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Performing blackness in white spaces — including on public radio

Imani Sims and Carvell Wallace.
Imani Sims and Carvell Wallace.

Imani Sims is KUOW’s inaugural #NewsPoet – a program in which Pacific Northwest poets respond in verse to what the station airs. Below is an excerpt of her poem "Better than Captivity."

Greet the open: surrender.

Inhale hummingbird hymns.

Play without apology.

Loosen hips in red

Silk. We have become

Our ancestors whisper

Against constellation sky.  

The inspiration was a Record segment on our discomfort with discussing race; the imagery was born of the Marvel film "Black Panther." 

To some extent, both the poem and the original segment are about performing blackness in white spaces. Imani sat down with Carvell Wallace, New York Times magazine contributor and host of the podcast "Closer Than They Appear" – not for a performance, but for an honest conversation.