Crystal Irby | Bible Belt Black: A Biomythography

Crystal identifies as a Black Creative, an artist who creates work across multiple genres that centers on the Black experience. She is a spoken word poetry grand slam champion, published writer, actress and current cohost of Dem Black Mamas, a podcast that delves into the unique experience of Black mothers. Her recent theatre credits include, The Mrs. & the Mistress and Untitled Reconstruction Play. The Mrs. and the Mistress goes where most are too afraid to venture, and discovers the unexpected, healing. Untitled Reconstruction Play is a compilation of the testimony of residents in Spartanburg, SC, on the activities of the Ku Klux Klan in 1871. The show is made up of excerpts from the Federal Joint Select Committee’s investigation, as well as history, memoir, and poetry written by the cast.

Crystal was a member of the international poetry collective, Colors of the Diaspora, which was comprised of female artists from the U.S. and South Africa. She traveled to South Africa and performed in the premiere of the original multi-lingual theater piece, Colors of the Diaspora, at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. In addition to international travel, Crystal has toured throughout the country performing her poetry at various colleges and universities, performed on world famous stages such as The Comedy Store in Los Angeles. She had shared the stage with transformational individuals such as Iyanla Vanzant, star of OWN TV’s Iyanla Fix My Life. Crystal has been the curator for countless poetry shows including the Pan African Film Festival Spoken Word Festival, which takes place in Los Angeles, CA each year.

Crystal is a contributing writer for For Harriet. Her work has also been published in anthologies, including Hub For the Holidays (2013) and HIS RIB: Poems, Stories and Essays by HER (2007). Beyond poetry and spoken word, Crystal is dedicated to pushing the community forward and amplifying Black voices. Crystal is also a facilitator for Speaking Down Barriers and a member of the board of directors of Hub City Writers Project (www.hubcity.org), a non-profit press, which publishes well-crafted, high-quality works by new and established authors, with an emphasis on the Southern experience. She is an active member of West Main Artist Coop, where she teaches acting workshops once a week. Crystal obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Media Production from Florida State University.