Interview with Sharnel Tull aka Sista Big, Pocomoke's poet by Raquel Ndirangu & Alyssa Whittington
Local poet, Sharnel Tull, aka Sista Big recites a poem at a reading. Photo courtesy of Sista Big.
What writers did you enjoy reading as a child?
I was a big fan of Goosebumps (lol no seriously!) R.L. Stine made my childhood years! His imagination was bar none as far as I was concerned. I used to make up my own scary sci-fi stories in his fashion. I was introduced to Maya Angelou at an early age as well, reading I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings totally pushed me to who I am today!
Did you write or create as a child?
Yes, I was raised with a love of words. Reading, storytelling, writing speeches for public speaking contests. By the age of 8 I was a member of a local 4H club and I competed in public speaking competitions.
Who is your biggest influence?
This is such a hard question lol I am going to say Jay-Z, his “pen” is lethal of course but also, his business acumen is A1.
How did you get started as an “artist”?
Church, When the spirit would “fall” I’d be so overcome that I’d just WRITE! I’d write a whole poem in the matter of minutes and afterwards the congregation would call me to the front of the church and I’d just read it… that was one of my first tastes of “performing” poems to the degree that I do now.
When did you decide to become an artist?
I am still deciding lol
Does anyone else in your family write or create? Do you collaborate?
I recently came into contact with my Dads sister and I’ve learned that she is also a published author of two poetry books. I also have an older cousin, Shawn who is a little bit of a writer…she actually authored the Foreword of my first book, “Live Again:the Rebirth.” Shawn has always had a love or words & books very much like myself.
Do you enjoy meeting your fans?
ALWAYS, there is special feeling when your fans come up to you after a show and let you know how your words make them feel. It’s inspiring and empowering. Oftentimes I am writing myself out of a situation and just hoping to relate to someone else.
How do you get your writing noticed?
A lot of hard work and patience. I’ve been in the poetry game for years honestly, and I’ve been dedicated and constant. Sharing videos, doing events, and conversation.
How do you develop your art or come up with ideas?
I listen to everything! People, music. Random conversations I hear in passing… I am a huge music fan. The beats, the words it all motivates!
If you could invite any three people to dinner who would it be?
Maya Angelou, Jay-Z, and the character Ruth Langmore from Ozarks. If you can’t have a interesting conversation and learn something in the process what’s the point?
What exactly are the “little things in life”, as you see it?
Things that cannot be bought with money. My family. My friends.
The soundtrack of your life would include which three songs?
"The Eye of the Tiger" - Survivor, "The World is Yours" – Nas, and "Free" - Deniece Williams
Greatest art work you have seen, heard, or experienced?
I have two Lemonade by Beyoncé and DAMN – Kendrick Lamar. Both inspired me so magnificently, I HAD to write afterwards
Favorite thing in the entire world that you could not live without?
My cellphone. Yes, I am one of those folks that cannot function without my cell in my hand at all times. Horrible I know!
What is that you do when you have creator’s block? How do you bust it open?
I had awful writers block last year and I didn’t write for months.. I had a deadline to make at the time as well, I was extremely frustrated but I found myself reading more and listening to everything and even enjoying the quietness. In that time I found my voice.
What’s your favorite piece that you have written?
Such a hard question! As of late I’ve been writing for an upcoming event called Oshun’s Brunch so I’ve been working on something titled, “Oshun’s Vessel” …
“was thinking of my Grandmother & Great Aunties
how their blood rushes through Sista Big. (SHARNELL)
how their thoughts & dreams are being lived and achieved to the utmost degree when I shine.
I am their vessel!
carrying MY BLACKNESS,
my POWER and their own.)
Downright magical when you hear MY voice!”…
Best piece of advice you have ever been given?
DO IT! DO IT!
Listen to Sista Big perform "The Green Mile "