Young local artist inspired by anti-racism movement

A young local artist has praised the organisers of a talent show for paying tribute to the global Black Lives Matter Movement early in the week.

Samita Sauituamaalii Samuelu, who was among a host of artists who were invited to perform at the Taumeasina Island Resort’s Local Grown Talent Show, told the Samoa Observer that the tribute on Tuesday was beautiful and capped a great night. 

“This is the first time that I have performed at Taumeasina Island Resort. It was a beautiful beginning, and as a young local artist, we try to pay tribute to what was happening in the World today – The Black Lives Matter Movement, through music. It is an amazing feeling, to see our local artists take the stage and it was indeed a great night,” she said.

She said her highlight of the night was the debut of two new artists, who were attending the show, and also the support shown by their family and friends who were there to witness the event. 

“Debuting our two new artists, the Powerful Poet Daniel “D Untold” J Koria and our youngest Girl Powerhouse Tasi Fatu Tuitama-Roberts to a lively crowd. The night was all about empowering our youths to showcase their talents which is the music to our people and of course the support from the crowd, family and friends were just amazing,” she added.

Ms Samuelu said her father, the late Dr. Rev Fuamai Samuelu, was a big influence on her budding music career.

“My father was a songwriter and a singer too; he always plays his guitar every afternoon around our house. My talent stemmed from being forced to entertain all my relatives at our weekly barbeques through singing duets with my dad,” she said. “My father loved all types of music and I am just like him. I remember we would play Slow Rock and sing Mustang Sally one day and then I would whistle country tunes while he plays jazz. However my type of music is soul, rock and roll and blues with a moderation of rap. Music is my therapy and it’s a different feeling when I sing I feel at peace.”

Ms Samuelu debuted at the 2019 Tatau Festival, which she described as a highlight of her life as she was able to share the stage with a number of international artists.

“I was able to share the stage with amazing International artists such as Fiji and Tenelle, both artists whom I looked up to and I grew up listening to their music. It was amazing getting feedback from them,” she said.

Going back to the theme of Tuesday’s Local Grown Talent Show, Ms Samuelu said her generation needed to speak up and correct what the past generation chose to ignore and overlook.

As a member of the not-for-profit organisation Brown Girl Woke (BGW), she said they had a saying: “Pay the kindness forward!”

“Being in the BGW has made me realize the power that I have along with the next generation. We are the next ancestors and we will be the next leaders so it is important to speak up and correct what our past generations chose to ignore or overlook,” she added. “Black Lives Matter is incredibly significant because how can we live in a world where a man has to beg for his basic right to breathe air. As a Samoan citizen whose own people went through enslavement and oppression how can we not find significance in Black Lives Matter?”

She believes there is racism in Samoa but it manifests itself in a different way and points to humour which can be made out of ignorance and offensiveness. 

“Racism is taught and so can correct and kill it from our shores. This goes hand in hand with what I said about the youth being the new generation,” she said. “Samoa has always viewed people with lighter shades of skin colored as beautiful and those who are of darker skin tone as something to mock and make fun of. It’s in our everyday vocabulary with the word “Meauli” when we should be using the word Tagata Uli.”

The other artists who took part in the talent show included: Stranger Joey, Jerry, Daniel, Forrest, Ina, Space dance crew, Elijah and Junior Tasi, Uncle Joe and Desmond Rokeni Tacy.

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