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YOUNG CHICAGO POET SHARES WOMANIST VIEWS

3/1/2017, noon | Updated on 3/1/2017, noon
“My artistic statement is the examination of the intersectionalities between womanism and the hood,” Black said. “A lot of times ...
Featured is a young Chicago poet named E’mon Black who started writing poetry in the third grade for book competitions. Black says her main inspirations came from renowned authors such as William Shakespeare and Maya Angelou. Her new book called, “Commando,” will be released by Haymarket Books in May 2017. Photo by Christopher Shuttlesworth

YOUNG CHICAGO POET SHARES WOMANIST VIEWS

E’mon Lauren is a young, promising Chicago poet who’s currently a teaching artist at Young Chicago Authors (YCA) located on 1180 N Milwaukee Ave., where she teaches poetry to local high school students. Young Chicago Authors is an organization that helps “expose young people to hip-hop realist portraiture and teaches them how to create their own authentic narratives through a variety of arts education programs both in and out of the classroom,” according to youngchicagoauthors.org.

Lauren, who is a womanist, not a feminist, started writing poetry in the third grade for book competitions and said her main inspirations came from renowned authors such as William Shakespeare and Maya Angelou. She was also influenced by the 90’s sitcom “It’s A Different World,” where American Poet Yolande Cornelia “Nikki” Giovanni taught her that Black poetry could be a grand esthetic for black people, especially for the war inside of a black woman.

“My artistic statement is the examination of the intersectionalities between womanism and the hood,” Lauren said. “A lot of times people associate marginalized neighborhoods like Englewood, Austin or the “hood” in general with hyper-dominance or hyper-masculinity. But people never really think about the correlation of how that ties to a black woman, especially with women being trended as feminine or soft.”

America needs to wake up and realize how vital black women are to black men in the “hood” and how important black womens’ needs are to the world, she said.

“There is definitely a war that black women have to go through too,” Lauren said. “Who are the ones black men are coming home to? Who are the ones that give black men food or who are the ones that black men cry on in the midst of their own war?”

She said she feels that it’s important to write and stand up for black women because most of the time, it feels like their voices are never heard by men or people in general.

“Just being a black woman period…our names are said without a whisper,” Lauren said. “Even when we go missing, we’re not the main source to be found unless we are accessible for television, a trend, a new dance move or a fashion line. There are never really questions about the traumas we carry and even when we do have traumas, they're based off of our families or considered 'White People problems,' which isn’t always the case.”

During the interview, Lauren discussed her favorite poem and how it relates to women being used by men today. She said the poem is a grand metaphor between window shopping and how men tend to window shop on woman and never actually purchase or take care of the merchandise.

“When men approach women they want the clearance rack,” Lauren said. “They want the easiness, the cheap things. But when they can’t get that, then they are cool with just standing in front of the store, which is the women and treating them as some type of ownership. A lot of times men use women as a landmark or accomplishment just to have a stance on something.”

Lauren said her book called, “Commando,” will be released by Haymarket Books in May 2017. She says she writes poems that give black women more courage not to just stand up for themselves, but courage to say what they stand for and against.

“It’s okay to change your mind at any point or time,” Lauren said. “You are not held to one thing, one specific order or fashionism. You can be whoever you want to be, unapologetically. I think my writing transpires that I’m a woman, but I can talk like a man if you want me to. If that’s the language this world only understands, then let me give you this language from a woman’s lens.”