Better known as AMA, Gweru born and Texas bred Amanda Badze is a unique young lady who epitomises talent and passion.
Having been based in Houston, Texas since the age of three, she studied Fine Arts with a Musical Theatre concentration at Howard University in Washington, DC, and is currently continuing studies online at the State University of New York’s Empire State College while taking the opportunity to reintegrate with Zimbabwe.
“My passion lies in the art of evolving, questioning, observing, and validating my existence through the power and vehicle of creativity, as well as utilizing it to face my fears whilst being as authentic as possible. I am practitioner of the visual, musical, and movement arts.”
AMA explains how music helps her to extract the beauty inherent in others during interactions and to understand the intrinsic, appointed information available for her individual evolution.
“I suppose i enjoy being creative the most, because it provides me with numerous opportunities to embody the aspects of being human which often elude the majority of us, and are instead, reserved for poetry and things of the sort.”
Unlike most artists, AMA does not let music genres limit her, preferring to leave the labeling to the observers. “It’s exhausting and I can’t be bothered – music is an expression of my individual soul and perspective, which is ever-evolving.” She further explains how her diasporian upbringing in the age of information resulted in her being personally or digitally influenced by every culture she has encountered. “Some of my musical inspirations, to name a few, are classical musicians such as Antonio Vivaldi, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach, Thomas Newmon, and Eric Whitacre.
I’m also inspired by Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Santigold, Kanye West, Charis Dondeli, Oliver Mutukudzi, Miriam Makeba, and Hanzo Gustavo. I also appreciate some pop music, and any and all Trap Music. Of course, and I love Cynthia Mare’s voice!”
Describing her career thus far in terms of challenges she has faced, she says, “My entire life has essentially been one big risk. Daily I feed on faith, hoping that this desire to sing, and share my heart with the world bears fruit. So then, believing in myself, ferociously, unapologetically, is the greatest challenge of my job as an artist.
Nobody can do it for me, and it is the glue and motivating fuel that keeps me going, that I may be able to use my gifts to ease the burdens of my family, who have always done their best to support my dreams, and the world at large. My biggest challenge has been coming to understand that the joy comes not in achieving any art related accolade, but rather, it comes in the gift of being blessed with the ability to acknowledge and bet entirely on something that God gave me. It makes life amazing to say the least!”
Speaking on her values, AMA emphasises that non judgement is key.
“Be and let be. I’ve learned that much is missed when we forget that hierarchy is a societal construct, and that everyone has something golden and intentional to be observed, contemplated, and integrated. Additionally, I’ve found that cultivating individuality, and expressing the unique self in as many ways as possible may very well be the point of all of this. The world needs to experience the treasures in you, and there is only one you, so be it!”
AMA aligns gratitude with remembering God. “I remain in gratitude for every great and worthy hero which our world has cultivated, and the stories, rich in wisdom, such entities have left behind for eternity, especially Jesus Christ.”
Expressing her love for her family, she says she appreciates how they are a constant reminder of one of the most fascinating ways in which love manifests in this world. AMA applauds the victory she has had in her struggle to regain her ability to define herself.
“I have managed to strip myself of the often limiting and trauma inducing labels that this world had ready-made for me to assimilate as a young, brown, African female.”
She adds, “I wish loving, celebrating, and believing in ourselves, wasn’t such an elusive task.”
Besides being involved in her family’s seedling production business when she’s not working in the Arts, AMA is also on the founding committee for a recently launched foundation; ZimboLove – a youth driven foundation dedicated to bringing the community together in order to meet Zimbabwe’s challenges in its own way.
“We are currently in the middle of a campaign, the “Red Chili Challenge” which is helping to raise money to assist the National Blood Service Zimbabwe in their efforts to make blood more affordable for patients during times of crises, as well as to encourage Zimbabweans to donate blood and be active in saving a life.”
The challenge, she explains, requires that the participant record a video of themselves eating a raw, red chili pepper, showing their reaction, nominating their peers to do the same, and uploading their video to youtube. Participants of the challenge are encouraged to go donate blood and/or money to Zimbolove Foundation via numerous options, all which can be found www.Zimbolove.com and on their Facebook page “ZimboLove.”
AMA hopes that in the next few years, Zimbabwean music will have taken a leading role in the international market. “We have so many stories to tell, and cultures to represent. There is great talent somewhere working and rehearsing as we speak. I encourage all Artists to create their own paths, and find a way to be themselves, regardless of how it is received.”
She adds, “Often we wait for tomorrow to share our truths, fearing abandonment of some sort, only to find that we are the culprit all along.”
Speaking on how she lost her native tongue along the way due to staying abroad, learning in an all English speaking school and watching a lot of TV, AMA says she is happy that she is currently relearning Shona, and is accepting as many teachers as she can get.
“Everyone has been so helpful and understanding, and I am deeply grateful, to be home. I dreamt and longed for you daily, Zimbabwe. The good Lord has created a way, through art, for me to see you again with my own eyes. For many of us experiencing Diaspora, it is known that the return home is the sweetest dream.”
AMA, who’s next Visual Art Exhibition in August at First Floor Gallery will incorporate music, uses a few words to aptly describe the depth of passion she has, for art, and she encourages fellow young artists to follow the same path, “Love it like you love your mother and go hard or go home!”