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Whitney at BLACKFEST!

September 24, 2012

On Thursday I was holding it down at the York University Black Student Alliance’s (YUBSA) seventh annual show BLACKFEST. Held on the York campus, the show celebrates the diversity and sameness of various Black cultures from the Continent and diaspora. It’s history is reflective of  another long-going event YORKFEST, which had little if no representation of the students from the African Diaspora in it’s earlier years, so BLACKFEST was a reaction to that.

My booth, the “Whitney French Writes” table was set up right beside the stage. I was beyond stoked!

It was a great day, from 12 – 4pm I got the opportunity to talk to so many young people about my favourite thing: WRITING!

I forgot tape so note that my signage is held up by string and clothes pins. Ingenious I know.

So naturally copies of 3 Cities were on sale. For the first time in 3 Cities history, the price of the book was reduced to accommedate students’ pockets: 10 bucks a pop! What a steal!

And yes, that is a typewriter, a manual Brother Charger 11 if you were wondering. And it works. I was working overtime Thursday to be honest. I sold handtyped personalized poems for anyone who wanted them. And by the end of the day, there was a proper line up! People wrote down three words and using those words, on the spot, I would bang out a poem….

…and wrap them up with twine and a tag. These pieces above were pre-typed. They sold for a buck a piece. People were diggin’ it way more than I anticipated. Who knew?

I was repping NOW HEAR THIS!, giving away free buttons and stickers, promoting HEAR/HEAR 19 and telling people about the creative writing workshops we do at Operation Springboard.

Then there was an amazing dance cypher. People got live with it! Some talented movers and shakers at BLACKFEST! And with my table by the action, the traffic trickled my way.

A hand-typed poem called Sunday Morning. Read the full piece here.

BLACKFEST was the first time I had my own work up on a merch table and it was a wicked success! I sold 6 books and a bunch handtyped poems and made some amazing contacts with students, poets, musicians, teachers and professors and word-geeks like myself.

Some really happy customers even tweeted about the poems pouring from my station.

A big up to my girl Ameerah Craigg for inviting me to do my thing at BLACKFEST, and thanks to all the amazing performers who actually wore the NOW HEAR THIS! stickers while they performed, inadvertently luring people to my table (oh my tricky tricks) and helped boost my sales.

I should go into business.

Who says poets can’t make money off their art?

Over and out fam!


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