Ashanti White

About Me

Born on Friday 13th in August 1982 at Fort Benning near Columbus, Georgia, my journey has come full circle.  My parent’s career aspirations took me across the country to California back to Virginia then to North Carolina.  As a child, I took an immediate interest in literature, teaching myself to read at the age of four.  I spent almost every free moment delving into folk literature, history collections, and African tales.  My tastes were encompassing.  I excelled in liberal studies and tried my hand at writing short works, especially falling in love with poetry.

At the age of nine, I discovered a passion for law upon realizing the gross inequities of the legal system.  It was then that I decided to practice law as an adult.  Despite my proclamation, my love for literature did not subside.  I began writing poetry regularly and at 16, crossed into the professional realm with “The Fight,” a spoken word piece that explored the achievements of African Americans in the face of overwhelming adversity.

Writing and performing introduced greater opportunities when I attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  I entertained at over forty venues across the state of North Carolina, including the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity District Conference, and with nationally renowned poets, Nikki Giovanni and J Ivey.  Additionally, I organized and hosted "Natural v. Nappy: the Politics of Black Hair" and the Office of Multicultural Affairs bi-annual Poetry Slam, which drew the likes of notable artists, Amaris, Will Saunders, and Saul Williams.  

With poetry, I entered the world of scholarship pageantry, capturing the title of Miss Black & Gold.  My win can be attributed to my poem, “Black Holocaust,” which brought 5 out 6 perfect scores.  “The Word,” a poetic monologue about the mental effects of sexual assault helped me earn the title of Miss Johnston County as well as a Top Ten spot in the Miss North Carolina Pageant.  I used my titles to continue counseling and advocating for victims of sexual assault.

As planned, I attended North Carolina Central University School of Law but realized my devotion to the literary field.  Just two weeks before my second year, I relocated to Atlanta, Georgia to pursue my dream of writing full time.  Since moving there, my career burgeoned. In addition to working as a Senior Writer and Contributing Editor for DV8 Magazine, I also became a literary critic, analyzing and reviewing books of scholarship for Callaloo: Journal of African American Arts and Letters, Doomsday: Journal of Thomas Lovell Beddoes Society, and Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources. My photography and poetry has appeared in numerous publications including Mandala Journal, The Amistad, Third Wednesday, and The Taj Mahal Review.

My first novel, Chasing Eden (UrbanEdge Publishing), was released in June 2008 to positive reviews. On April 2009, Neo Literati Press released Razor Blades Between My Teeth. Louis McKee of Library Journal stated that "Words dance through White's poems; her voice is vibrant and sharp, loud when it needs to be, soft when it wants to be; ultimately, it is the delightful music of the language itself that drives these poems." My first nonfiction title, Not Your Ordinary Librarian: Debunking Popular Perceptions of Librarians, will be released in Spring 2012 by Chandos Publishing. My novel, Don't Speak, comes out in Fall 2012.

 

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