This week’s post comes from a powerful poet and teacher that I met while speaking on the “Harlem Shake as Blackface” panel at Hamline University.
Ryan Williams-Virden is an artist and educator from Northeast Minneapolis. He began writing after graduating from Hamline University in 2005 when he joined The Poetic Assassins and Sai Werd Ink as BUGS (Better Under Gods Supervision). As a member of Poetic Assassins, he toured the country performing, lecturing, and facilitating workshops on social justice issues at colleges, universities, high schools, and community organizations. Poetic Assassins won the VERVE Grant in 2009. Also in 2009, Poetic Assassins won the Best Spoken Word Production and were nominated for Best Collective at the Minnesota Spoken Word Awards. In 2011 Poetic Assassins was featured at the legendary NuYorican Poets Cafe as well as won the Morrill Hall Rachel Tilsen Social Justice Grant from the University of Minnesota.
Ryan believes in the power of art and education. Since Poetic Assassins, Ryan completed his Master’s Degree in Liberal Studies culminating in his thesis “Keeping it Real: discourses on privilege in mainstream hip hop.” He has dedicated his academic energies and career to understanding the intersections of race, class, and gender in order to effect change and help foster a different reality for his community.
He bases all of his work, academic and artistic, in his personal experience. Growing up in the densely immigrant working class neighborhood of Northeast Minneapolis Ryan has intimately experienced these systems of domination at work on a daily basis.
You can keep up with him and contact Ryan at www.ryanwilliamsvirden.com.
Undermining the Social Order? Yes Please!!
Recently Lou Dobbs and an all-male conservative panel freaked out.
Normally this wouldn’t inspire me to dedicate any more time or effort than it took to laugh. Today, though, it did.
Lou and his panel were up in arms about the new Pew study that shows 4 out of 10 households have women as the primary moneymakers. They pontificated about the erosion of society and how this country’s families are being torn apart. Juan Williams even declared it was “devastating Minority families” worse. Erik Erickson claimed the natural world and science support the dominance of males, and Doug Schoen ended the segment by claiming “bottom line it could undermine our social order.”
To that I say, Good!