About Aya

2014 headshotNew posts generally appear every Friday.

Aya de Leon is a writer/performer working in poetry, fiction, and hip hop theater.  Her work has received acclaim in the Village Voice, Washington Post, American Theatre Magazine, and has been featured on Def Poetry, in Essence Magazine, and various anthologies and journals. She was named best discovery in theater for 2004 by the SF Chronicle for “Thieves in the Temple : The Reclaiming of Hip Hop,” a solo show about fighting sexism and commercialism in hip hop.  Also in 2004, she received a Goldie award from the SF Bay Guardian in spoken word for “Thieves…” and her subsequent show “Aya de Leon is Running for President.”  In 2005 she was voted “Slamminest Poet” in the East Bay Express, and she also co-hosted the kickoff party for Current TV with Mos Def.  Aya has been an artist in residence at Stanford University, a Cave Canem poetry fellow, and a slam poetry champion.  She publicly married herself in the 90s and since 1995 has been hosting an annual Valentine’s Day show that focuses on self-love.  She has released three spoken word CDs, several chapbooks, and a video of “Thieves…”  Since becoming a mom in 2009, she has been transitioning from being a touring performer into being a novelist.  Aya is the Director of June Jordan’s Poetry for the People program, teaching poetry, spoken word, and hip hop at UC Berkeley.  Aya began blogging in 2011, and since 2013 has been consistently blogging on race, gender and culture. Her recent freelance work has been featured in Guernica, xojane, Ebony, Womans Day, Writers Digest, Mutha Magazine, Movement Strategy Center, My Brown Baby, The Good Men Project, KQED Pop, Bitch Magazine, The Feminist Wire, Racialicious, and she was recently a guest on HuffPostLive. She’s on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Aya-de-Leon/409759779111035 and Twitter https://twitter.com/AyadeLeon. In July 2016, Kensington Books will publish her debut novel, UPTOWN THIEF, a Latina Robin Hood heist story set on New York’s Lower East Side.

8 Comments on “About Aya”

  1. Aya, congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. That’s what I love about FP; you find some wonderful gems in the blogosphere. I’m glad to have been introduced to your blog, and look forward to future posts from you.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Congrats on marrying yourself! Very excited to follow your blog!

  3. […] move in the world, and how we get categorized, sexualized, objectified, and dismissed, according to Aya de Leon, a writer and performer working in poetry, fiction, and hip hop […]

  4. Alex says:

    Hi Aya,

    My name is Alex and I am a Communications Manager at Barnard College. I am reaching out to you today with an idea for your blog. Being perfect and powerful, being a feminist: these are among the most popular topics of conversation among today’s young women. Barnard College’s new podcast series, Dare to Use the F-Word, tells the story of today’s feminists through the ideas, art, and activism that define them. Barnard President Debora Spar, in her new book Wonder Women: Sex, Power & the Quest for Perfection, explains that while most women today struggle with the idea of perfection, they also struggle with the concept of feminism itself. Are the two connected? Read President Spar’s thoughts in this exclusive post: https://barnard.edu/news/web-exclusive-president-spar.

    As a communications manager at Barnard, I want to continue these important conversations among feminist thought-leaders like you. I ask you to republish and share this post on your blog. Pose these questions to your audience; they may dare others to join us and use the f-word.


  5. Tracy Brien says:

    I am reaching out hoping to find out if you’d perform in my tea house in Fairfax, CA. It’s a sweet place and I feel confident I could fill the house for you… Let know what I gotta do to get someone special like you!

    I think it would be a lot of fun :-)

    Call or email me!

    tracybrien@gmail.com or 415-516-2578

    Thank you for considering this :-)


    • Wow says:

      You are a racist on a few different levels….lol…What are you even trying to said, seriously? Excuse the clichéd rhetoric, but if this country is so bad why are you here? Go back and try to pull your crap in your toilet of the world homeland. Or would your “cultural wifi” not get a signal? You “guys” (sexist term obviously ha) are running out of ideas besides “Get rid of all white people” and “It is obvious females are being stifled everywhere in the world” Your words, not mine….or do you not check facts/edit your so-called work or even read it after you post this garbage? I am a actually American who contributes to the world other than you, and have many women in my small (36 employees) business. Guess what? The 2 highest paid people in my employ are women! One is white so you probably dismiss her, you racist. The other is a wonderful Cape Verdean woman who I could not live without, business wise. (ha again) Usually I never post but I came across some of your posts while researching a case, and clicked on one…wow. Anyways, got to get back to work. Hope someday your a real “Journalist”. That can be achieved here because the net is the only place I get my news so good luck.

  6. wtf huero says:

    Yes, all the whites on the planet should die; or how about all men? Then the world would be a perfect place right? no, thought not. : )

    Or as a guero how can I round up the white hipsters ( so annoying ), hippies, rednecks, bikers, nerds, and sporty jocks (ick). no idea…guess I / we are stuck with each other.

    And if I purported as a “writer” to claim ‘Our culture” event is being captured by those…X….wow, that is some next level Berkeley thinking.

    Hope someone gives you a HUG. : )

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