Spoken Word Artist, Luki, Encourages Women to Use Their Power to Change Their Circumstances
Originally from Washington, DC, and inspired by her grandmother, Luki has always been a writer. Through the years she has been using her pen to express her feelings and communicate with others, all the while pushing love, acceptance, and freedom to everyone she meets.
Focusing on black women, she tells her stories in the hopes that it will inspire, uplift, and remind black women of their power and ability to change any circumstance they find themselves in. She’s performed throughout the DMV Area, New York, Philly, and much more. Featured at Busboys and Poets,The Lincoln Theatre and WKYS 93.9
While teaching poetry in DC Public Schools, she is also encouraging the youth to use their words wisely and confidently express themselves at all times. Continuing to remind herself of the beauty in her struggle and the positivity in every part of her being, she realizes that self love is key. Her motto is, “It’s ok to love, to hurt, to feel sexy, to be vulnerable and to be patient with yourself because through all this, you’re still beautiful organically.”
I recently interviewed the talented spoken word artist where she chatted more about her mission, vision and purpose in life.
Can you tell myself and the readers about yourself?
As far as my upbringing goes, I was born and raised in D.C. in the 90s. I was raised by my father and the women who raised him. I was taught to be proud to be black and how to be a lady to the best of my father’s ability. My grandmother is a writer and my mother is a business guru. I was raised to be thirsty for all knowledge and not just knowledge from the streets I grew up on; and to do my absolute best in everything I tried. Ultimately it’s my upbringing that pushes me to this day to be the best version of myself at all times.
Growing up and still to this day who are your inspirations/mentors?
My grandmother will always be my biggest inspiration. She has always been a writer and a lover of books. She encouraged me not only to read, but also to start my writing journey when I started high school and I haven’t put my pen down since. She also published a book of her own writings and knowing how much she’s gone through, if she could speak her truth I knew I could too. It sticks with me that she was unafraid to go on that journey. Now, I challenge myself and face my fears every chance I get. I’m also inspired by Maya Angelou, Jasmine Manns, and Rebecca Dupas, just to name a few. These women and their stories showed me the way, showed me what it means to be a woman and chase the life you see for yourself, and not to lose yourself in the process.
What inspired you to go into a career of teaching?
It really started with a child development class I took in school; it sparked my interest in teaching children. As I continued my short School career, I learned that there’s so much our children won’t learn if we don’t teach it to them. So much of our history will die if the stories aren’t told. So, I learned and then I learned some more. That way I could teach, do it correctly, and using the right information.
Your writings are powerful. What inspired you to get into writing?
I’ve been writing for a while after being encouraged to do so by my grandmother. I started performing in 2016 when Orville The Poet gave me a friendly nudge in that direction. He’s been a brother to me in this profession and when he read some of my work that year he said, “These are good, you should perform a few. Imagine who needs to hear this”, and since then I’ve been saying what I think needs to be said on certain subjects.
What inspired you to start performing on stage?
The only thing I expected was to perform that one time just to say I did it. Just to face the fear and continue to write. I wasn’t expecting for people to want to hear from m; to be empowered by what I have to say or inspired by my art. I didn’t even think people would like or understand it. But when the change happened it made me take what I do more seriously. People are listening and my job is to give people something worth listening to. My job is to grow as an artist and be open to change but ensuring that the message stays the same.
You have reached such an illustrious position in her poetry and writing. What all have you accomplished and how was the journey getting there?
Let me start by saying I don’t think I’ve reached an “illustrious role/position” just yet. I have performed for the mayor, became an educator in DCPS, and was also featured on 93.9 WKYS a few times. I have been featured in events, joined a group, wrote for a magazine and so much more. The journey into all of these things has been based on me finding the answers to many questions, such as, “Why do I write?”, “Who is my audience?”, “What else can I do with poetry?”, “Where else does poetry exist?”. Finding or creating spaces where poetry can be heard and felt is what the journey has been.
You’re an amazing and talented artist! Where can people catch you perform? Do you have any events coming up?
Wow, thank you so much!! I’m really excited about both of the events I have coming up this month. On the last Friday of the month, I’ll be featuring in Baltimore at Be Free Friday’s. Then the next day which happens every last Saturday is Spirits and Lyrics Open Mic in Manassas, Virginia.
How can spoken word help people overcome a fear of public speaking?
I think spoken word does give the speaker a certain level of confidence. Public speaking is one of the hardest things for people to do, even if it’s to an audience they know and understand. So after writing and practicing, the expression and confidence should go hand and hand. The maturity and growth come with time and experience. Different types of Poetry, different poets, various art scenes, and lots of reading. I believe books are the keys to so many things and the more you know the more you grow. Super cliché but also a fact, all knowledge can be applied and used for the bettering of any situation.
What word of advice can give you to our readers and other spoken word artists and writers?
Just do it: write that book, take that trip, start that relationship, end that relationship, go to that studio session, pick up your paintbrush and make your ideas realities. Life will happen, people won’t be worth the two cents included in their opinions about you, dark days are real and sometimes a struggle to get of out of BUT within you there is light and power over all things so use it, somebody needs you to survive and keep hope alive.