Oglethorpe University makes habit of bringing prominent speakers to its campus, however, some students felt like that their desires in speakers and the type of talks were not being met. Due to this, multiple student led organizations including Coexist, (H)OLA, and Black Student Caucus, along with Step Up!, The Center for Civic Engagement, and Student Engagement and Leadership office have organized to bring poet Porsha Olayiwola, commonly known as Porsha O., to give a spoken word performance at Oglethorpe.
As Oglethorpe members may have noticed, on the second floor the TLCC, a clip of Porsha O.’s spoken word performance has been playing on repeat. Her words turn heads, capture attention, and make one think deeply. That type of dynamic performance by Porsha O. will happen at 7:00 p.m. on November 7 in the TLCC atrium and will be open for all Oglethorpe members to attend.
Before the performance, Porsha O. will give her “Gate Keepers: On Examining Privilege” workshop at 5:00 p.m. In the workshop, Porsha O. will focus on facilitating radical healing to examining topics such as privilege, oppression, and diversity connecting these topics to Oglethorpe students.
Coordination to bring Porsha O as a diverse voice to campus arose after the Tim Wise talk. Some students felt Wise’s talk did not connect with the diversity represented on campus. “We wanted to see a lit bit more diversity on campus,” said Deon Heavens, a member of Black Student Caucus and student worker for the Center of Civic Engagement. Heavens hopes students will see that “there are different forms of speakers,” and will gain a different perspective on the genuine experiences of people of color not typically showcased with past speakers like Wise.
Porsha O.’s performance brings the diverse and intersectional voice these students are looking for. She self describes as a “Black, poet, queer-dyke, hip-hop feminist and womanist.” Therefore, she has a unique perspective and lived experience she can share on how social issues can affect those who are part of minority groups.
Nury Castro, coordinator of Student Engagement and Leadership, said bringing speakers like Porsha O. is beneficial because students will be able to see someone that looks like them. “She does a good job of highlighting her own lived experience along with the experiences of other or a lot of minoritized backgrounds,” said Castro, “her performance is very intersectional and speaks to a myriad of students.”
Porsha O. is not just a spoken word poet who has won the 2014 Individual World Poetry Slam and the 2015 National Poetry Slam, she is a writer, a teacher, the co-founder of The House of Slam in Boston, the Artistic Director of the MassLEAP literary non-profit, poetry slam coach among other accomplishments.
To attend her workshops students can RSVP using OUConnect. Spots are limited to the workshop, but the performance is open to the public.