By Brianna McAdoo, Staff Writer, [email protected]
Busboys and Poets offered up another inspirational evening with none other than the renowned poet Sonia Sanchez. On November 5, Sanchez shared an intimate evening of poetry and dialogue with the D.C. community.
Over the past few months, the 450 K Street N.W. location of Busboys and Poets has welcomed a host of legendary Black women artists and activists who have made significant literary contributions with their commitment to make the world a better place for marginalized people- especially those of color. They recently hosted Angela Davis, Alice Walker, Nikki Giovanni and the late Ntozake Shange. Each of these powerhouses that have graced the stage at 450 K St NW, have made it clear that intersectionality has to be priority in the struggle for Black people in America and throughout the world.
Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Sanchez, 84, is a beloved poet who has authored more than a dozen books of poetry. Her bibliography also includes short stories, essays, plays and children’s books. Additionally, she was a pioneering figure within the Black Arts movement and was also involved in the Civil Rights movement. Sanchez received her B.A. in Political Science from Hunter College. She has received numerous awards for her poetry including the Wallace Stevens Award, the Robert Frost Medal and the Robert Creeley Award.
The poet opened the evening by weighing in on the importance of voting, which has been a hot topic of conversation in the wake of the midterm elections that took place in early November.
“One of the interesting things about voting is simply that politics is merely the distribution of resources…the purpose of getting elected is to make sure that they get the resources so that they can buy people and do things,” Sanchez said. “I don’t vote because it’s a romantic thing. Go out and get some power. Get control of something.”
Throughout the evening the poet read her work, took the time to celebrate Black people (especially lifting up Black women), discussed the exploitation of Black bodies, criticized America and its political system and discussed takeaways about the world and her own life. She warned people about the danger of gossiping cautioning people that the demise of both Black people and organizations is a byproduct of gossiping.
Sanchez shared her favorite quotes from celebrated people throughout history, ranging from Vincent Harding to James Baldwin. She read excerpts from her book, A Sound Investment: Short “Stories for Young Readers” as well as shared some of her poetry. She urged the audience to read “Souls of Black Folk” and “Black Reconstruction in America”, both by W.E.B. Dubois
Sanchez also weighed in on D.C. statehood and representation. “Imagine living here with no representation. Come on, people! … It is outrageous,” she said.
She warned against the horrors of gentrification.
“When this city becomes mainly White you’ll get representation. That’s not a racist statement. That’s real. Because when you are Blackity-Black, when you are called “Chocolate City” there’s no way you would get it. Now with gentrification coming in- I don’t even recognize D.C. anymore.”