We are pleased to announce Women’s History Month Poetry Festival 2019, A Tribute to Aretha Franklin, Saturday, March 30th, 2-5pm at Creative Suitland. The following interview conducted by Richelle Hammiel share’s Ladi Di’s thoughts on the upcoming event and Women’s History Month.
by Richelle Hammiel, Georgetown University
Women’s history shows the evolution of women not being heard, to them having power of expression through their words. DC native, Sylvia Diane Beverly was raised by two parents who breathed poetry and knowledge. Now a melodic poet known as “Ladi Di”, Beverly brough her family’s passion to life and created opportunities for future poets.
What is the significance of Women’s History Month?
Women’s History Mornth is to bring attention to notable women that have made a difference in the world. Hopefully to learn something and to teach something.
As a poet who’s written for the Smithsonians and your own works, Forever in Your Eyes and Cooking up South, would you say that your’re making history?
Yes, they say that I am becoming a history maker.
At the University of the District of Columbia, you studied under professor/ poet, Gill Scott Heron who said, “poetry doesn’t have to be so deep”. How deep is your poetry? Tell me about your sound.
My poetry is melodic because I was blesed with a natural melody in my voice. My poetry is positive, enlightening, fun -filled, inspiring, encouraging. I can do my signature…..
I’ll Always Be Daddy’s Girl
I’ll always be daddy’s girl
I wanna dance with my daddy again too
I wanna be his little girl, so happy, so true
I wanna whisper words and watch dad smile
I wanna hear him say too bad they can’t stay small a longer while
I’ll always be daddy’s girl
I know that Maya Angelous is one of your greates inspirations. Can you recall the first time that you read or heard one of her poems?
Well my introductory to Maya was not her poetry, but her first novel, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I read that book and I just felt, this person is very generous to share that much of her personal [life] and to put it in a book like that. She reached back to a childhood and brough it up to adulthood. I was impressed with [her]. I always wanted to be an author. So, I thought not that I would write poetry, but that i would write a memoir from reading hers.
Besides Maya Angelou, What other women should be represented during Women’s History Month?
I always shine light on Sojourner Truth because she was an activist for women’s rights after slavery times and she took care of the less fortunate in hospitals. She always took out time for the children, for our youth. When I was given that lead role in a play as Sojourner, I studied the role, the script. Sojourner’s spirit jumped in me or I saw similar ways that I was already like Sojourner.
[Beverly’s Mother] Dorothy Eleanor Beverly, devoted mother, wife, grandmother, great grandmother and friend to every person that she ever met and a prayer warrier. “My number one fan”, I have that poem dedicated to her.
When your mom passed how did it feel to take on the role of lading your family as many generations of women have?
Very exciting. My mom prepared me well. I was the oldest girl, so i helped my mom raise my siblings. They all had/have a lot of respect for me. I want them to be responsible people, like my mother instilled in me to be responsible. One time I said, “Mommy how can you let me do so much, like shopping for groceries, preparing the menu/meals, taking them places… and how can you trust me so bravely with all of that said.” She said, “You never gave me a reason not to.”
Has being that matriarch played a role in your forming of Dazzling Poetess and Collective Voices?
Collective Voices Left to Right: Sistah Joy, Brenado Taylor, and Ladi Di
The leadership role that my mom allowed me to take on before being a matriarch aided me in taking those leadership roles. I’m a trailblazer. I don’t have fear of. Faith keeps me without fear of taking on that step or that project.
What drives you to help those in the community with similar passions as yourself?
That’s part of my legacy. That’s my mission and my goal . Because people don’t do it so much, they show more of a selffulness. I’m always saying, join in or form an organization for our youth, especially our youth, for our elders, our peers. Because I have so many opportunities to showcase my God-given talent, I want part of my legacy as that I help someone else. I say if I pass, I want my tombstone to read, “If I can help somebody, then my living will not be in vain.:
How can women continue to contribute to our history?
They need something. Take action. Think about it, don’t procrasinate on it. Do it. Then contact me. Google me, email me, Facebook me, Twitter me, Instagram me. I love helping people. Think further than what’s in your face. That’s what I’m saying to my Dazzling Poetess.