can see how much I’ve grown
You hear ‘em daddy, the response
So please…smile
Smile daddy
Point that wanting finger and Uncle Sam recruit my purpose
Wrapped in God’s deliverance
I found strength looking to the spot where divinity glimmers in the sky
The star you saw in me, but you came to be
Smile daddy
I pull on cigarettes trying to capture the time we’ve missed
Exhale and blow my love to you with a kiss
And remember what it means to feel special

Jewelry Box

Written By: Dasan Ahanu

Jewelry Box

I once heard an old woman tell a tale
Of a jewelry box handcrafted by God
Decorated in determination and adorned with scars
Jewels of insight and experience gained from overcoming
Painted the color of milk and honey
An abundance of blessings held together by confidence
Hinged on an undying belief that you can only rely on self
A jewelry box tinted in Jesus’ tears weeping at its beauty
And whispering salvation and redemption onto its frame
A closed box guarded by will
A gated community where possibility exists
Separate from faux watches
Ill intended time keepers who believe it’s only a matter of
Before they can claim residence
And simple metals coated in promises
That turn into excuses and green eyed envy
I sat amazed at the story
That God labored to make something so beautiful
A gift given to a man who didn’t deserve it
And the last hope of a man who didn’t get to keep it
But whose name is carved into its forever
I wondered if I would ever see something so beautiful
Could ever deserve such a gift
The old woman warned that it was a locked box
And the key was hidden
Buried under preservation and survival, reservation and distrust
That the box had persevered but had not been opened
Not since the day of its last etching
Marking possible as past tense and closed to tomorrow
I shamefully asked if she had ever seen it
Where could I find such a treasure
Is it held securely in the care of someone who can afford this prized possession
Is it in a museum on display
A testament to strength and promise
Or protected by gatekeepers who fear ill intent
She said no
Riches, fame, or status shine under the beam of its brilliance
But it doesn’t impress it
It will not be held or contained
Needs no protection from outside forces
Its destiny is written in heaven
And it will be opened when it believes again
This old woman said God crafted a jewelry box
That would tempt men’s souls
Fuel aspirations, foster success, and inspire angels
Raised off the wisdom Jesus whispered onto it
A precious gift
That had decided to cast aside its key and stay closed
She said the heavens sang a saddened song
Harps resonating thunder, high notes cackling lightning
Grey clouds full of concern and skies darkened by despair
Because that box was supposed to hold hope
I was enthralled, intrigued, and doubtful
That this was no more than folklore or eloquent rambling
Until I saw it
That jewelry box
Behind a bar at a club where escapism moved to enslaved rhythm
Pain lost in liquor
Insight amplified to the frequency of castaways and vagabonds
Saw that everyone marveled at it
Held its beauty in my memory
Until the day I had a dream
That I was visited by an Angel dressed in crème
With that box where her heart should be
I was energized by her smile
And caught by her words
She showed me the effect of loss and the emptiness of affluence
Had 3 white doves hovering behind her
She fed them knowledge and taught them how to fly
Rode a golden carpet and hummed soulful melodies
I was overcome by respect and appreciation
Tried to reach for her but couldn’t
Realized I could only admire her from afar unless she willed me close
I desired to know the insight she offered
Sit at her side and share instance
Knowing each piece of time would be meaningful
I wasn’t seeking forever just for a moment
But with each reach she retreated
Putting both hands over that box where her heart should be
I stumbled trying to catch her
Woke up covered in the sweat of that labor
And reflected on that old woman, that Angel, and that box
Hand crafted by God
Decorated in determination and adorned with scars
Carried in the chest of an Angel
That I may never truly come to know other than in my own imagination
And heralded on the tongue of tomorrows
Who warns the present and speaks prophesy to the wind
Tells of a key that may never be found
And a heart that may never be opened again

Discography

2001 (self released CD) TPI: Twisted Panoramic Ideology, Dirt Road Entertainment
2004 (self released CD) Dasan and Dr. Mindbenda presents The White Experience: Fall into the Page, Dirt Road Entertainment
2007 (label released CD) The Jim Crow Jackson Experiment, Amp Truth Records

You can sample music and poetry at:
www.myspace.com/dasanahanu
www.reverbnation.com/dasanahanu

Set List

Available for spokenword feature sets ranging from 20 minutes to an hour. Music sets from 15 minutes to an hour.

Available for workshop/performance combinations as well. Workshops are 1-2 hours. Performance is 30-45 minutes with short open mic.

DJ or Band is available.

If a band is involved set is 30 minutes to an hour and a half. If hour and a half set is booked then it is split into 2 sets with a 15-20 minute intermission in between.