Performance poet and activist, Ebony Isis Booth, sheds light on black feminism, racism and inequality, social justice, and self love in her debut collection of poems, Grinning and Bare.
In "Safety Pin," Booth looks at activism as a performance, devoid of authenticity: "how different we are/now that safety pins/secure personhood and humanity/fasten identity in lapels in earnest." Her poems, "The Trouble with Swimming Pools," "Burial Costs," "Say Her Name," and the "Semantics of Tragedy and Fear" expose the disproportionate number of black youth who have fallen prey to police brutality and hate crimes. "Boys in blue tear through black boy flesh/black boys buried in Jordans/we thought they might die for." In this poems and in poems that memorialize black superstars such as Young Thug, Prince, and Michael Vick, Booth reveals the irony of a consumer culture that devours and disposes of black bodies and the subsequent creation of social justice movements such as Black Lives Matter to act as an antidote.
In the book's second, poignant half, Booth turns her gaze from the outward to the inner, to look at how her own life has been affected by black fatherhood, romantic love, and self love. Ruminating on single motherhood, in poems like "10 Reasons Why Your Right Eye is Twitching," and on the treatment of black women's bodies in poems like "Black Girl in Therapy" and the title poem, "Grinning and Bare," Booth paves the way for a conversation about the much needed intersections in feminism, the visibility of the black women's lives and bodies.
Ebony Isis Booth is a poet, writer, cultural strategist, and curator of vibes. Her passion towards art-ivism is made evident in her writing as well as her community organizing accomplishments. Founder of the African American multimedia showcase, Burque Noir, her work is ceaseless in its obligation to elevate vibrational energies by heralding social justice, self love, intersectionality, and visibility for Black women. In 2018, Ebony launched Honeysuckle Creatives, LLC., a consultancy specializing in creative engagement strategies, project management, and event design with people of color in mind. Originally from New Jersey and a long time resident of Denver, Ebony now resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her niece, Alayah, and nephew, Cordae. Grinning & Bare is her first book of poetry.