On Friday February 16, Ebony Stewart came to Beloit’s campus. Stewart is a touring slam poet and sex educator advocate from the central Texas area. When she walked on stage, she introduced herself to the audience saying, “I’m Ebony Stewart aka The Gully Princess aka ‘she’ll eat your cupcake.’” Stewart performed many poems including “Box” or “Anonymous Box Questions Sixth Grade Boys Group Asks Their Sex Ed Teacher.” The poem drew on her time as a teacher and dealt with both hilarious misconceptions (“If you don’t have a condom can you use a plastic bag?”) as well as revealing and vulnerable cries for reassurance (“Why does liking the color pink make me gay? And if I am, is it a bad thing?”) After each poem, Stewart asked the audience a question such as “What’s a pickup line someone’s used on you? Good or bad,” to lead into her next poem, in this case, “How To Properly Flirt With Someone You’re Attracted To & Want To Be Yo Boo.” She asked for participation of her audience and they happily joined along with her. She finished her set with a poem called “Happy Mother’s Day” which ends with the poignant line, “And so I pray to God if I ever have children my mother is the kind of mother I wanna be.”
Stewart ended the night by answering questions (both anonymous and not) from the students in the crowd. She shared a story about letting a kid out early from her AP class everyday so he could “stay alive.” She spoke about the “unkind weather” and her writing process. When asked about how she handles the need for validation for her art, Stewart replied, “I’ve already decided how I feel about my poems.” A piece of wisdom we could all learn from.