Femme Forward

December 9, 2019

    Monday, December 9 at 8pm

    Woolly's Smith/melton rehearsal hall



    free and open to the public

    Woolly Mammoth is thrilled to partner with Spit Dat for monthly spoken word performances starting in October 2019. All performances will be free and open to the public.

    Learn More about Spit Dat In Residence

    In the spirit of SHE THE PEOPLE, which calls for the celebration of ALL women,  FEMME FORWARD continues the dialogue about gender oppression and discrimination, and lifts up why all feminism must be intersectional. And so we welcome Gowri K, the queer Tamil American poet who teaches us to be more human toward animals. Natalie E. Illum, the mother of mothertongue who put the ability in disability. Dane Figueroa Edidi, the African-Cuban Indigenous Priestess who snatches edges with jazz, class, and sass. Jenari Mitchell, the siren of Southeast who loves DC as if it was her woman. Luna, the child of the moon who prays to the Son. And Kanikki Jakarta, the mighty mouth of the South who transformed her Alabama anecdotes into Virginia laureate lyricism.


    Gowri K - Gowri K. is a queer Tamil American writer, performing artist, teacher, and lawyer. Her advocacy has addressed animal welfare, environmental protection, the rights of prisoners and the criminally accused in the U.S., and justice and accountability in Sri Lanka. She is poetry coordinator at the nonprofit arts organization BloomBars and a fellow of the Asian American literary organization Kundiman. Previously, she was a poetry events host at Busboys and Poets, senior poetry editor at Jaggery, and associate editor of Beltway Poetry Quarterly. Gowri has performed her poetry at Lincoln Center Out of Doors, the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Capital Fringe Festival, SpokenWord Paris, and universities in the U.S. and Canada.
    (photo: Fid Thompson.)

    Natalie E. Illum  - Natalie E. Illum is a poet, disability activist and singer living in Washington DC. She is a three-time recipient of the arts and humanities fellowship from the DC Commission, and a 2019 Pushcart prize, Best of the Net, and Best New Poet nominee. She was a founding board member of mothertongue, a LGBTQA open mic that lasted 15 years. She competed in the National Poetry Slam circuit and was the 2013 Beltway Grand Slam Champion. She has an MFA from American University. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter as @poetryrox, and as one half of All Her Muses, whose debut album will be released in 2020.

    Dionne “Luna” Tenhue - Dionne “Luna” Tenhue is a DC Native who believes that if your ship doesn’t sail in, swim out to meet it. She feels that every dream is attainable if you’re willing to put in the work to reach those dreams. Luna has created space to cultivate, enrich, and uplift the spirit of creativity. Luna self-published 2 collections of poetry - “Welcome Me,” and “Remember Me”. Luna’s artistry spans far beyond the poetry spectrum. She is also a skilled natural hair stylist operating an in-home salon, an expert crocheter creating unique one-of-a-kind crocheted items, as well as a visual artist using platforms from paint to photography to portray her vision. Luna’s newest endeavor is Moonlight House BBA – a bed and breakfast designed specifically to meet the needs of artists looking to escape and create.

    Kanikki Jakarta - Born KaNikki Jakarta, being interpreted as “great writer” at birth, KaNikki is living up to her name. She is the first Black woman to be appointed Poet Laureate for Alexandria, Virginia. She is an Award Winning Poet who has traveled the US and UK as a performance poet. KaNikki has founded, facilitated, and/or hosted 15 presentations in the last 17 years ranging from open mics, award ceremonies, conferences, and workshops. With over 26 years of writing and almost 2 decades on the poetry scene, KaNikki has opened for Jill Scott, Raheem DaVaughn, and Lyfe Jennings. She has authored 3 works of fiction: IN REAL LIFE, THE COLOR BLUE, & THE OTHER SIDE OF PRETTY, 2 poetry collections: KaNikki Who? & The Skillz of a Sistah, a poetry cd: The Introduction of KaNikki Jakarta and a memoir: A Peace of Mine, How to be a wife of an Epileptic, Honor your Vows, and Honor Yourself. KaNikki J. writes and recites what she calls “real life fiction.” She says, “If you think something I say on the mic may change your life; you’re probably right.”

    Jenari Mitchell - Jenari Mitchell is a poet, coder, and youth advocate from Southeast Washington, DC. Jenari grew up in a lot of youth organizations that were all key components in her successes and the person she has become. She started her journey with writing at twelve years old in an organization called Facilitating Leadership in Youth (F.L.Y). However, after FLY was shut down, she lost her passion for writing and went seven years without picking up a pen to express herself. Jenari returned to the stage in April 2019 and now uses her art as a tool to cope with her personal traumas and advocate for the mental health and betterment of Black, queer, and low-income communities.

    Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi - Dubbed the Ancient Jazz Priestess of Mother Africa, Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi is a Nigerian, Cuban, Indigenous, American Performance Artist, Author (Yemaya’s Daughters, Baltimore: A Love Letter, Remains…, The Blood of A Thousand Roots, For Black Trans Girls…, Brew, Keeper, Incarnate, Wither, Bone, Solace, Hierodule) Educator, Advocate, Choreographer, Priestess, Speech Writer, Playwright (Klytmnestra: An Epic Slam Poem, For Black Trans Girls…, Absalom), Writing Coach, Healer, a Founding Member of Force Collision, and a 2x Helen Hayes Award Nominee (2016, 2018) and co-editor of the Black Trans Prayer Book. She is the founder of The Inanna D Initiatives, which curates, produces and cultivates events and initiatives designed to center and celebrate the work of TGNC Artist of Color. Considered one of the most prolific artists of our time, she is the first Trans woman of color to be nominated for a Helen Hayes Award (2016), and in DC to publish a work of Fiction (Yemaya’s Daughters (2013). She was also the first Twoc playwright to receive a mainstage world premier of a play (Klytmnestra: An Epic Slam Poem at Theater Alliance May 2019) In 2015 she received an emerging Leader Award for her work with the D.C. Trans Community, is the GLBT History Project’s 2018 receipt of the Mujeres en el Movimiento Arts Award and received Trans Latinx DMV’s Community Artist Award. She has costarred as Patra in the new web series King Ester and acted as a story consultant for the series. She has two upcoming books, a novel She of the Fallen Stars: A Space Opera and a book of poetic reflections entitled Infrastructure Of A Nation

    About Spit Dat

    SPIT DAT is the longest-running open mic in the nation's capital. A profoundly intimate artistic and spiritual experience which has fought to remain a safe space through nearly two decades of societal changes, Spit Dat combines world-class talent with a living room vibe. As much a "venue" as it is an "event", Spit Dat has won multiple awards for its contribution to the growth of generations of acclaimed international artists. But perhaps its most valued accolade lives in being renowned among its staunch community as no less than "Church".

    Drew Anderson

    DREW ANDERSON, a science teacher turned teaching artist, poet turned parodist, and marathon runner turned motivational speaker, is as hard to define as he is to ignore. Known lovingly throughout DC's performing arts world as "Droopy the Broke Baller", Drew is founder and co-host of Spit Dat, the longest-running open mic in DC. Recipient of the prestigious DC Arts and Humanities Fellowship presented by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Drew has recently merged his decade-plus of artistic acumen and educational expertise to develop Spoof School, a dynamic arts education integration residency which teaches students of all ages how to make learning fun by "making fun" of their learning.

    Dwayne B!

    DWAYNE B!, aka the “Crochet Kingpin” is a DC native poet, activist, breakdancer, and fashion designer. He is one of the hosts of DC’s longest running open mic series, Spit Dat, as well as Host-Captain for Busboys and Poets' 450K location. In addition to featured readings at every Busboys and Poets location, SAGAfest Iceland 2015, Spirits and Lyrics NYC and Manassas, Woolly Mammoth, and the C2EA “We Can End AIDS” march, Dwayne’s short form poetry prowess led him to win the Best Haiku Award at the 2011 National Underground Spoken-Word Poetry Awards (NUSPA). His work to increase HIV awareness through spoken-word garnered recognition from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, BBCAmerica, the Discovery Channel, and The Washington Post. Ultimately, his goal is to force his audience to feel. His recent collection of works, One Color Kaleidoscope, is a testament to self-definition and change. When not documenting his life through poetic meter, he can be found on the metro making scarves and hats, or singing karaoke.