Each week throughout February, we’ll be sharing stories and events from our community and our partners that honor Black joy, art, writing, culture and history!
- Secrets & Sisterhood: Writing Fiction with Brit Bennett, Girls Write Now Friday Night Salon Series
- Our Unforgettables: Memoir Writing with Morgan Jerkins, Girls Write Now Friday Night Salon Series
- Art & Insurrection: Playwriting with Dominique Morisseau, Girls Write Now Friday Night Salon Series
- Telling Your Story Through Podcasts with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, Girls Write Now Friday Night Salon Series
- Nothing but Trouble: Creating Conflict and Tension on the Page with Natalie Baszile, Girls Write Now Friday Night Salon Series
- Picture Books 101: Writing for Kids When You Aren’t One with Megan Reid and Wendi Gu, Girls Write Now Friday Night Salon Series
- 8 Black History Month Writing Prompts, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- “Erasures of Star-Spangled Banner & Lift Every Voice,” by Mentee Mary Massaquoi
- “relating to, derived from, or consisting of matter: having real importance or great consequences,” by Mentee Sunei Clarke, Taking Our Place in History: The Girls Write Now 2020 Anthology
- Inheritance: A project about American history, Black life, and the resilience of memory, The Atlantic
- “BLK History Month,” by Nikki Giovanni, Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea (HarperCollins Publishers, 2002) via Poetry Foundation
- The ZORA Canon: The 100 greatest books ever written by African American women
All events below are virtual and you can register for free or with a donation.
- Dance Is My Passport: Becoming a Multidisciplinary Artist with Djassi DaCosta Johnson: In this community chat, Djassi DaCosta Johnson took participants through her journey from Modern dancer to Multidisciplinary artist, with local stops at the historic Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and Dance Theater of Harlem. Djassi showed participants how to “choreograph” their own artistic path and write a poetic artist statement expressing all that you are, while fully rejecting the notion you need to be any less.
- Food as Cultural Muse: Black Culinary History & Writing with Therese Nelson: Chef Therese Nelson led a conversation about Black culinary heritage and the uses of culinary heritage as fertile literary ground. She talked about recipes as an heirloom and worked through crafting a new kind of narrative recipe framework that allows for more creativity and historical context in food writing.
- A Dream Come True: A Life in the Theater with Elizabeth Van Dyke: Elizabeth Van Dyke knows all about having a dream and making it a reality. By reflecting on her journey to the stage and the mentors she met along the way, Elizabeth shared what she’s learned about writing your dreams and aspirations into action. Participants also heard about the history of Black theatre, and how to build activated spaces for the work you’re most passionate about!
- “exist(ing)” by Lena Habtu
My piece was inspired by an article in ZORA, a publication by and for women of color, entitled “Black Women Are Driving a New R&B Resistance” by Mary Retta. Black women’s identities have been degraded for so long that attempts to uplift us, we’re portrayed as deities instead of human.
- “Still She Rises” by Mentee Leadra Reeves
I was intrigued by the process of merging images with words to make a multimedia piece even more powerful. I decided to make a visual story about four poets who are meaningful to me. After I chose the writers I wanted to feature, I decided to use purple as the most significant color in each of their pages because in my eyes, purple is a regal shade and all of these Black women are queens in their own right. In the Girls Write Now tributes workshop, we learned about research, and I used that skill to analyze each poet and their work. All in all, I enjoyed creating “Still She Rises” because it differs from typical art forms. With this multimedia piece, I was able to tell a significant story with just a few words and memorable visual content.
Being a woman and Black poet myself who is proud of my heritage and background, I felt inclined to dedicate a piece to that part of me. I incorporated four groundbreaking poets in my piece to spotlight a few writers that inspired me to pursue poetry. Although many of them have passed, their words still linger and have left a lasting impression on the world today. This hypnotic effect each poet has with their powerful writing inspired me to include myself at the end of the piece, not only because I can see myself in each one of them, but also because I aspire to make such an imprint on the nation with just a look and listen to the freedom of the rhythm of my verses one day.
- “Dedicated to my Natural Hair” by Mentee Jayola Reid
My video conveying the significance of natural hair is one that I consider necessary for everyone to watch. Black women’s natural hair has sadly been discriminated against since the beginning of time, making it important for everyone to see the beauty in it. A black woman’s hair is unique and versatile in all forms and every texture is gorgeous! The images portrayed in this video depict that. If that were not enough, listen to the words spoken on the realization of how amazing it is to be natural!
I wrote a letter to my natural hair because I recognized that I was dealing with some deeply engrained self-hate issues regarding it. I came to the realization that I had been brainwashed to think that my hair made me less attractive or that it was not appropriate in a professional workspace. This was due to European beauty standards that society has always pressured me to live up to. I decided to start appreciating my natural curls and wanted all of the other girls of color to do the same.
- Girls Write Now champion Rachel Cargle, public academic and founder of The Great Unlearn, is curating a collection of daily research prompts for Black History Month. You can find them all at #DiscoverOurGlory2021.
- Race Women on Instagram is an archive research project honoring nineteenth century Black feminist trailblazers founded by Maya Millett, a Girls Write Now mentor alum and co-chair of the Girls Write Now anthology committee. Maya is an independent nonfiction writer, editor and audio producer.
Have recommendations for us to feature? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Black History Month.”
Girls Write Now stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and the intersectional coalition of artists, activists and organizations fighting for justice. For over two decades, we have dedicated our mission to breaking down the barriers of race and poverty to elevate the voices of girls and gender nonconforming youth who are too often not heard—or worse, silenced. When our young writers share their stories, they have the power to change minds, heal communities, and impact the world.
At Girls Write Now, we commit to continue our efforts—working together both internally and externally—to make a better future for our Black and Brown communities.