• Bio

    SHORT BIO:

    www.FreeQuencySpeaks.com | storyteller, organizer, speaker, host, workshop leader, chaos collagist, youth worker & performance artist, FreeQuency is a gender renegade Kenyan e|immigrant who self identifies as masculine off center, femme adjacent, an AunTea and|or a prettyboi. FreeQuency’s anti-disciplinary work interrogates and occupies the in between while exploring the nuances and stark contradictions of existence under racialized capitalism. This humanoid is the 2018 Women of the World Poetry Slam Champion, the founder of Paza Sauti: Kenya & has been featured in or written for The Independent, the New York Times, OkayAfrica & many other outlets. Recently, FreeQuency has been awarded the Louisiana Worldmakers Grant (2020), the National Performance Network Take Notice Grant (2020) as well as residencies from A Studio in the Woods (2021) & The SIPP Cultural Center (2021). Their poetry & performances have amassed over 2 million views online including a TED talk that almost didn't get released.

     

    LONG BIO:

    www.FreeQuencySpeaks.com | Mwende “FreeQuency” Katwiwa is a Kenyan, Immigrant, Shoga|Queer storyteller, speaker & feeler. The 2018 Women of the World Poetry Slam Champion, a 2017 TEDWomen speaker and ranked 3rd at the 2015 Individual World Poetry Slam, FreeQuency is a highly sought after performer, host, social justice teaching artist and workshop leader. Rooted in various global communities & having spent their life at the intersection of arts, education and activism, they and|or their work in Reproductive Justice, #BlackLivesMatter organizing & activism, LGBTQ+ advocacy and writing have been featured on The Independent, the New York Times, OkayAfrica, Upworthy, TEDx, For Harriet, Teen Vogue, Huffington Post, Everyday Feminism, & other outlets.

     

    FreeQuency is the the founder of A Gate is Leaning: A Black Poetry Series, EMERGENT: A Storytellers Retreat at Foxfire Ranch (2018) and a cofounder of the Afro-Fashion & Culture blog Noirlinians. They are a recipient of the Louisiana’s Worldmakers Grant (2021), The Poets & Writers Project Grants for BIPOC Writers (2020), The Platforms Fund (2018). FreeQuency has also received the Newcomb Alumni Association Young Alumni Award (2020), the Black Out LOUD Excellence in Arts Activism Conference Award (2018), was named one of Gambit's 40 under 40 (2018), an Aspen Ideas Festival Spotlight Health Scholar (2018), one of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts YBCA 100 Honoree (2018) and has had a dissertation “Slam Poetry vs. Racism: Awakening Awareness and Social Change in FreeQuency’s “Dear White People” and “The Gospel of Colonization (2016) written about their social justice based spoken word poetry.