Imani Lige-Crenshaw, a senior at Sierra High School in Harrison School District 2 and co-editor of the high school newspaper, The Sentinel, has won “The Romero Scholarship for Excellence in Spoken Award.”
The is the second time David A. Romero, a spoken-word artist from Diamond Bar, Calif., has presented the $500 scholarship to a graduating senior. The prize recognizes original poetry on the topic of social justice.
A panel of five judges reviewed poems, applications and letters of recommendation before selecting Imani.
“This means a lot to me,” she said in a news release.
Her counselor, Tyra Little, said Imani’s goal is to become a published author.
Romero said judges felt that her poem “Triple Threat,” touched on the theme of intersectionality, highlighting her three marginalized identities: Black, LGBTQIA and female, which she says define her and affect how she is treated by society.
An excerpt from Imani’s “Triple Threat” highlights the prejudice the self-identified gender-fluid Moorish-American woman could experience from her three identities:
"I am sorry my melanin skin causes you fear on the runway.
"I am sorry my feminine stature causes anxiety in a boardroom.
I am sorry my affection showcase causes you discomfort in a chapel."
Her poetry “challenges a patriarchal, racist and queerphobic America," Romero said. But the poem predicts,
“One day / It’ll be fine / To be Black / To be gay / To be female / In our America.”
Imani hopes to attend Babson College, the University of Denver or the University of North Carolina in the fall.
Sierra High School counselor Tyra Little said in the news release that for Imani, aside from being exclusively a political platform, poetry is also a means of self-love.
“Imani’s passion is her poetry," Little said. "Poetry has helped Imani cope with her depression and anxiety issues, as well as provided her with an outlet to express herself.”