Aaminah Shakur is a multiracial/multicultural queer crip artist, poet, art historian, and culture critic. They write about intersectional life, including disability/chronic illness, race, gender, sexuality, trauma, and of course, art.
Aaminah Shakur began contributing to OTV as a poet, served as OTV’s first Artist in Residence, and has also contributed essays. As of Winter 2017, Aaminah has been named Senior Poetry Editor and will be the primary person accepting poetry submissions for OTV. Aaminah’s goal as Senior Poetry Editor is to diversify the work showcased at OTV, encouraging poets of color, queer poets, and disabled poets to submit work. People of multiple marginalizations and “intersectional lives” are especially encouraged to submit poems.
A multi-ethnic/multi-cultural disabled, queer rabble rouser and self-taught experimental artist, Shakur’s visual art and photography can be seen throughout the site, and illustrating their own writing. Their visual work is primarily mixed-media combining text/poetry, collage or transferred images, paint, fiber arts, and beadwork, with a use of found and repurposed items. Both written and visual work explores themes of love, gender, motherhood, spirituality, sexuality, disability, trauma, mental illness, identity, history, borders, culture, privilege and oppression, abuse, freedom and revolution – and how all of these are interconnected. The most frequent terms used to describe Shakur’s offerings are “raw” and “authentic”. Shakur is currently studying art history and has added cultural critique and historical contextualization to their mission, with an emphasis on decolonizing art history and bringing back to light forgotten artists of color, women, and diverse genders and sexualities.
As Senior Poetry Editor, Shakur is looking for diverse voices and to expand OTV to embrace narratives outside the easily found. People of color, immigrants/refugees, disabled people, queer people, and especially people who live intersectional lives with multiple marginalizations are who Shakur is most excited to read. Shakur also strongly encourages poets to include images they own (of their own artwork, photography) etc. to illustrate their poems, and will be incorporating image descriptions going forward to make publications more accessible to a broader audience.
I am NOT a heavy-handed editor at all when it comes to poetry. Poetry is so much more subjective, in my opinion, and deeply personal. I either like it or I don’t. I either find it stimulating or I don’t. On occasion I may ask about the way you are phrasing something (especially in the case of inappropriate use of a phrase that can be offensive), and I may occasionally suggest a different line break or something due to the rhythm, but any edits will be suggestions and discussions with you. I may also recommend holding something for a different theme. Mostly it will simply be “yes, we’re happy to publish this” or “no, sorry, not interested in this at this time”.
Check out some of their writing outside OTV, such as: