Many people have asked me about the meaning of title of my first chapbook Graffiti Nommo.  Nommo is a West African term meaning the creative word, or the spoken word.  Nommo also has a long history within traditional African spirituality.  Man, or muntu, shares the power to create with God through Nommo.  Man cannot create a physical thing out of nothingness, but can create a word, an idea, or an image.  Within this act of creation, man connects with God and a new thing comes into being.  Creating is the greatest act that a human can engage in and the closest that we come to the divine.

I chose to include the word graffiti preceding nommo because graffiti is a bold, rebellious, sometimes political act of artistry that is associated with urban life.  I was born and raised near Houston, Texas – one of the largest cities in the United States.  Naturally, I grew up facing the problems that African Americans often do in metropolitan areas.  80’s baby that I was, the crack epidemic hit my family hard and police brutality was a norm.  But also, I got to hear hip hop at its stage of purity, grow up in a family still struggling to maintain strong values despite the challenges, and catch enough remnants of the politicized 70’s era to shape me into an observant and well-rounded African American woman.  As a result, all that I have taken in over the past 26 years pushes out in colorful, sometimes rebellious spurts, onto stages and sheets of notebook paper just like graffiti.  My nommo does not come into the world softly; it rips into the atmosphere like a 12 pound baby  “tagging” whoever happens to be in the way.  Hence, the title of my first chapbook is Graffiti Nommo.  Thanks for your support and if you have not ordered your copy (I can’t imagine why not), secure it today from the link below.  Available in e-book and print format.


Nikala Asante