Nayo Jones was born on March 19, 1996 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and more particularly, on the West Side. Jones was born to a black mother and a white father, but was mainly raised by her father after her parents divorced when she was young. Her upbringing played a key role in the development of her racial identity as a young adult. Today, she is a spoken word poet and musician. She is a part of the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement. Jones makes note that she belongs to the Slytherin house from Harry Potter and she takes ultimate pride in her sexuality, coining herself as a queer black girl. Her intersecting identities are focal points in her work.
Poem 1: "Healing"
Her head was adorned with long Marley hair twists that compliment the aesthetic she brought to the audience. She wore burgundy lipstick, a jean jacket and a septum ring in her nose. Her large shining earrings shook when she shook. She stood before an audience in front of a cool, orange background. Before she opened her mouth to deliver her spoken word performance, people clapped. And so she began.
In her passionate and powerful rendition of her poem, aptly named Healing, she expressed to the audience her feelings about how loving someone else could be a savior to yourself. She spoke about a time when she went to a therapist that told her that she couldn’t really love someone else without practicing self-love first. She said the therapist laughed when she said it, as if that were obvious and Jones then went into detail about self-harm and finding love in the midst of it. Jones said of a lover, “Loving you makes life worth it.”, thus confirming her feelings and proving her therapist wrong. “Love will not heal me” was repeated several times, referring to self-love. During the performance, she spoke in a low-medium wavering voice volume and she cried. Her last line resonated with viewers, “I love you enough to want to love myself, too.” Which most appropriately evoked emotion from the onlookers. This is spoken word poetry.
ENGL4302 Spoken Word Poetry & Pedagogy at LSU