Kemi Alabi

Cultural Strategy Director
Forward Together
Kemi Alabi is a writer and free blk shape shifter living in Chicago, IL. As Cultural Strategy Director of Forward Together, they harness the power of culture for justice through programs like Echoing Ida, a home for Black women and nonbinary writers, and Art as Power, campaign collaborations with visual artists of color. Kemi is the author of The Lion Tamer's Daughter (YesYes Books) with poetry and essays in Boston Review, Guernica, Catapult, Best New Poets 2019 and elsewhere.

Presentations from Facing Race 2018

The North Pole

The award-winning show follows three best friends born and raised in North Oakland, CA who fight, dream, and plot hilarious schemes to remain rooted as their neighborhood becomes a hostile environment. Facing both urban displacement and environmental calamity, they combat evil landlords, crazy geoengineering plots, and ultimately each other.

Featuring post-screening conversation with filmmaker Josh Healy, actress Reyna Amaya, Forward Together’s Kemi Alabi, and NESRI’s Cathy Albisa.

Speakers: Josh Healey, Reyna Amaya, Kemi Alabi, Catherine Albisa

“When You Play Me, You Play Yourself”: Following Black Women to Progressive Wins

When Trumpian Republican candidate Roy Moore lost the Alabama special senate election, the whole country rushed to #ThankBlackWomen: 98% of Black women voters rejected Moore, and we were credited for, once again, saving everyone else from themselves.

But we need more than your thanks — we need policies that work for our communities. Black women are dealt some of the worst blows under conservative leadership. The left must see Black women as more than a reliable voting bloc, but as the vanguards of a more progressive future. By prioritizing the needs of Black women constituents — following the lead of Black women organizers, thought leaders, and candidates — we can build a country where all of us thrive. What media narratives must shift to make this happen? What political issues need reframing, and how?

Echoing Ida, a Forward Together home for social change communicators, amplifies Black women's visions for justice in everything from abortion access to paid leave to criminalization. In this session, we’ll start a conversation with editor and reproductive justice expert Cynthia Greenlee (Rewire), political strategist Jessica Byrd (Three Point Strategies), paid leave and economic justice movement leader Erica Clemmons (9to5 Georgia), media maker and organizer Amber Phillips (Black Joy Mixtape), and our attendees. Together, we’ll review the wins and losses of the last election, discuss the ways Black women were engaged and portrayed, and offer narrative frames that will take us into our progressive future — one where Black women’s needs are centered and championed.

Speakers: Kemi Alabi, Amber Phillips, Erica Clemmons, Cynthia Greenlee