Kim Friez has come a long way. She does her thing without all the noise and the fuss, yet she commands a beautiful flow. She winds her creative wand in the areas of poetry, theatre performances, fashion and photography, and many more.
She’s fun to rub minds with and she speaks with grace that’s unmatched. Just at the beginning of her career, she’s already stamping her feet in the soil, making the statements that some of her predecessors have been afraid to make.
We sit with her on muSEssions With Kim Friez, ask all the burning questions and watch her bare her mind. And even if her views clash with yours, we are positive that you’ll be intrigued.
Grab a bottle of Zobo and read on!
Can we meet you?
KIM: I’m Kim Fries, a wandering creative, actress and performer, who has transformed her life through the power of gratitude.
As a Black person who inhabits the Western world, what’s your perception of Africa at large and do you think other Non-African Blacks perceive Africa the way you do?
KIM: That’s a very good question. I live in the Caribbean and because we live in the Caribbean, we are West-Indian Caribbean people. Growing up, we always see a case where we are stuck in “Limbo”. We don’t know who we are. We are not Africans, but we are not Western, either. Sometimes, we are just stuck in this space of “Limbo” — just searching for ourselves constantly, trying to find out who we are, trying to relate differently to the things of Africa.
I didn’t see Africa as anything empowering. I didn’t see Africa as anything that I would want to be. But the older I got, the more I started to research. I searched a little bit deeper within myself and when I discovered Rastafara and Ethiopia, I found out more about my Dad because he is also Rastafarian. He visits Ethiopia regularly because he is a part of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. He inspired me to dig a little bit deeper. And when I looked in the mirror, I realized that I looked like this but I didn’t feel like this. I knew that I had to be something bigger.
So I think people, alongside me didn’t see Africa as empowering. You have to grow up and discover it by yourself because it wasn’t presented to you in a good, beautiful wrapped gift. You have to go out and search for it and find yourself. And as Black people, Africa is us, no matter where we go in this world. It’s something that never leaves us as long as we are open to look for it.
One of the problems that Africa has faced is having to define and redefine feminism. As a woman of African descent, how do you intend to fight for the survival of young girls after you, who “have to” make do with a naturally patriarchal society, such as this?
KIM: How I plan to fight is just by being an example. I grew up around a lot of strong women, to the point where I wasn’t really able to differentiate between the energy of the women and the men in my household. Everybody was so strong. I am a strong Black woman and how I intend to fight is just to set an example, allowing young girls to understand themselves first, before trying to understand anyone else. Because at the end of the day, we were taught to understand people, but we neglect ourselves. And because we neglect ourselves, it’s hard for us to give anymore.
My grandmother used to always say, “you cannot give from an empty cup”. So it’s just teaching women their value, letting them understand their values from a young age. Letting them understand that they have a voice too and they can speak up for their rights without being afraid, without feeling unwanted– and to want themselves first. That’s the example I want to set. Because as a Black woman. I try to live fearlessly, to love fearlessly. I believe in things fearlessly because that’s how I grew up. My grandmother was a strong, strong black woman who used to sweep streets and clean airplanes, even though she’s never travelled before. I plan on living by that example, being that embodiment of the person I want these young girls to be inspired by.
We saw the IYA shoot that you directed with Jik-Reuben Pringle as the photographer. It was such an enlightening one and from an objective point of view, we perceive religion to be a notable theme in the shoot. With IYA in mind, what’s your take on religion as a souvenir of colonialism and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
KIM: I think one of the most unfair things in the history of this planet is the way that Black people have been misled, mistreated, manipulated, everything! And it saddens me, which is why I speak up about these things a lot. I think religion is the forefront of that manipulation and this is why I don’t necessarily subscribe to it, especially the Western type of religion. A lot of the African elements have been taken away, wiped from history and have been replaced in service of the White man and I believe that Black people and Africans are strongly rooted in their spirituality.
They believe in their higher powers, they believe in their deities and when that is taken away and something else is given to them, we’re always gonna be trapped in that mental state, that mental slavery and I believe one of the greatest things to do is to conquer a mind.
When you conquer the mind of the people, you have the people and obviously, you’re going to have the people for centuries upon centuries and years upon years. I think this is one of the “downfalls” to be honest—the religion and how it is constructed in the favour of someone else, disregarding you as a being, as a person—for you to go to someone else, to go to a god, then claiming to be higher than you because only them can reach that god and this is the height of condescending. That’s condescending at its worst and I just believe that the more we find ourselves, the more we find God and the more we find God, the more we find answers and the more we find answers, the more we see who we truly are.
What has been presented to us is not it. That’s my take on this whole religion thing. Religion is actually keeping a lot of the Black people from the West and the Caribbean islands in a state of mental slavery. Religion— that’s the only chain that they could not break. Also, growing up, it was always strange to look at a white man and pray to him. Why my own gods don’t look like me? And also to touch on that, for the IYA project that I did, I actually played Iya in a play that I did sometimes two years ago.
I played the goddess, Iya and I started to do a lot more research as it relates to the Orishas. I found that for every element, there’s a god that governs that element, which of course makes more sense to me.
When you’re not acting or putting creative pieces together, what do you do to unwind?
KIM: I love meditating, I love journaling… And I absolutely love sleeping! I don’t give up my sleep for anything in this world. I love to seep. (chortles)
Would you say reggae and dancehall are just another components of the Afrobeats? And who are your favourite African musicians, by the way?
KIM: To be honest, anything that Black people come up with in general is from Africa. Reggae? Black people. Dancehall? Black people. Afrobeats? Black people. We are all inter-connected, it stems from one.
My all time favourite person is Burna Boy. I am obsessed with Burna Boy, his views on life, his music, his voice, his soul… I love Burna Boy!
What’s your perception of THE MUSE AFRICA and what are your expectations of us?
KIM: Africa now has the platform to show people that it’s not just suffering and hardship. It’s beauty, it’s art, there’s wealth in Africa, and I believe that this platform will also help to show people that. Ultimately, the plan is for all Africans to experience the land of their ancestors and I think that The Muse Africa will be able to provide content, based on this to show people what’s going on, to show people art, to show people music, to show people the love of Black people and to make Black people love themselves a bit more. Well, not even a bit more—a whole lot more!
So what’s the next big thing that we should look forward to from Kim Fries?
KIM: More upcoming projects and amazing concepts. I’ve been featured in a few more films and I have another one coming out this year. Just more love and light and blessings.
We have come to the end of this session. It’s been really great being with you. Hope you did enjoy yourself?
KIM: Yes I did!
Thank you so much for having me, I’m truly grateful.