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Michelan Marie "Mi.I.Mi" Le'Monier, Multidisciplinary Artist


"Amazing things happen when there are people who are willing to support and invest in you. We need more spaces that are willing to put as much effort in Artists/Teaching Artists/and Educators."


Michelan "Mi·I·Mi" Le'Monier is an upcoming artist whose growth stems from her inspiration of her melanin community and her development as viBeGirl. Mi·I·Mi started out in viBeSolos and continued taking part in various viBe programs. From there, she became an intern in the summer of 2017, moved on as an administrative apprentice in 2018, and now works as an Operations Assistant at viBe. She loves to devote time spreading positivity and creating memorable poetry pieces. In her free time, she volunteers with the "NYPD Explorers" program and teaches step to kids. She hopes to build up and uplift her community through her performance work.


TAP Work:


"It didn't really hit me that I had to put more effort into exploring and defining my artistic identity outside of my job until I took part in TAP. Here, I've been giving the time and tools to really build on the values I hold close to me as an artist as well as create a Teaching Artist statement I feel best represents me and my work."


Most Memorable TAP Moment:


"I will never forget the first day of our fieldwork, I didn't know what to expect, but I was already excited to to learn what I didn't know about arts administration yet. I was both informed and affirmed that the work I am doing is both necessary and has obstacles for everyone. As well as reassured that I was in the right field."


Find out more about Mi·I·Mi here:

"Goddess’s Reflection"


What happens when you can’t see

the Goddess that resides in your reflection.


When cracks morph into holes and you are now

Your greatest fear?


Reflected from missing pieces of

shards bouncing off the backboard


Where your happiness used to be.


What happens to your sanity?

when The Goddess you were looking for

hoping for


Focuses on the shards at your feet

Instead of the horror on your face?


Won’t admit to the mistakes she has made.


It’s obvious she regrets cutting your fingers

On flaws

But so careful not to cut the perfection

Out of what should be realistic fantasies


Expectations to mend flaws

That was built into DNA


And now you’ve unzipped

Every part of you

Down to the genetic coding trying to replicate what was never really you.


She’s nothing like you.


She’s sexually free

Tied down to bedposts

Untied from expectations


She tells you what she wants.


She forgives, but isn’t taken for a fool

But you, you’re nothing like her.

She’s focused on the parts that love

not on the parts that sabotage.


And you stand there,

Horror on your face.

As you realize....


"Prison"


I'm learning not to hold my tongue

Behind the prison of my teeth

Unclench these pearly bars

And let my tongue fold and unfold around itself

A ritual dance to appease

Truth


Let loose sounds I'm supposed to swallow,

But spit

A venomous thought: to release

My unladylike venacular

Cause no lady should ever reliquish


Her Thoughts

Her Truth


So I spit shit, an unladylike venacular.


And I love it.


A soul that spits venom from an imprisoned tongue


Learning not to hold it

Behind the prison of my teeth

Unclench these pearly bars

And let my tongue fold and unfold around itself

A ritual dance to appease

Truth

Let loose sounds I'm supposed to swallow,

But spit

A venomous thought: to release

My black-like vernacular


"A Scratched Record of Decaying Bones"


It’s a deep ache in my throat

Too bad I couldn’t grow a backbone.

I mean grow back the bones I’d broken.


Each crack a melody carved into my skull

The sound of it replaying scratching in between

Bone (Membrane)


and my regret for trusting you with the

Music of my soul (bones).


I mean trusting you with keeping these bones together.


That ache travels from throat

To chest.

Creating a bass,

A loud boom!


I think I caught a hairline fracture

Along the sternum of my ribcage from

The repeated force of disappointment

You’ve been applying for years.


I mean I applied to myself because you never

Even said you’d do what i expected you to do.

What I should have asked you to do.

Or maybe I did and you just ignored me.


With the tears I collected to bargain,

I’ll heal this hairline fracture

That’s steadily breaking.


Each crack a steady rhythm keeping beat

With the aching of my bones.

I am withering, waiting for you to continue this song.


Fuse melody and rhythm

To create a cacophony of anger

It gets louder

Everywhere I go, louder

It’s mad

Everywhere I go


It’s a beat that goes on and on and on...


I can’t escape it.

This connotation of my backbone

Is a harsh throne I can’t sit on.


Now I’ve caught a spiral fracture

Because you really got me twisted.


The cracking of these bones stuck on loop.

Harmonizing with each note of collagen tearing from calcium.


I took the liberty of removing these fragile bones on your behalf.

Because you’ve heard this song so many times.


And I’m the only one

Hoping each go around will end differently than the last.


"Being Black and Woman"


I forgot what it meant to be a black woman.

To be honest, I don’t even know if I knew what it meant in the first place.


So I entered the space between the words

Delved between each section of letters


And I guess that’s why they call it intersectionality.


Because in order to understand who I am,


I clung to the different components inside

the title.

And hoped that I would find myself somewhere

between the sounds “Bla” and “man”.


But no matter how hard I clung.

How deep I dug my nails into the “k”

Scratched and clawed at the “W”

Nothing stuck.


So I fell.

Between being black

and being a woman.


Between oversized portions of food

and dieting before summer comes.


Between hips stretched wide enough to reach for my ancestors’ hands.

and a womb strong enough to house future generations of black women

even after it’s been scavenged and desecrated for centuries.


I fell between death threats over my skin color

and death threats over not wanting to give it up.


What does it mean to be a black woman?

Does it mean having the world tell you everything you should be?


Because I depended on the world to tell me that for years.

Let the world silence me

turn my own voice against me.


Not knowing that I am a black woman.

Meaning my voice is a weapon.


And “No weapon formed against me

shall prosper...”


So why do I feel this world is conspiring to not only make sure I am not prosperous,

but properly buried beneath the country my ancestors made prosperous.


Without my own voice.


I silently searched for the meaning of black woman

Got lost looking for b, at the beginning of my own title

My temporary invisibility a blanket of comfort

for the world’s self-esteem.


I almost forgot what it meant to be a black woman.

Then I remembered.


Being a black woman is not allowing yourself to fall between

the “Wo” and the “man”

because babygirl...


Thereisnotenoughspaceforyouinthere.