All posts filed under: Interviews

Motherhood is the Framework: A Conversation with Bassey Ikpi

Bassey Ikpi is a writer, performer, mental health advocate, and author of the instant New York Times-bestselling book, I’m Telling the Truth, but I’m Lying, a debut collection of essays about living with bipolar II disorder and anxiety. Bassey first gained public acclaim as an internationally recognized poet featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. She has been published by The Root, Huffington Post, Essence, and elsewhere. As the founder of The Siwe Project, a mental health organization, Bassey created the global movement #NoShameDay, an initiative that aims to reduce stigma and increase mental health awareness. RM: Can you talk a bit about the process of writing a memoir and deciding how much or how little to include about your motherhood experience? BI: I was very clear with my editor and even my first agent about this. The agent thought I should add something about motherhood, and I said, “No, I’m not even going to put it in the proposal because it’s not happening.” So it was a firm decision made on firm ground. I told …

Mama’s Writing | Kavita Das

Mama’s Writing is Raising Mothers’ monthly interview series, curated by Deesha Philyaw. Kavita Das writes about culture, race, gender, and their intersections. Nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize, Kavita’s work has been published in CNN, Teen Vogue, Catapult, Fast Company, Tin House, Longreads, The Atlantic, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Washington Post, Kenyon Review, NBC News Asian America, Guernica, Quartz, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Her first book, Poignant Song: The Life and Music of Lakshmi Shankar (Harper Collins India), a biography about the Grammy-nominated Hindustani singer, was published in June 2019. Kavita is at work on her next book, Sparking Change on the Page: Lessons and Reflections on Writing About Social Issues (Beacon Press, Fall 2022). She lives in New York with her husband, baby daughter, and hound. Find her work at Kavitadas.com and on Twitter: @kavitamix Raising Mothers: Are there days when you feel like a mother who writes, and others when you feel like a writer who is a mother? Kavita Das: I had my first baby, Daya, in the fall of 2019 …

Mama’s Writing | Toya R. Smith

Mama’s Writing is Raising Mother’s monthly interview series, curated by Deesha Philyaw. Toya R. Smith is a mother, a daughter, a sister, a Titi, a Black girl from West Baltimore. An Aborisha, a Blitch, a Conjurewoman. More than anything, she is a curator of joy. Her publication credits include TueNight and deadhousekeeping. Raising Mothers: Are there days when you feel like a mother who writes, and others when you feel like a writer who is a mother?  Toya R. Smith: At this stage in the game, I feel like a woman who is a mother and likes to write. I don’t identify as a mother, if that makes sense. I’m a woman. A Black woman. A Black woman who does many things, primary among them – mothering. I also write and dance and do makeup and read bones and on and on. I’m waiting for that moment when I feel like a capital W Writer and beyond that, an Author. I think once I’ve had my pieces published in a few different outlets, get paid for …

Mama’s Writing | Aiesha Turman

Mama’s Writing is Raising Mothers’ monthly interview series, curated by Deesha Philyaw. Aiesha Turman recently completed her PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Humanities in Culture at Union Institute & University, where she also received certificates in Creative Writing and Women’s and Gender Studies. Her dissertation, There’s Always Been an Afrofuture: Black Women’s Literature as Technology of Protest explores Afrofuturism’s Black feminist literary lineage beginning with the mid 19th century to the present. She is founder and Director of The Black Girl Project, a socially engaged arts practice that encourages Black women, girls, and femmes to use the arts to explore issues surrounding identity, culture, and individual and collective future-making. She has served as writer and historical advisor for The Weeksville Project, a multi-part audio drama that was performed live at the historic Weeksville Heritage Society in Brooklyn, NY. She was recently chair of the English Department at St. Joseph High School, in Brooklyn where she developed a richly layered curriculum rooted in feminist praxis and social justice. She currently teaches part-time in the …

Mama’s Writing | Julia Mallory

Mama’s Writing is Raising Mother’s monthly interview series, curated by Deesha Philyaw. Julia Mallory  is a poet, children’s book author and founder of the creative literary arts brand, Black Mermaids. Her latest book, Survivor’s Guilt, takes an unflinching look at grief. She is the mother of three children: Julian (deceased), Jaya, and Kareem. She lives in Central Pennsylvania. Her work can be found at www.blackmermaids.com. Raising Mothers: Are there days when you feel like a mother who writes, and others when you feel like a writer who is a mother? Julia Mallory: Not really – my new normal often feels like one huge blurred line. I’ve been a mother longer than I have considered myself a writer so it is hard for me to distinguish between the two. My shifting role as a mother has afforded me more space to write, my shifting role as a writer has afforded me more courage to mother Raising Mothers: How has parenting influenced your writing? Mallory: 2020 marks my 20th mothering anniversary. While I have always considered myself …