No holds barred as performance poet Joy France fights her corner in 'battle rap'

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She started out by making a nervous debut a number of years ago on the open-mic stage at Write Out Loud Wigan. After establishing a reputation as a warm and popular performance poet, she appeared in Nationwide TV adverts and on building society posters as well. Now Joy France has shown she doesn’t give a stuff about stereotypes by throwing herself into the in-your-face performance genre of ‘battle rap’. In doing so she has attracted a new wave of publicity, appearing both on BBC Breakfast and BBC North-West Tonight this week, and being featured in the Manchester Evening News.

On TV she told the story of how a former teacher of children with special needs got involved in battle rap. She said she was “always really shy, really quiet” for ”almost all my life”. But in her mid-50s something happened – and she became a performance poet, winning slams and awards, and treading the boards as a stand-up comic as well as a poet.  In recent years she has run a creative space at Affleck’s in Manchester, an emporium of independent traders, where she encourages people to explore their own creativity. She is also known to don a panda mask at the drop of a hat, when staging impromptu performances.      

embedded image from entry 99576 She is just back from taking part in a big battle rap in Ireland. On screen, it appears to be very rough and tough – and Joy acknowledges that “it’s really brutal … a lot of it’s done with aggression”. But she adds: “A lot of it’s also done with comedy and wordplay”. Inevitably she attracts labels such as the “rapping Granny”. But Joy shrugs off such tags with a smile - and often with a below-the-belt insult.

Right: Joy being intervewed on the BBC 

Background: Poet becomes the ‘face’ of Nationwide


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Aaron Murdoch

Tue 25th Feb 2020 16:22

I remember Joy from the open floors she came to! Great to see her on TV.

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Mon 24th Feb 2020 11:52

Fantastic, Joy. I'm not on-line as much as I used to be. I caught you on TV first.

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