Just another towelhead: Hamda Yusuf at TEDxRainier by TEDx Talks   6 years ago

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Hamda Yusuf, a spoken word poet and a student at University of Washington, grew up listening to stories from her parents who saw stories as a means for preserving their Somali culture. This led her to discover spoken word poetry and her voice. "Just another towlhead" is the title of one of her poems.

Hamda Yusuf is currently living in Seattle but was born in Mombasa, Kenya and grew up in Somalia and the Netherlands. Her love of literature and all things poetry began with her move to the US at the age of 10 where she secretly read the poetry of Rumi and Walt Whitman on top of her English Second Language work in order to accelerate her English lessons. Hailing from Somalia, a country known as a "nation of poets", she uses her poetry as a means to better connect to the ancient traditions of her ancestors.

Today she's a 19-year-old University of Washington sophomore pursuing a degree in international studies. Hamda's work has been featured at The Paramount Theatre, Fifth Avenue Theatre, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam, and at various colleges and universities. Right now she is focusing much of her energy on her college studies, performing within their poetry collective Manic Mouth Congress. Hamda plans to pursue a career in the Department of State while cultivating her poetry in new forms. She is currently working on a book of poetry.

This talk was given November 9, 2013 in Seattle at TEDxRainier, a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences.

TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

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