Name: Amiri Nash
Residence: Washington, DC
Lives now: Mr. Nash lives on the Brown University campus in the Harambee House, a residence for black students.
Claim to fame: A sophomore at Brown, Nash is a journalist, activist, and poet who was named Washington’s Youth Poet Laureate in 2021. He participated in a roundtable discussion with Vice President Kamala Harris on gay and transgender issues last summer and wrote about the politics of poetry for Washingtonian magazine. “Poetry gives me a way to say things I couldn’t say otherwise,” said Mr. nash.
Breakthrough: A lifelong lover of words, Mr. Nash gave his first public poetry reading in an honorable English class during his sophomore year at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, a public high school in Washington. The piece, titled “Between the Stars,” was based on “being accepted as a queer man,” he said.
Encouraged by his English teacher, he applied for: Mentor press pass, a writing-focused nonprofit, where he interned with Washington Post political reporter Eugene Scott. “Eugene is also black and gay, he showed me how writing is healing for him,” said Mr. nash.
Latest project: In February, Mr. Nash published the Black Star Journal, a student newspaper that covers “masculinity, Afro-Latinx representation, black femininity, black art and black music,” he said. (Recent articles include an analysis of rapper MF Doom’s use of assonance and a piece on how British Vogue covers Black beauty.) He also printed 1,000 copies to “show that black people take up space,” he said. “You can literally walk into our dining room and see piles of newspapers and other students reading.”
Next thing: A collection of 50 poems written by Mr. Nash will be published this year by Words, Beats and Life, a hip-hop and educational nonprofit based in Washington.
From the archives: Before starting his own magazine, Mr. Nash of other publications started by black students at Brown, including BOP (Blacks on Paper), a 1970s literary magazine, and The African Sun, a culture magazine published by members of the Black Student Union from the 1990s.” I want future generations of students to have the same access to the everyday lives of black people at Brown,” he said.