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Author Topic: Spoken-word workshops aimed at gay teens  (Read 2504 times)


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Spoken-word workshops aimed at gay teens
« on: February 22, 2007, 05:40:55 AM »

Spoken-word workshops aimed at gay teens

Spoken-word artist Emanuel Xavier says most gay teens have it better today than 19 years ago when his homophobic, fundamentalist mother kicked him "out on the streets at 16."

"We've come a long way, but unfortunately the Tim Hardaway incident reminds us we have a long way to go," said Xavier, 35, of Brooklyn, N.Y., who'll conduct a series of spoken-word workshops for South Florida gay teens today through Saturday.


Hundreds of students from school gay-straight alliance clubs will participate in Xavier's workshops, said Robert Rosenberg, associate director of Tigertail Productions.

The events are co-sponsored by Tigertail (through its teen WordSpeak program) and GLSEN South Florida, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.

"The goal is to use the spoken-word medium, which bridges poetry, theater and the hip-hop worlds, as a way to encourage teenagers to express themselves and develop their reading and writing skills,'' said Rosenberg, who founded the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.

He describes Xavier as "one of the leaders in the gay, spoken-word field."

Xavier, who escaped an early life of sexual abuse, drugs and prostitution, said he aims to "inspire and motivate" the young people.

"It's important to give voice to their experiences. The world at-large can see that we share universal experiences, even though we're defined by our sexuality," said Xavier, who came to prominence in 1996. "What I hope to accomplish is to instill in a younger generation that it's perfectly OK to be openly gay and thrive.

"Spoken word is about expressing oneself. And poetry can be very healing."

Emanuel Xavier has a web site and a MySpace page. Mr. Rosenberg may characterize this poet as "one of the leaders in the gay, spoken-word field," but I would be more inclined to call him one of the greatest gay poets of our day, perhaps of all days.

He is well worth reading and well worth listening too.

I hope his workshop inspires a thousand new gay poets in Miami and beyond.
"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
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