Hey fierce listeners! Welcome to the last episode of MsRepresent: Behind the Face, a Fierce Woman, the New York series. Over the summer I spent some time in the Big Apple where I had the amazing opportunity to hang out with super fierce women in the arts and activism.
For the final New York episode, I have Safia Elhillo, a spoken-word artist who was a finalist in the 2011 Women of the World Poetry Slam and has graced the stage with luminary artists such as Questlove and Black Thought of The Roots, Gil Scott-Heron, The Last Poets, Immortal Technique, Faith Evans, and Sonia Sanchez. I met up with Safia at Barnes and Nobles where she shared her experiences as a transnational immigrant poet, and discussed language fusion, Egypt and the Arab Spring, the myth of the tortured artist, Wu-Tang Clan and odes to Egyptian Pop stars.
Safia Elhillo is Sudanese by way of Washington, D.C., currently living in New York City. Safia is an alum of New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a concentration in "Poetry as a Tool for Therapy" and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies, and is currently pursuing an MFA in poetry at the New School. She has performed at venues such as the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and the New Amsterdam Theater on Broadway, and has shared the stage with Questlove and Black Thought of The Roots, Gil Scott-Heron, The Last Poets, Immortal Technique, Faith Evans, and Sonia Sanchez. She is a founding member of Slam NYU, the 2012 and 2013 national collegiate championship team, and was a three-time member and former coach of the DC Youth Slam Poetry team. Safia appears on season 3 of Verses and Flow on TV1, and was a finalist in the 2011 Women of the World Poetry Slam. Her chapbook of poems, The Life and Times of Susie Knuckles, is published by Well&Often Press. Safia is a Cave Canem fellow and a poetry editor at Kinfolks Quarterly: a journal of black expression.
MsRepresent: Behind the Face, a Fierce Woman can also be found at charlenesayo.com
Intro/outro music: "Rainbow" by Emilie Simon. Remix from the original.
Additional music: "A tua choradeira é meio salário em lenços" by Stealing Orchestra & Rafael Dionísio. Remix from the original.
"The Excuse" by Safia Elhillo. Produced for Verses and Flow, TV One.
"Egypt" by Safia Elhillo. Film courtesy of Joe Amodei.
Thank you for reading this story…
More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.
rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.
So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.
And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.