This past Thursday, poet Kavi Ade visited Rollins to share some of their poetry. Ade was brought to Rollins by the Student Leadership Forum, presented by Rita Bornstein. Students gathered in Bush to listen to Ade’s poetry and opinions on gender identity and race in contemporary America.
Ade is a spoken word poet from Philadelphia, who has specialized in social justice and gender studies. The poetry presented by Ade had clear connections to their life, covering complex issues such as gender identity, race, stereotypes, suicide, sexual assault, and family. As a trans individual, Ade has faced difficulties throughout their lifetime in getting others to accept them. Ade mentioned that they especially had difficulties with their family, since both religion and cultural backgrounds left their parents with complicated views on transgenderism.
Ade mentioned that in order to cope with the rejection they initially faced from their family, there was a period of several years where Ade did not speak to their parents. This separation allowed both Ade and their family to grow more tolerant, although there were still arguments to come. However, Ade said that now they are much better with their family.
Ade also spoke often about black culture in America and the recent social movements that have erupted. They spoke about the connection and rage that many black individuals faced during these movements, and the toll it can take on someone’s mental state. After witnessing both the emotional and physical beatings that can occur at these movements, it becomes difficult to remain in these situations.
The black identity mentioned by Ade also covered such ideas as toxic masculinity in the black community. Many black men have expectations placed upon them to be hyper masculine, therefore black individuals who identify as queer will often face harassment their own community as a result of their sexuality or gender identity.
Ade was very connected with their audience, speaking to members between poems and telling stories that either related to the creation of a poem or something that was just crossing their mind. They welcomed questions, and were very open about their past and the struggles that they and others have faced as a result of their identity. Ade was incredibly friendly and open, as well as a talented poet that covered complex emotions and mindsets easily. To learn more about Ade’s mission and poetry, visit their website www.kaviadepoetry.com.