Ashlee “Lola” Haze who is a spoken word artist from Atlanta, Georgia performed for Live at Wheaton on February 25. Her message to the Wheaton community was, “Listen more than you speak. Read more than you write. Check your privilege if you have it. Create more spaces for people of color and make sure those places are safe.”
Haze is a member of the Java Monkey Poetry Team, has been a feature on the YouTube channel Button Poetry, was the champion of the Queen of the South Poetry Slam in 2014 and was a two time champion of the Roswell Roots Poetry Slam in 2012 and 2014.
An outspoken advocate for the rights of black women in America, her show served as a connection between Wheaton’s celebration of Black History Month and its upcoming preparation for Women’s History Month.
During her show, Haze attempted to actively engage the audience by giving them prompts and asking them to shout back keywords. Her work covered topics such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the movie “The Help”, deceased rapper Claudia Adeorotimi and artist Missy Elliot.
Her show was well received by those in attendance. “I’m exploring myself as a poet, so it’s great to hear from her – especially being a woman of color, she’s just an inspiration,” said Natasha Shrestha ’19. “For Black History Month, on the cusp of Women’s History Month, we need to hear from someone with more experience [who is] saying all the right things,” said Amanda Banegas ’17.
“I’ve been reading Bell Hooks for class and it’s all about finding your voice… not forcing yourself to assimilate or please others. [Haze’s] poems spoke to me, she was unapologetic,” said Tyana Craig ’19. The show was put on by the Wheaton College Programming Council. Audrey Aka ’18, member of the Black Student Association and the spoken word group iSpeak, performed a few of her own poems for the opening act.