Get to know the accomplished individuals who will present at the TEDxGreenville conference on April 8th! In this series, writer Jennifer Oladipo asks some compelling questions.
A licensed master social worker, Marlanda Dekine (a.k.a. Sapient Soul) directs Speaking Down Barriers and Spoken Word Spartanburg. Her work combines education, social activism, and art to invite the building of a united, diverse community.
What is your favorite TED talk and why?
Words Make Worlds by Dominique Ashaheed. Dominique is a powerful, free speaker. There is no acting or performing. Instead, she shares herself with you. I believe that the most inspiring talks come from individuals who are open and authentic.
How does your work or art affect the way you see yourself?
I see myself as a person who finds cleansing and wholeness through the poetry that I write and share. I have written poems and rap songs since I was in elementary school. I have the binders to prove it! Poetry has saved my life time and time again. I believe that I would not be who I am without this gift. In many ways, poetry is a large part of who I am.
What are the most powerful words you’ve ever heard?
“Your silence will not protect you.” -Audre Lorde
These words fill me up. They help me and guide me. These words remind me that even when I am afraid, I must speak. As the Director of an anti-oppressive organization, we think very critically about the history and architecture of the United States. We consider how oppression and dominance has separated us from living meaningful lives across difference. Unfortunately, it is in our unevolved nature to be fearful of change. It is people’s resistance for engaging the truth of how these barriers came to be that scares me the most. Then, I remind myself of Audre Lorde, bell hooks, Malcolm X, Shirley Chisolm, Grace Lee Boggs, James Baldwin, and many others who have come before me. Each of them opened their mouths.
Personally, I see myself as a citizen of the entire Upstate. I believe that we build separation too often across geographic lines. Who does this better? Who does that better? I think TEDxGreenville has the opportunity to shatter those barriers. The Upstate has so much to share with the world. Why not on a TEDx stage?
Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere! I find inspiration in my fiancé’s hair, the clouds in the sky, and even my dog’s bark. These are the things that remind us that we are alive. These are the blessings that we too often take for granted. Because of the work that I do, I find myself asking questions of myself and others often. Formal education, and even today’s workplace, is always after the facts, asking, “is this evidence-based?” There is so much more to life when we are creative and innovative. I find inspiration in the Creator and all created.
What was the last idea, big or small, that you thought was an idea worth sharing?
Theaster Gates’ TED talk, How to Revive a Neighborhood. His leap at using art to elevate an entire community was powerful. We often see communities make efforts at renewal and revitalization. Too often, residents are pushed out. This happens throughout the Upstate and Mr. Gates demonstrates a route that challenges us to seek options that holds people first.
For more information about Kaleidoscope speakers and performers, visit our 2016 presenter page, where extended bios are available.