Keeping it Real

Aisha George, a.k.a. Flo-Real

Photo By Larry Dalton

Aisha George, a.k.a. Flo-Real, is a self-proclaimed “goof-nut.” She also was named this year’s best female spoken-word performer at the Sacramento Sounds of Soul Black Music Awards. For Flo-Real, poetry doesn’t always have to be painful to be powerful. You can catch her blend of comedy, erotica and social consciousness on Tuesday nights at the Stoney Inn (1320 Del Paso Boulevard), where she is one of the house poets. And she often can be heard during Wednesday open-mic nights at Sweet Fingers Restaurant (1704 Broadway).

What do you call your style?

It’s not really a type; it’s just spoken word. I guess I’m a three-dimensional poet. I write erotic poetry. I write poetry about the struggle of everyday life, about our people, our culture, about love, all of that. And I’m a goof-nut, all day long. Whatever I’m feeling, I just write about it. I’m not one of those poets that um … we call them “mustard and mayonnaise poets.” Meaning that the same style of poetry, you know, “I put my mustard on my mayonnaise just like this.” There are some poets where you could put five onstage, and they’d all sound the same. You will not get that with me at all. People will tell you, “She’s wild on stage. She’s totally different.” Definitely not mustard and mayonnaise.

What condiment are you then?

There’s not a condiment that really describes it.

Perhaps it’s this Grace Hot Pepper Sauce on the table here.

Well, with some of the erotic poetry, it could be. It could be.

So, when are you a goof-nut, and when are you more serious?

I look at the crowd. Whatever vibe I’m getting from the crowd is what I’ll do. I have poem called “Dooky-Tooth.” It talks about an abscessed tooth. It’s like when you are meeting a person, and everything about that person is perfect, except when they say hi. And then you’re like, “That’s what’s wrong. That tooth.” I’ll do “Dooky-Tooth” at the Stoney Inn, but if I’m around the 30-and-up crowd, I’m going to do something a little more conscious, or maybe the love stuff. It just depends. But I don’t ever really alter myself. I’m going to be real regardless. That’s why they call me Flo-Real.

So, do you do political stuff?

I have some conscious pieces. I call them conscious pieces because they kind of make you think. But I don’t have any pieces where I’m talking about Bush and Iraq. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but the world is filled up with so many of the same type of poets. My goal is to be different.

I have a piece called “I am a revolutionary.” It kind of starts off, “I’m black, ya’ll. I’m black, ya’ll. I speak revolution. I breathe revolution.” Then I just go into it: “Man, I’m so tired of that word. All these poets using it in every sentence and every poem you’ve ever heard.” And then I talk about if you’re a revolutionary, why aren’t you doing something in the community? I’m making fun of the people out there who are pretending to be revolutionaries, or who claim to be activists, who look down on other poets like myself who talk about love or do comedy. They say, “If you’re not talking about the struggle, if you’re not talking about revolution, then you are wasting people’s time.”

I don’t believe that. Poetry is an art, and it comes in so many different forms. Whether it’s love, comedy or conscience. It’s still poetry; you can’t put it into a box. I may not be militant, but I still consider myself a revolutionary. In the Bible it says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”

Is Sacramento a good place for what you do?

It’s getting better. It could be better as far as poetry and entertainment go in general. It seems like people are scared to do things. You know, with the different events they try to have here in Sacramento, the different festivals and things they try to have, it’s always someone fighting or someone acting up. So, they sort of restrict Sacramento from doing certain things, or try to shut Sacramento down at a certain time at night. It’s just that the police and law enforcement is kind of iffy about giving everyone that inch, because they feel people are going take that inch and run with it and do something crazy.

So, it could be better in that aspect. San Francisco, L.A., Oakland—you don’t have that. It seems like there are people that are here and want to keep it a country town; they seem to have a problem with Sacramento expanding and doing new things. I’m not saying it needs to be a party town, but it would be nice to have a little bit more to do. Instead of always having to go to Oakland or San Francisco to see a show or see a festival. But it’s getting better. And there’s a lot of fellowship here, which I like a lot. When something is happening, people come out of the woodwork and represent and support it.