By Connie Klimek
Titan Productions hosted a spoken word poetry event showcasing the work of one of the top touring poets in the United States, Ebony Stewart.
Titan Productions described, “Stewart is an international touring poet and performance artist. Her work speaks to the Black experience, with emphasis on gender, sexuality, womanhood, and race, with the hopes to be relatable, remove shame, heal minds, encourage dialogue and inspire folks in marginalized communities.”
Additionally, Stewart is a respected coach and mentor, sexual health activist, published author, playwright, international touring poet and performance artist, all while in pursuit of becoming a licensed sex therapist.
Her performance at IU South Bend was in honor of Black History Month and Women’s History Month. Scott Strittmatter, director of student life, opened the performance by giving Stewart an introduction, describing her works and achievements as a poet, such as being named a Women of the World Poetry Slam Champion.
Stewart’s talent for performing poetry is rooted in her ability to resonate with her audience, even over Zoom. She encouraged audience members to engage in conversation through reflective questions she poses.
Topics, such as significant people in one’s life, childhood behaviors, body image, fear, racism and struggles growing into blessings, are all based on her personal experiences and observations.
Stewart has a hard time writing about herself, and she is still learning how to love herself. In times of doubt, Stewart reminds herself that her shadow chose her for a reason. She described, “Fear is the part of me I know the most. Therefore, I think I’m free, but am I really?”
The performance showcased her fortitude in pursuing her passions and creating an art admired by many, as shown in her career. By using her experiences and growing awareness of the world around her as inspiration, Stewart normalizes the realities of life that are rarely addressed, such as her body image, having “a complicated relationship with numbers” and guilt.
Notably, Stewart’s address of racism present in society and her perspective of being a Black woman in this political climate, raises awareness regarding the hypocrisy and toxicity of racism.
Her advocacy for her mission “to improve, support and protect the lives of women, people of color and the LGBTQIA+ community by creating a healing space, through workshops and discussion, where we know our worth, acknowledge our struggles and celebrate our victories.” described by Titan Productions, educates her audiences and extends an invitation to join in her advocacy.