Black women plan to raise their voices with downtown poetry event

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Inside the Lincoln Theatre in downtown Columbus, 16 black women of all ages and backgrounds will come together on stage for a live poetry performance.

“I’m excited, I think there are so many different possibilities,” said Barbara Fant, founder of the Black Women Rise Poetry Collective.

Fant said the group started out as bunch of individual women writing a poem a day, and then later grew into them doing workshops and masterclasses together.

But she says this will be the first time that they officially perform together.

“I think one of the main things that I want us to get out of this is that poetry can carry the stage, right?” Fant said. “That we don’t need all these extra things, that our voices are enough, that our voices matter.”

And some of the women performing are from right here in Columbus.

“So, I’m talking about my femininity, I’m talking about my Blackness, I’m talking about my religion, I’m talking about class, I’m talking about all the things that impact who I am,” said poet Tyiesha Radford Shorts.

Radford Shorts is a Columbus native and poet who said most of her work is about identity and finding oneself, a concept echoed by fellow poet Cynthia Amoah, who’s originally from West Africa.

Much of I think the content in my poetry shows up as questions, it shows up as me trying to figure out who I am, where I belong because I’m American and African,” Amoah said.

Fant hopes their poetry inspires other women to find their voices as well.

“It doesn’t stop with us, either,” Fant said. “It’s going to continue going forward. So right now, we’re holding that space, and then we’re making that statement that this is so much bigger than us and we can’t wait to see where it goes.”

The event is scheduled for Wednesday night, March 31, at 7 p.m. and while tickets to the event at the theater are sold out, there are virtual tickets available. Click here for more information.

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