Shawn(ta) Smith

Shawn Smith

Shawn -Co-Editor

Shawn(ta) Smith, is an Archivist and Librarian.

Shawn decided to create Her Saturn Returns and when she turned 27 and two friends from Michfest gave her a book that changed her life.  The result is this collection of poetry, prose, and images on queer women of color turning 30.

Shawn finds equilibrium in collectives.  She is as a producer of Rivers of Honey, a queer woman of color monthly Cabaret at WOW Cafe Theater Collective, as well as collective member and Archivette at the Lesbian Herstory Archives, the largest and oldest lesbian archive in the world.  Smith is also a creative writer, currently working on commissions about Librarianship, Black Lesbian Archiving, and Lesbian Young Adult Fiction.  Her most recent essay, titled: “Patricia’s Child, Patrick’s Penis, and the Sex of Reference: A Lesbian Librarian’s Log of Perverse Patronage”  will feature in Out Behind the Desk : Workplace Issues for LGBTQ Librarians (2011) published by Library Juice Press.

Before academia, Shawn was co-founder and Director of award-winning organization, Sister Outsider (2000-2005), named for Audre Lorde’s book of essays and poem, a peer-education non-profit that employed self-supporting young women to develop social justice projects while earning living wages in her home towns, East Flatbush and Brownsville, Brooklyn.

9 Responses to Shawn(ta) Smith

  1. Yolo says:

    I just want to say that I am so grateful and thankful that you exist, and that your work is amazing. As a black queer man who is an astrologer, I hope to build a community of queer men who can learn/create in the path of sharing/healing as you all have on this site. Much love and lite to you and yours. I wish you so much love and joy on your journey.

  2. Dan Collier says:

    Such a remarkable endeavor, Ms. Smith. And what makes it even more remarkable is that it has never been done before. To capture how these young queer women of color feel on the cusp of a (seemingly) huge moment in their lives would seem so natural that it is astonishing it hasn’t previously been done.

    As a gay white man who had been long partnered until very recently with a Black man, I am fascinated by the mainstream media’s perception of the Black community and its attitudes toward homosexuality. The Black community is, alas, treated as a monolith, lacking in layers, diversity of opinion, subtlty, when the subject of the Black LGBT individual is addressed.

    Which utterly misses the complexity and richness of the reality. Which makes your work in this area especially important, to document the feelings and fears and hopes and dreams and genuine reality of young gay women of color will be a treasure-trove for generations yet to come.

    And the Black Lesbian Elder Project, which you are moderating, this Friday evening will, I suspect, be just as fascinating. Very much looking forward to being there, Ms. Smith.

    All good luck!


    • Thank you Dan for your kind words. I am honored to be called to the task of documenting our lives and communicating through spirit. I will see you Friday, be sure to say hello!

  3. Dan Collier says:

    Shawnta — Nice meeting you last Friday evening at the Black Lesbian Elder discussion at the Center. A terrific night! I sent you an e-mail with some thoughts, possibilities about the BLE doc and your work. But as I looked at the return address from your e-mail to me, it read as — no-reply@ … now I’m not sure you’ll get it.



  4. Pingback: Feeding Our Flesh | Rivers of Honey Cabaret — Rivers of Honey

  5. I need to contact Shawn regarding a Work she submitted to a book about Audre Lorde by Gloria Joseph. I am president of Villarosa Media that is publishing the book. Please contact me in order to include your submission in the book. It was entitled “Transforming the Black Lesbian Community” with the Salsa Soul Sisters. Clara Villarosa

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s