AFROPUNK BLKTOPIA: Beat & Breathe: Personal Wellness Through Drumming

July 11, 2024

Francis Agyakwa has spent his career exploring various means of trauma reduction. The mental health and wellness specialist has formed his career to align ancestral African Diasporic practice with his contemporary training in health and recovery. For his Afropunk session, Agyakwa hosted an informational drumming performance demonstrating the linkages between wellnes and shared rhythm.

Agyakwa introduces the drum as a tool for breaking through the noise of the modern world, into spaces of unity and therapeutic vibration. The trauma-informed therapist, who graduated from the University of Ghana with a degree in Social Work and Psychology, invited participants into a makeshift drum circle, an inclusive space where the healing power of rhythm could be fully experienced. With an array of drums at the ready, he demonstrated various rhythmic patterns, each designed to help expel negative energy and foster a sense of connection and relief. As the audience began to drum along, the room transformed into a vibrant tapestry of sound and movement.

Agyakwa emphasized that drumming is not just a physical activity but a deeply emotional and spiritual practice. He explained how drumming can alleviate stress, enhance communication, and encourage creative discipline. “When we drum, we communicate with our ancestors, with each other, and with our inner selves,” he said, his voice resonating with conviction and warmth. The rhythmic beats served as a form of non-verbal communication, breaking down barriers and allowing participants to express emotions that words often fail to capture.

The drum circle became a safe space for personal expression and communal healing, highlighting the therapeutic potential of drumming in addressing trauma and promoting well-being. By the end of the session, participants were visibly more relaxed and connected, both to themselves and to each other. Agyakwa’s demonstration was a powerful reminder of the ancient wisdom embedded in traditional practices and their relevance in contemporary wellness. His work at Kweli Counseling, available online for accessibility, continues to nurture the emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being of the Black community, blending modern therapeutic techniques with timeless traditions.