Poets of the Week: Chanel Dupree and William Evans

Poets of the Week: Chanel Dupree and William Evans

"Poetry is the feathers of a bird I can't confirm exists."
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Another week, another article! Keep up with all the latest articles here on my profile. With just a couple of handfuls of articles left, you don't want to miss a single one!

This week's Poets of the Week are Chanel Dupree, an inspiring New Yorker who leaves everyone in awe of her work, and William Evans, one of the founders of Blacknerdproblems.com who ruins your childhood with his recent article on why Simba is trash. Here's what they had to say about first venues, pop culture, Disney movies, and ridding the world of problems!


Q: Where was the first venue at which you ever performed your poetry?


Chanel Dupree: The first venue I performed at was the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. I was eighteen years old and there was a college slam happening. I had never performed any writing of mine and decided "what the hell". I actually won. Little did I know two years later that would be the exact venue at which I would have my first feature.


William Evans: A show called Mahogany Soul, which later turned into Black Pearl Poetry in 2005 in a venue called The Brownstone.


Q: When you aren’t writing poetry, what are you doing?


Chanel Dupree: I teach theater and creative writing at an after school program. So when I'm not writing poetry, I am trying not to kill my kids while consistently letting them know that their voices are hella necessary. I've also just recently found my own personal acts of self-care. Roller-skating in Brooklyn with a group of my closest friends is the best smile I ever get. It actually helps with me with my writing.


William Evans: Chasing my daughter around, trying not to drive my wife crazy and running the website Blacknerdproblems.com


Q: What is one piece of pop culture that you just cannot get on board with?


Chanel Dupree: Any memes degrading black women can honestly kiss my a**. I'll never be down with it!


William Evans: 98% of Network TV Dramas. And also emojis.


Q: What is your proudest achievement thus far?


Chanel Dupree: I think my proudest accomplishment would have to be when I got the opportunity to teach a workshop on Black Femininity and Cultural Appropriation at St. John Fisher College. I did a performance at Pink Door 2015 writing retreat reading about Kylie Jenner and her extreme interest in becoming a black woman. A woman saw me in the audience, loved my piece and asked me to conduct a workshop based around that topic. There was only one black woman in the class; everyone else was woman. The workshop was close to Halloween, I asked the students beforehand to look up "racist Halloween costumes" on Google and print them out. The entire class was extremely shocked, saddened and in disbelief. We had a lengthy conversation about the many black face costumes we saw depicting black women as anything but themselves. I then asked the class to write down something that is so dear to them, something that has truly shaped them to the person they are. Some people wrote some extremely personal things, they took those writings and put them into a huge bowl and everyone in the class got to pick randomly. They each picked someone else's writing and had to write a poem, story or essay speaking of someone else's personal testimony as their own without giving credit to it's previous owner and recite it. The entire class felt it to their core. I had never felt so proud in my life, I got a room full of women that probably would have never understood my day-to-day struggle to open up their eyes and see what it is like.


William Evans: Besides marrying an incredible woman and fathering the Avatar, I think to date, holding a book that I produced and felt proud of creating is my proudest achievement.


Q: What does poetry mean to you, personally?


Chanel Dupree: I am a very visual person and poetry is the only way I can show my insides in images.


William Evans: Poetry, to me, is the great chasm between what I know and what I have no idea about. It is the feathers of a bird I can't confirm exists. Poetry is where I believe in things I wish I could wrap my arms around or the things I draw ribbons around that I wish I could forget.


Q: If you could rid the world of one major issue in society today, what would it be and why?


Chanel Dupree: Black lives not mattering in this country and if I can slip this in, black women deaths/lives not being fought for. We do so much and no one even blinks an eye.


William Evans: I think the fear of confronting what is uncomfortable. A lot of laws, stipulations or behaviors that are popularized in society come from people not willing to confront what makes them uncomfortable or they feel puts them in an undesirable light.


Q: All time favorite Disney movie and why?


Chanel Dupree: Mulan was my sh*t! That girl was so d*mn strong, vulnerable, funny and dignified. It was the first time as a kid that I had ever seen a layered female character. And all top of all of that she could literally kick anyone's a**. I loved it.


William Evans: Mulan. I still rank her as the best hero that Disney has produced.


Q: In fifteen years, where do you see yourself?


Chanel Dupree: In fifteen years, I see myself being a show runner, writing for at least two other shows, developing a media writing company for POC. I also see myself with a few books published. And most importantly, so at peace internally and externally that I can hardly stop smiling.


William Evans: Still writing. Hopefully steadily better than I currently am.


Q: Anything else (poems, links, comments, etc)?


Chanel Dupree: Thank you so much for this! Too often in life we are so busy trying to survive that it's so surprising when someone wants to know what's inside of our heads.


William Evans: If my poetry fails you, it's because I've been pouring my energy into other nerdier aspects: Blacknerdproblems.com


Next Week: Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib and Danny Strack

Cover Image Credit: Chanel Dupree and William Evans

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18 Ways The Disney College Program Destroys You

"I can only hope we never lose sight of one thing, that it was all started by a mouse" - Walt Disney
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The Disney College Program, three little words that may or may not forever change your perspective of the world. Working for Disney has been my dream since I was a little kid. That’s all I ever wanted to do with my life-- to become a part of the magic. It wasn’t just because it’s Disney World, the most magical place on Earth. It's because I truly admire everything that this company stands for. Disney is all about bringing families and friends together, creating memories that will last a lifetime and sprinkling a little pixie dust over this magical place that I’ve called home for eleven months. I knew all of this when I received that “Congratulations!” email. Excitement rushed through my veins . The world of possibilities had finally opened its door for me. What I didn’t know, was what those possibilities truly meant, until post DCP depression kicked in. It's a real thing my friends.

1. You are always going to be an extremely friendly and approachable person.

No matter where you are or who you are talking to, you can't help to smile. You always carry a welcoming vibe with you, no matter what situation you are placed in. Working for Disney taught you how to have the patience of a Saint when it comes to dealing with people. You learned that the best way to communicate is listening to everyone with an open mind, even if they’re screaming in your face about Test Track being out of FastPasses.

2. You are constantly finding hidden Mickeys in the real world.

Admit it, your mind creates hidden Mickeys out of almost every random three circle formation. You can’t help it. You have Disney on your mind all the time.

3. You are FULL of Disney Park fun facts.

Did you know that there are 11,324 triangles that make up Spaceship Earth?!

You love sharing your vast pool of knowledge of random Disney Park fun facts. Sometimes even when people don't care about it, you just have to talk about all the things you learned as a CP.

4. You also may speak ride spiel.

“We're not gonna make it, we're not gonna make it"- Dinosaur at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

When you work for Disney, you live and breath Disney. You couldn't even count how many times you've been to the park, even just to hub grass and chill or ride the People Mover four times in a row. Those spiels were a part of your everyday life. You know when you are riding Hunted Mansion with a boatload of cast members when everyone in the stretch room whispers, "I am your host, your ghost host". Going to the park almost every day is a part of CP culture. Accidentally referring to ride spells still sometimes slips into your daily conversation. Did you really do the college program if you don't know at least one ride spiel?

5. You constantly feel the need to get down the small child's level and talk to them about their favorite Disney characters.

"Hi Princess! My, you look dashing today, what Kingdom did you travel from?!"

What you would do to get back to the days when you were paid to sit on the ground to talk to a child dressed up as Cinderella. You see a child at your real world job and you feel the need to ask them about the about their favorite Disney movie. You catch yourself accidentally referring to people as princess in the real world, but it instated of the magic it used to produce, they look at you like you’re a crazy person. *sigh*

6. If your friends hear you say, ”So this one time in Disney…" one more time they may punch you in the face.

OMG-- this reminds me of this one time in Disney when...*insert story of an amazing day you and your Disney fam had here.*

You can’t help it, every single day was filled with an adventure during your CP. You want to share your stories with everyone you encounter. It's like word vomit. The second something reminds you of your CP there is no stopping you. Your friends back home may either get really annoyed or end up learning everything you did when you had free access to Disney World.

7. Boy do you miss the days when Mondays were happy.

"We love you Mondays, we do."

For some who were into the social scene, you blankly gaze out your window on a Monday night wondering what county you would have been playing at Son On The Beach. You watch your remaining CP friends' Snapchat stories and think to yourself, "Anzacs VS. Gayllerie!? Ugh, must have been a good game." You miss the days when your only struggle was to make it out of work on time to get to Happy Mondays. Your friends back home wonder how you are so freakishly good at flip cup. It’s a CP thing.

8. 90% of your best friends are long distance.

Skype dates are essential.

You created bonds with people from all over the world during your CP. You celebrated holidays with these people. You spent every single day with them during your time in Florida. Your program would never be as magical if it wasn't for the amazing people you met here. Some of these people turn into your life long best friends-- even if they currently reside 12 hours ahead of you. There isn't a day that goes by that you don’t think about you CP BFFs. When they say you will meet the most amazing people you will ever interact with working for Disney, they were not kidding. These people are even more than friends to you, they are family. If it means staying up till 2AM to Skype with your old roommate, who now lives on the other side of the world, it doesn't even cross your mind how late it is. Catching up with them is always worth it.

9. You probably have roughly 500 "I'm Celebrating" buttons.

"Happy squad-iversary!"

You found every excuse in the book to rock an "I'm Celebrating" button when you and your squad hit the parks. "I'm celebrating ERs" was a great one to sport when you got off work early. The button days were the special days. You could probably fill an entire cork board with all of the buttons you collected over your CP. Thank goodness for that, you'll have a tangible memory of those magical days for a lifetime.

10. The clock strikes 3:00PM and you know the Festival Of Fantasy Parade is strolling out of Frontier Land.

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the time has come to take your places” -The Festival Of Fantasy Parade.

You continuously catch yourself looking at the clock around 3PM and feeling a little empty inside. To all the days before work when you watched that parade with your roommates, you were the greatest. You can always spot a cast member as “dreams that glow” blur down Main Street. They are usually the ones dancing along and singing as their favorite floats pass by. What you would do to relive those days.

11. You know a lot about the world and the people it's made up of.

I’d be real keen to learn about your culture over some Maccas, eh.

You know to never tell an Australian their accent sounds like a Kiwi's or visa-versa. You can spot the difference from miles away. You’ve learned the lads from down under are some of the funniest people you’ll ever interact with, and there are in fact, no kangaroos in New Zealand— just wallabies. You know that the people from Spain and Brazil are usually down for some fun and it's always a good time to kick back with your friends from France or The Netherlands. It's true that the Italians are loud and outspoken, in the best way possible. The people from Japan are simply the some of the sweetest. You meet so many people from all over the world and learn so much about their culture. You get more of a feel for all of the greatness the world is made up of than any textbook could ever explain.

12. You could draw a map of Magic Kingdom blindfolded.

“Nearest FastPass kiosk?!” “Down the pathway to the left!

Not only is Disney World your home, but you know every square inch of it. You could still probably give someone directions to the nearest quick service restaurant of your location, from wherever you are currently sitting in the world.

13. Applying for jobs? Disney always makes you stand out.

“Wow, you worked for Disney World? Tell me more about that!”

Your resume stands out among the thousands. Potential employers want to hear about your Disney College Program experience and you are over the moon to share. You tell them about the days where you immersed guests into the theme of your location and all of the magic you made. Working for the number one entertainment company is something to be proud of.

14. You are constantly checking airline prices to reunite with your roommates and get back to the place that started it all.

There is nothing better than reuniting with your Disney family. Your most visited web pages are airlines sites. You count the days where you can rule the parks again with your favorite people by your side. You can't help but to run to them in the middle of MCO with tears in your eyes and magic in your heart, ready to create even more memories together. You know you found forever friends in them, it's never goodbye— it's see ya real soon.

15. You have a strong emotional attachment to certain rides of shows.

"The best part is, you'll never run out of wishes"- Wishes Nighttime Spectacular.

There are some shows and rides that take you right back to the days where Walt Disney World was your usual hang out spot. Some of those shows have so much more meaning to you and the magic you made. You tend to get a little teary eyed watching them when you visit. Even when your CP is over, the magic lives on in your soul.

16. Disney is not just a vacation spot to you, it’s your home.

You feel at ease here. You may have even found who you are and who you aspire to be here. It’s a special place to you that holds so much magic. Going back feels familiar. You never feel like an outsider here. Walt Disney World really is your home and it welcomes you right back every time you return.

17. People who know you before your College Program say you've changed.

You're more outspoken, you are confident in yourself and you carry on with pride. Not to mention your work ethic and customer service skills are outstanding. You believe in things and the people around you. You believe in magic and that's all thanks to the Disney College Program.

18. It was the best 4 months - 1 year of your life and you would do anything to relive just one more day of being a CP.

"While no one knows for sure what we'll see or do. I do know it will be quite an adventure, an adventure that we'll take and make together. See you in the future"- Spaceship Earth.

If you were given the opportunity to put on those extreme high-waisted polyester grandpa pants and that florescent shirt that was probably eight sizes too big for you— you’d do it in a heartbeat. Despite the long hours and blazing sun, sometimes your life felt like a dream. Your time spent working for the mouse will forever be your most magical days, as the Disney College Program was the best opportunity of your entire life.

Cover Image Credit: Dana Saccoccio

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5 Ways You Can Stop Producing so Much Trash

We produce a lot more trash than you think, until you start paying attention to your actions.

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One of my major goals this year is to do more to save the planet as well as animals. I have already been vegetarian for three years. and I'm plan to stay vegetarian, but I want to have a more plant based diet. As well, I want to start reducing the amount of trash I produce. Not only because I realize just how drastically our trash is affecting wildlife, but also because I think having to take out your trash twice a week is way too much trash!

1. Bring recyclables to a recycling center or reuse them around the home!

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This is something I want to start doing! I always get take out food and throw away the containers, when I could be using those containers to carry my lunch everyday! Also, I want to start collecting my plastic water bottles and taking them to the recycling center on campus instead of just throwing them away

2. Invest in a reuseable water bottle

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This would actually fix my water bottle problem. I need to invest in a nice, reuseable water bottle that I can refill, rather than throwing away 3-4 water bottles a day. Amazon has a lot of varieties of these bottles ranging from inexpensive to expensive, cool designs, and even one that holds snacks.

3. Reuseable Straws

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This is a great addition to your new reuseable water bottle! Like trash, you don't realize how much you use (and throw away) straw, until you actually start to keep count. I thought i didn't use straws at all because I never bought them in my life, but then you go out to eat (straw), you go to Starbucks (straw). Having a glass straw is actually really useful to reduce your trash, in cases when you wish you had a straw but don't, and sanitary purposes. Those straw sitting out at Starbucks, are they really that clean?

4. Donate old/unwanted clothes

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This is something I already do. I go through my drawers and closet once a year, and just put all the clothes I haven't worn all year, or just don't want into a garbage bag. I'm usually able to fill at least one (gallon) garbage bag with clothes to take to Goodwill!

5. Use actual plates instead of paper plates

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This is another huge mistake of mine! I hate doing dishes, so I try to buy paper plates to make less dishes, but in the end I'm producing more and more trash! I'm convinced the reason I have to take out my trash so often is because I eat so much! It's time to be a big girl now and start washing my dishes...or start using my dish washer

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