The Kitchen Table Revisited

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

(from left to right): Ursula Rucker, Liza Garza, Mayda del Valle, Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, and D’Lo.
Liza Garza, a Latina and Muslim poet and vocalist, author of the book of poetry “You Never Knew Until I Spoke” and artist of the album BloomBeautiful, performed a set of three songs.
Spoken word artist Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai described herself as a “five foot two tattooed Asian female,” in her performance of a poem entitled “Self-Centered.” The piece was inspired by a desire to move away from identifying oneself as the other. Tsai is the author of Inside Outside Outside Inside, Thought Crimes, and artist of the album Infinity Breaks
D’Lo, a South Asian trans man poet, performed a characterization of the mother coming to terms with D'lo's sexual orientation and several poems articulating experiences from his own viewpoint.
Mayda Alexandra del Valle, an original cast member and writer for the Broadway production of Russell Simons Def Poetry Jam, performed three poems. “Mommy’s Making Mambo,” which drew upon her experiences as a Latina American, earned a standing ovation from the audience.
Ursula Rucker is a poet and vocalist, whose latest album is called RUCKUS SOUNDSYDOM and was featured on The Root’s 1994 album “Do You Want More?!!?!!”

The Kitchen Table Revisited Concert, held on Saturday in LPAC, featured women artists of color, Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, Mayda del Valle, D’Lo, Ursula Rucker, and DJ Ultraviolet. Organized by Dean of Intercultural Center Rafael Zapata, and Maori Holmes from the Black Lily Music and Film Festival, the concert was part of a weekend full of events intended to highlight the presence of women of color in the arts. The title was inspired by the activist feminist press started in the 1980s, called Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press.

The Swarthmore Womyn of Color Collective also co-hosted the event. “It is important to have events/spaces where the work and art that women of color create can exist,” said Grace Kaissal ’10, “outside of intellectual/academic spaces, through a medium that is accessible to everyone, and to showcase work that you don’t see on a regular basis in mainstream media. It’s not just about having diversity in representation but also diversity in content, including those very real female experiences in everyday discourse.”

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