Charis welcomes Aurielle Marie in conversation with Brittany Packnett Cunningham for a celebration of Gumbo Ya Ya: Poems. Gumbo Ya Ya, Aurielle Marie’s stunning debut, is a cauldron of hearty poems exploring race, gender, desire, and violence in the lives of Black gxrls, soaring against the backdrop of a contemporary South. This event is co-hosted by the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History.
These poems are loud, risky, and unapologetically rooted in the glory of Black gxrlhood. The collection opens with a heartrending indictment of injustice. What follows is a striking reimagination of the world, one where no Black gxrl dies “by the barrel of the law” or “for loving another Black gxrl.” Part familial archival, part map of Black resistance, Gumbo Ya Ya catalogs the wide gamut of Black life at its intersections, with punching cultural commentary and a poetic voice that holds tenderness and sharpness in tandem. It asks us to chew upon both the rich meat and the tough gristle, and in doing so we walk away more whole than we began and thoroughly satisfied.
Aurielle Marie is a Black and queer essayist, poet, and cultural strategist hailing from the Deep South. A 2019 Ploughshares Emerging Writer award recipient, she’s received invitations to fellowships from many literary institutions, including Lambda Literary, VONA Voices, and Tin House. Her work is featured in TriQuarterly, Southeast Review, Black Warrior, and other journals. Aurielle Marie writes and speaks about Blackness, bodies, sex, and pop culture from a Black feminist lens.
Brittany Packnett Cunningham is a leader at the intersection of culture, justice and policy. As an activist, educator and writer, she builds platforms to activate everyday people to take transformative action for justice.
Brittany serves as Vice President of Social Impact at BET, is an NBC News and MSNBC contributor, and host of UNDISTRACTED, an intersectional news, and justice podcast. Brittany is also the founder and principal of Love & Power Works, a full-service social impact and equity agency.
Brittany is the former co-host of iHeart Radio’s Best Political Podcast of 2019, Pod Save The People, and her TED Talk on confidence has garnered over 6 million views worldwide, making it one of the top ten most popular TED Talks of 2019. Brittany’s forthcoming book, We Are Like Those Who Dream, is due to hit shelves soon.
Brittany graced the covers of British Vogue and Essence Magazine, been listed as one of Time’s 12 New Faces of Black Leadership, and has been honored by BET, Beyonce, Politico Magazine, Marie Claire, The Trayvon Martin Foundation, Higher Heights and more. She mentors frequently, serves on the Gucci Changemakers and Sephora Equity Councils, and lives with her husband in the Washington, DC area.
This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices. https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CharisCircle?code=chariscirclepage
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Winner of the 2022 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Poetry, Gumbo Ya Ya, Aurielle Marie’s stunning debut, is a cauldron of hearty poems exploring race, gender, desire, and violence in the lives of Black gxrls, soaring against the backdrop of a contemporary South. These poems are loud, risky, and unapologetically rooted in the glory of Black gxrlhood.