Beginning Wednesday, May 1, Busboys and Poets will host Zami: A Circle of LGBTQ Cultural Performances and Discussions, a monthly series focusing on critical cultural and contemporary issues of the LGBTQ community. Named after the work of lesbian author and educator Audre Lorde, this series seeks to facilitate community discourse regarding the intersections of sexuality, gender, race and human rights by uniting national artists and scholars with local community members.
“I think a series that confronts LGBTQ issues people face is very distinct and something that’s
missing for me in our city,” says Laela Shallal, Busboys and Poets’ manager of Cultural Activities and founder of the event. “I hope it opens a lot of conversations to provide people with alternatives as to how they think about their relationships and politics, to both challenge and support them.”
Aligned with the mission of Busboys and Poets, this new series provides a safe space where artists, authors, and community members can discuss cultural issues relevant to the queer feminist community.
“We want to provide a space where people can talk openly and honestly about their experiences being LGBTQ in DC,” explains Shallal.
The first Zami session will feature an interview and performance by proud Jamaican national Staceyann Chin, author of the memoir “The Other Side of Paradise.” Chin unapologetically identifies as Caribbean, black, Asian and lesbian, and has been featured on the Oprah Show, where she spoke candidly of her experience growing up on the island and the dire consequences of her coming out.
“Chin is somebody who I have personally been a huge fan of, and it was inspiring to read about the obstacles she overcame to be a role model,” says Shallal.
The evening event will conclude with a community question and answer segment.
Zami will be hosted at the Busboys and Poets 14th and V location beginning at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1. For more information, click here.