FreeQuency in the News
"5 Powerful Spoken Word Poetry Performances by Women You Need to Watch Right Now"
4.27.2016 | Teen Vogue
Not only does FreeQuency carefully pick a witty title for this piece, she digs right into society’s affinity for slut shaming. The work points out that when women experience sexually assault, they are regularly shamed and held responsible, while their attackers are liberated from blame. What’s even more shocking is the way the poet fearlessly takes politicians to task by pointing out their deficiencies when it comes to confronting rape culture.
ANOTHER RAPE POEM: A LIST OF POEMS THAT BREAK THE SILENCE ON SEXUAL ASSAULT + RAPE CULTURE
3.9.2016 | Words Dance Publishing
I’ve been thinking a lot about rape poems, how people basically view them as a trope of the genre at this point, how almost every poet I know has one—whether they use the R-word or not, whether it’s about them or a friend or just the culture we live in. I have one in my second book. For the longest time, I felt guilty about writing another one. Like I’d already used up my opportunity, like if I didn’t have something particularly new to say about the topic, then I shouldn’t bother bringing it up again. But for the last month, it’s been almost all I could write about.
Spotlight Video: Listen Carefully, This Is What Rape Culture Sounds Like In America
9.7.15 | Femvocates
"I'm a huge fan of spoken word. I’m also a huge fan of discussing rape culture. Mix those two together and you get one of the best spoken word performances I have seen..."
Fashion and Culture in America's "Most African City"
9.7.15 | Abiya Magazine
Fierce, fresh, fly. These are some of the words that come to mind when describing Denisio Truitt and Mwende Katwiwa’s new blog “Noirlinians.” The self-described “AfroFashion blog” is an ode to African clothes and culture in New Orleans...
Poet Breaks Down to Complicated Joys of Black Motherhood
7.23.15 | Huffington Post
The Kenyan-native performed her powerful poem at the 2015 Women Of The World Poetry Slam this past March in Albuquerque, New Mexico. FreeQuency talks about how much she wanted to be a mother, until she realized what motherhood is really like for so many black women in the U.S.,“Now I’m 23 years old and I don’t know if I have what it takes to stomach motherhood in this country,"
A Moving Tribute to the Women Raising Black Children in America
7.14.15 | BLAVITY
These poets talk about the nuances of Black motherhood. Their one-liners will speak truth to feelings you never knew how to express and leave you stunned, tearful and gasping for more...
‘Noirlinians’ Fashion Bloggers Say New Orleans Is “The Most African U.S. City”
7.7.15 | OkayAfrica
Activism on (and off) the streets with BYP100
3.15.15 | Antigravity Magazine
Several things distinguished New Orleans' "Black Lives Matter" protests from out city's usual sign savings, including that much of the visible leadership was young Black women, part of what may be an emergent new generation of civil rights organizers with a radically different analysis and approach...
Women are the majority of rape victims in the United States and across the world, yet somehow their is some sort of consensus that her morals need to be questioned, rather than approach this as a sex crime. This frustrating issue was explored in a slam poetry event in Oakland, CA at the prelims of the 2o14 National Poetry Slam by artists Freequency and Desiree Dallagiacomo. Their 3 minute piece called “American Rape Culture” points to a specific area of pop culture which they say has a massive effect on how we view rape today.
How Rape Has Become a Staple of American Culture
1.30.15 | Everyday Feminism
A New Orleans Writer's Roundup"
1.16.15 | Press Street
In her introduction, Katwiwa describes being moved while reading widely circulated criticisms Chief Elk had made of Eve Ensler, creator of the Vagina Monologues and its corresponding “V-Day,” while she—Katwiwa—was overseeing a production of that performance at Tulane...
"8 Hit Songs With Hidden Meanings
That Should Never Be Played Again"
1.1.15 | Upworthy
"Why are these kinds of songs so dangerous?
If a song like "Blurred Lines" is a #1 hit, what does that say to a rape victim? It says we, as a society, are not taking rape seriously. So how is a rape victim supposed to trust a system that's part of this rape culture? They often don't...
"Listen Carefully, This is What Rape Culture Sounds Like in America"
12.22.14 | HuffPost
"Two women just explained the insidious nature of rape culture in under three minutes. At the 2014 National Poetry Slam in August, spoken word artists Desireé Dallagiacomo and Mwende Katwiwa (a.k.a FreeQuency) performed the poem"American Rape Culture," and explained how some of the songs we sing along to on the radio are directly contributing to rape culture..."
"Millennials and the Age of Tumblr Activism"
12.19.14 | New York Times
"Mwende Katwiwa, 23, creator of the FreeQuency Frequently Writes Tumblr and a community organizer offline, thinks Tumblr has helped create new opportunities for engagement. “The last national movement in the black community didn’t have access to social media like this,” Ms. Katwiwa said. “Without those retweets and reposts, we wouldn’t still be talking about Trayvon Martin...”
10.16.14 | Texas Grand Slam
"Poetry, specifically spoken word was introduced to me as a safe space for Queer youth and for Youth of Color to learn and grown in their identities and activism through art based expressions (poetry, hip hop, Djing, breakdancing, stepping) Through this program, I became a youth activist and found that my greatest tool was my tongue (it was definitely not my two feet dancing), and I began identifying as a poet and activist. This was a crucial stage of my life when I discovered that activism was really what I felt passionate about..."
"Woman With A Vision"
5.15.14 | The New Wave
"That inspiration coupled with self-motivation continued to fuel her desire for volunteerism throughout her Tulane years. She has been recognized with a Jim Runsdorf Excellence in Public Service Student Award, the Bruce J. Heim Foundation Fellowship and a Public Service Fellowship with the Tulane Center for Public Service, where she has served as a student advisory board member, among other honors...
"Feminist You Should Know"
2.23.14 | BUST Magazine
"Recently I sat down with the lovely and talented Mwende Katwiwa — a.k.a. FreeQuency, a spoken word artist, recent recipient of the Feminist You Should Know Award, and senior at Tulane University. Ms. Katwiwa is 22 and double majoring in Political Economy with International Perspectives, and African & African Diaspora studies...
"Local Poets Represent LA"
2014 | The Drum Newspaper
"Born in Kenya, Katwiwa calls New Orleans home. She attended her first spoken word show in middle school, called Project 2050. “I had never heard poetry that was so relevant to my life and experiences,” she said. “I was so used to poetry being an ‘art for art’s sake’ based on what I had been taught and the poetry I encountered in school..."
"Highlighting Women Innovators"
2013 | Melissa Harris-Perry's Anna Cooper Project
"With a name like Winnovators, which means women innovators, it kind of sounds like you’re reaching out to those crowds, but for us it was more having this universal connecting appeal to whatever crowd it is. It should be of interest to anyone that something is being innovated, and we’re just highlighting the fact that it’s women because we have an understanding that in our society women’s inventions, women’s ideas may not be as valued or easily and readily publicized..."
"Learning to Unlearn"
11.14.13 | Tulane Hullabaloo
"...Among the most poignant moments of the evening involved Tulane senior and spoken word artist, Mwende Katwiwa (aka FreeQuency)...FreeQuency then shared a powerful and searing piece of slam poetry entitled “For John Mac,” the name by which she and her fellow volunteers referred to John McDonogh High, and received the loudest applause of the night..."
10.18.13 | Texas Grand Slam
1. How has your poetry changed since you started slamming?
It hasn’t. I would never change my poetry just for the sake of competition. Other than time limits, nothing has changed and even with that I always just write my poetry then tailor them to the time limits after and have 2 separate pieces, 1 to slam with and 1 to just write.