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This Puerto Rican Feminist Poet Reminds Us All of Our Own Power

DENICE FROHMAN

Activist, feminist, poet, performer, and educator Denice Frohman first gained major notoriety — and mad respect — a few years back when she won the Women of the World Poetry Slam competition with a scathing spoken word piece called “Dear Straight People.” 

Video of the "Dear Straight People" performance (which we highly recommend you check out) went viral and her collective work has now garnered over 10 million views.

A queer, mixed Latina (the daughter of Puerto Rican and Jewish parents) originally from New York City, now living in Philadelphia, Frohman has performed at The White House, The Apollo, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, PEN World Voices Festival, and over 200 colleges and universities. 

Her poetry has been commissioned for numerous social justice campaigns, including the #HereWeAre campaign by Twitter, created to uplift women’s voices. Frohman co-organizes #PoetsforPuertoRico, an event-based fundraising platform committed to rebuilding a post-Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico.

Though the outspoken feminist certainly has a full plate, she says she still tries to find time to “watch basketball [or] meet friends at a local bookstore.” She also loves to travel and has marked Machu Picchu in Peru on her map of places to visit.

Frohman sites a couple of prominent Chicana feminists as two of her biggest inspirations: scholar and queer theorist Gloria Anzaldúa, and feminist, activist, poet, and playwright, Cherríe Moraga. 

“I believe it's important for young people to feel permission to be themselves,” Frohman tells The Advocate, “and to fall in love with the power of their voices.” 

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