askew photos

Microphone Check: Saul Williams

SAUL WILLIAMS: I mean, I’m restless in the sense that like — I have a lot of energy. That’s true. And I have the support of friends and industry at times, or in certain ways, or to a certain extent. But I always feel like there’s a lot more I could do with a little more support. And so I’m — if I’m restless, it’s because — like, for example right now I’m working to fund this film that I want to direct.

And I have a pretty cool background, in terms of film and stuff that I’ve been able to write and get out there and all of that. It’s a weird but interesting background, but it’s still difficult, as you know —

ALI SHAHEED MUHAMMAD: Yes.

WILLIAMS: — to garner the support that we need. And walking around with the mantle of a poet or “deep” or any of these things isn’t always helpful. It’s full of respect and critical acclaim, but there’s also these categorical boxes that you belong in. Like for that moment — “Well, we’re trying to have a party right now. We’re not gonna put this album on.”

Photo: GL Askew II for NPR