Women's History Month: Lindsay Young

Lindsay Young is an amazing spoken word artist and friend whose words will touch you in places you forgot existed. Read on to learn more about this soon to be college graduate that's going to take the poetry world by storm!

Tell us a little bit about yourself: who are you and where are you headed?

I’m a senior psych major at SUNY Binghamton, set to graduate this coming May. After graduation I’d like to spend a few years working in the creative writing field before going to grad school for my masters in psychology. I come from an all-Jamaican background; I live with both parents, my sister, and my grandma. I define the terms low key and introspective. I’m not confrontational but thoroughly opinionated. I have a passion for social justice with black feminism being closest to my heart. Overall, I’m not sure of exactly who I am or where I’m going, but through a lot of failed attempts to define myself much too early, I’ve learned to take pride in being comfortable enough to admit that. Honesty is kind of my thing. And honestly, I’d love to see my dream of being widely recognized for my poetry come to fruition. I just believe that getting there has more than one path, and I haven’t chosen one yet.

When did you first start expressing yourself and creating art through spoken word? What led you to this form of expression?

I first started performing slam during the fall semester of my sophomore year at Binghamton. I was there on day one when the great Dan Roman, the founder of what is Binghamton’s current Slam Poetry Club, created the organization and I saw it as a huge opportunity. I have been writing poetry since about the second grade, and discovered spoken word on youtube during my sophomore year of high school. I started getting very into my favorites such as Alysia Harris and The Striver’s Row and watched their videos religiously. That’s probably when my entire style began to shift more toward performance poetry. So by the time I started actually sharing my work with audiences during my sophomore year in college, it had really been a long time coming. It was just time.

What has been the hardest thing to write/speak about? What’s a topic or theme you keep coming back to? Why?

There isn’t really a topic that’s hard for me to write about. Writing is for me,and it’s when I can be most honest with myself about anything. However, I definitely do not share everything I write. I have thousands of poems that I’ve written over the years and I’m sure that more than half will never be spit to an audience. It’s the performing that makes some topics difficult. I would say any topic that involves personal details about another person in my life is hard for me to perform. I think that is something every writer struggles with at some point because we want to be honest but we don’t want to expose those that are close to us. The way that I look at it is that we live our lives crossing paths with other people, and sometimes their stories become our stories. I believe that I have the right to tell my story, but it’s just difficult if the people involved are not as comfortable being so open. Because of this I am always very mindful of the words I choose and which pieces I share with which audiences, to make everyone as comfortable as possible.  

A topic that I always come back to is love. Definitely. I’m a poet, and no matter how cynical or sappy, all poets are hopeless romantics, and a slut for a really good love poem.

What advice would you give young women who are struggling to speak their own words?

My advice will always be to be honest. I think what sets a certain performance apart from the rest is raw emotion. Write about things that genuinely move you. Don’t write about a certain topic or in a certain style because you think that’s what people want to hear. Never forget that when you step on stage, that mic is yours. That time is yours. Just take your time.

Be honest. Write about things that genuinely move you. - Lindsay Young

What do you hope people who listen to your art take away from it/you?

I think I have different intentions for each type of poem I write now that I’m thinking about it. For my social justice pieces, truthfully, I hope that they attract those that aren’t listening. That is my ultimate goal. I want people who have never thought a certain way about a certain topic to see things differently. I want to change peoples’ minds about a few things. For my love poems, I want people to feel comforted and understood. Love is so big and so universal; I just want my love poems to keep building on that sense of connectedness. And for my personal poems, I guess I’d look at them as cheat codes. I’ve spent 21 years trying to figure myself out and no one on this planet is even half as close to figuring me out as I am. I think my personal poems push people a little closer to understanding me. Overall, I’m just hoping to move people, like any other artist.

Just for Kicks

● Erykah or Lauren?MuvaErykah all day. Lauryn is my auntie. 
● Instagram or Twitter? Instagram. Twitter raises my blood pressure far too often. 
● Wang or Balmain? Thriftstore… lol proud broke college student over here. Me and name brands never got that well acquainted.

Want more from Lindsay? Subscribe to her Youtube Channel: Lindsay Young and catch her on Instagram @lindss__. 

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