Miss. Stewart gives us insight into her journey as a writer and poet in a changing world.
What do you remember about your first time doing a live taping?
Ebony: remember being super nervous and wishing I would’ve worn a different outfit, especially some different shoes. I remember not liking my voice then and not sure if I sounded like myself. I think my hair was permed at that time too… (haha) I was so young! Wow. What a cutie trying to hold back all her power for the sake of not intimidating others. Whew!
What inspires you to write?
Ebony: Life. Experiences. Survival. I write as if the world I want is on it’s way back to me.
As the world goes through another round of changes, how do you think the African American culture will evolve with the changes if any?
Ebony: African-American people are the most resilient people in this country. We adapt, adjust, and move forward at all costs. We are not strangers to evolving.
Is there a topic that you won’t touch?
Ebony: I won’t write from the perspective of as a persona for a mother who lost her child to police violence and murder.
Tell us more about your books and what made you decide to write them?
Ebony: Home.Girl.Hood.(book description): Rings on every finger. Hood and educated AF. You’ve met her. Wearing all her feelings and responding with a side-eye or a tongue-pop. You’ve seen her. At the grocery store. In restaurants. On the subway. At the bus stop. In a car you pulled up next to blaring whatever matches her mood. Hair in some natural or protective style for the Gods. Ebony Stewart. An around the way girl. One part human, all parts womxn. You know these poems because they be familiar. They be your grandmama, mama, auntie, and sis stories. BloodFresh (book description): BloodFresh is a creative collection of honest poems and short stories that take risks in pulling itself out of disappointment, loss, and trauma only to operate in triumph by way of survival. This body of work speaks to the inner child, the everyday person, and future happy self told through Ebony Stewart also known as the Gully Princess. I wrote these bodies of works (and others) as artifacts and something to leave behind as a heart-source to my heart and mind. I don’t have a grand reason other than wanting to be found when I’m gone.
What do you think are the hardest challenges there is for being a woman being successful in a field that’s normally spotlights males?
Ebony: There are a lot of challenges being a woman, especially a Black woman in a predominantly male industry. Women are the biggest supporters and consumers of art and so we often praise and support men over ourselves. I see this changing, but it’s still very much an issue. Women artists can be invisible or go without mention in the poetry industry. When people mention their favorite or top 5 anything, they usually mention a man’s name first or only 1 woman is mentioned in a sea of men. There’s also the challenge of what I think women are expected to write about, especially Black women.
How long have you been performing on stage?
Ebony: I’ve been performing poetry on stage since 2006.
What is your favorite piece that you get excited to do?
Ebony: Hmmm… the word “excited” does a thing to the psyche doesn’t it? I don’t know if I have a favorite piece, I’m proud of all my work. There are poems that I don’t necessarily have the energy or mental capacity to do on a whim, like “Happy Father’s Day” or “Compassion Fatigue”… those are tough, emotionally. I have poems that I want to supersede me when I’m gone, like, “Mental Health Barz” or “Happy Mother’s Day” or “Box”.
Where would you’re dream location be to preform and who would you want to be In the audience?
Ebony: My dream location? That’s a great question that I’m not sure I’ve thought so much about until now. I would like to perform at a major conference for Planned Parenthood or the Mental Wealth Expo. I’d love to perform at a Grammy’s or BET Award show. I would want my mom, my life partner, and close friends in the audience to share that moment with me and to be proud of me as well.
What other talents do you love to showcase?
Ebony: I have a lot of skills that I don’t generally showcase unless it is the right setting. I love to dance and cook. I love to love folks well. I love to tell stories and make folks laugh. I’d say these are talents, but they’re more of a skill to me.
What advice would you give females who want to go on stage but don’t think they would be heard?
Ebony: Go on stage and be heard anyway. People can’t unhear what they’ve heard. Your poem, your story, your voice deserves to be heard, your presence deserves to be felt, and your courage deserves to be seen.
What do you think makes you stand out from others?
Ebony: I think my voice is unique and how I perform deliberately with my body is honest. I do me extremely well. Someone told me that my work is under-rated, and I’m not sure I even knew there was a rating or measurement to compare my work to and by who’s definition. Meh. I don’t know that I’m always concerned with “standing out” as much as I’m concerned with making sure my work is genuinely felt and that I continue to write like and sound like me. I believe I’ve made a name for myself in the poetry industry not just through my poetry, but with my person & kinship to others. I just stand up though (haha) I’ll let other folks determine the ways in which I stand-out
OPEN MIC!!!!The stage is yours…..enjoy!
Please Google me and follow me on social media. Please also support, buy, and share BloodFresh & Home.Girl.Hood. Thank you so much.