Local Gem: Ebony Stewart

PIctured: Ebony Stewart. Photo by Jen Reel for the Texas Observer.

PIctured: Ebony Stewart. Photo by Jen Reel for the Texas Observer.

Have you heard of Ebony Stewart?

Well, you should have.

As creatives, we believe in the power of art to create change, start movements and impact culture. We're continually inspired (and motivated) by the women we meet who set out to do just that with their work. Ebony Stewart, poet and artist, is that kind of babe.

On Thursday, Ebony will begin her two-weeks-long residency at The Vortex, performing a one-woman show she has titled "Hunger." In preparation for the show, we had a chance to ask Ebony a couple of questions about her work, her poetry and the power of her words.

Check out the Q&A below:

Q: What inspired you to start writing/performing poetry? Did you have any role models or learn from someone, in particular?

A: As far back as I can remember I've always liked to write the freedom through the power of words. The women in my family (especially my mom) will always be models, lessons and stories.

Q: Do you have any tidbits of advice for writers and poets (or people with passions, in general)?

A: Write the honest. Write what is true. Stay persistent. Trust your gut.  Don't worry about not being recognized... You see you therefore the gods do, too.

Oh, and your story is always necessary.

Q: What's the main focus of your poetry, i.e. what are your reasons for writing? Why is it important?

A: I write because I have to. I'm a life writer. I write what I know. I know love, I know fear, I know heartache, I know black and being a woman. It's important because my truth and experiences are relatable and what I have to offer to the world.

Q: What have been your favorite moments of creativity?

A: Wow, that's a hard question. Whatever I have passion wrapped around is usually what I write about.

My former students always brought out my creativity, me being my own never-ending love story, laughin' at myself in these serious times also brings about creative energy. Plus, women tell the best stories. The one-woman show, "Hunger," I think is my best work... yet. My plan is to always write the healing.

Photo by  Yöeme Hömari

Photo by Yöeme Hömari

Q: What have been your most challenging moments in performance and poetry thus far?

A: I think my most challenging moments in being a poet, performer, woman, black being is never feeling like I'm enough—having to answer the questions of a blank page, having to remind myself of my worth. I guess it's not the challenges but the consistency in overcoming them.

Q: When you're discouraged, what do you run to or away from?

A: Haha! Good question. I think I run towards understanding—whether that be loving arms and ears of the people I trust, comfort food or the reassurance of my ancestors. Music, a good book, and if all else fails, solitude. I run from people and things I know I'll regret, like McDonald's or crappy television.

Your favorite band: I'm currently listening to more solo artist and I'm still hooked on Nirvana, Outkast and Pussy Riot. But new bands that I enjoy would be Alabama Shakes and Tedeschi Trucks Band.

Your favorite book: "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enough" by Ntozake Shange. FOR LIFE, SON!

Or anything by Lucille Clifton. 

Your local Austin gem: Hey Cupcake, Sugar Mamas, or Tony's Jamaican Food. Because... I love food and cupcakes.

Your social media handles: @gullyprincess on Instagram, @EbPoetry on Twitter and Ebony Stewart on Facebook.

Sneak a peep into Ebony's world at her website, too!

Jane Claire HerveyComment