Spoken Word by Shailja Patel
Tues, Jun 21, 6PM
Spoken word, an age-old oral tradition, is literature's oldest form. When
artists like Shailja Patel embrace poetry and unleash the metaphors with
and without inhibition - it is a zeitgeist. Please join
us in celebrating the spirit of the times with a spoken
word performance by Shailja Patel. She will perform
pieces from her latest one woman act, Migritude.
MIGRITUDE explores global themes; heritage, war,
freedom, by making intimate family treasures public. Similarly, it expresses
universal experiences of colonized peoples through
the journeys of Shailja’s own diasporic Indian family. Three
cross-continental migrations shape the story: the early 20th-century
migration of Indians to
East Africa; the mass expulsion and emigration
of East African Indians to the global North from the 1970s onwards, and
own emigration from Africa, to Europe, to the US. The sequence maps her
personal transitions as a migrant: from survival to self-expression,
invisibility to activism, model
minority to radical artist.
Shailja is a Kenyan Indian explosion on the national spoken
word scene. She performs to standing ovations across the US and internationally.
In 2004, she was invited to perform at the Lincoln
Center, New York; to collaborate with jazz legend Jon Jang in the Asian
American Jazz Series; and to participate in the Nautilus Institute's prestigious
Scenarios Workshop, along with luminaries of the Left such as Daniel Ellsberg.
Recent highly-acclaimed appearances include keynotes at
Yale and Brown Universities; London's Poetry Café, the Diverse Arts
Showcase in Glasgow, Women Against War Northern California Tour; the San
Dyke March, the Radical
Performance Fest (a Bay Area Critics Choice Selection),
and the groundbreaking Yoni Ki Baat. Shailja shared the stage with Holly
Near, Michael Franti, and Ram Dass at Our Grief Is Not A Cry For War,
the 9/11 anniversary
concert at San Francisco's
Justin Hermann Plaza; and performed for crowds of over 50,000 at Not In
Our Name Rallies. Her words, aired on
the National Radio Project and Pacifica Radio, have generated responses
from activists and academics worldwide. Shailja's work appears in numerous
and anthologies, and the CD, Best of the Berkeley Slam Poets.
Introduction by:Junichi Semitsu, Lecturer, Department
of African American Studies, UC Berkeley & Director,
Poetry 4 the People.