I am so honored to be able to feature Washington, D.C. poet and educator Luki on Imperfectly B today! This gifted young woman is using her passion for poetry to impact the youth and others in her area, and I was able to chat with her a bit about her awesome work.
To start, Luki is actually the poet’s middle name. “Once I started performing, [about] the first six months or so, it became an acronym which is “Loving U Kills Ignorance,” she shared. “The first [kind of ignorance]is forgetting that what God has for you is for you. The second thing is that the only way someone will have what’s for you is if you give it to them.”
Luki feels that poetry was a gift given to her. Her own grandmother published a book of poetry, which was an inspiration to her. “When I started high school, she gave me a journal and a pen. And she said to me, ‘Don’t put it down because communication is going to be hard for you.’ That is the reason I write.” The poet uses her words to help heal, to grow, to learn, and to share her own perspective.
In that same way, she believes poetry can positively impact and uplift others, start necessary conversations, and see things from a different point of view. She’s seen it for herself.
In addition to sharing her poetry at different events, the creative works as a lead teacher at Poet Life Academy. She and other poets travel to various schools throughout the Washington D.C. area. “Unfortunately, in D.C., there’s a large number of kids that are committing suicide simply because they don’t have someone to talk to,” Luki shared. “What we’re doing with our school is offering children the opportunity to express themselves through art.” Kids can draw and create poems that share what’s on their hearts and how they see the world. Poet LifeAcademy also has a partnership with Busboys and Poets where they host a Saturday class to teach kids from outside of D.C. to also learn to be poets and perform on stage. The kids have also been on field trips to places like the Kennedy Center as well. For Luki, the experience has been nothing short of amazing. In the long run, it’s truly making a change in these kids’ lives.
Luki also is a part of an artistic collective called the Sistah Queens featuring other black female poets from her area. It started out as just a photoshoot celebrating black queens in poetry, but the trio quickly started to write poetry together. They even produced their own poetry show in Baltimore in November 2018. Most importantly, though, the group has become a true sisterhood. “It’s taught me so much about what it means to be a friend and be a sister,” Luki expressed. [It’s taught me] to show up for somebody when they need you and to be held accountable when you’re making a mistake.”
In terms of what’s next for Luki, she wants to do more touring and teaching to share her poetry with more people. She’s also developing her own curriculum for teaching poetry in 2019. The poet also plans to create merchandise through her clothing line, Organically Beautiful, which include shirts, denim wear, dad hats, buttons, phone cases, etc. “I am in a space now where I know that poetry is more of a business, and I can have more of a business standpoint to create the kind of future I want,” Luki stated. Which is all good. It should be a goal to do what you love and be able to feed yourself and your family with what you do! However, she also knows that she has a responsibility to give back to her community with this amazing gift, and she’s definitely doing that.
For aspiring poets looking to impact others, Luki encouraged them to simply speak their truth honestly and openly. As a teacher, she’s helping kids and others hone their craft, but their story and their words are up to them. “Nothing is as hard as it seems. You just literally have to get up and take that first step, and it gets easier the more you do it,” she shared. The poet also shared that it’s okay to be afraid before hitting the stage to perform and to be vulnerable with your works. Luki admits that she has fears everytime she gets on stage because her craft is bigger than her. “The day that I don’t get nervous, I’m disconnected from the gift,” she said. “Use your nervous energy to show people who you are because that’s what that moment on the stage is for. Do not be afraid to be who you are.”