By Lena Habtu
“pink” is a poem rooted in social commentary. In this poem, I examine my own internalized misogyny, and how it influenced my actions as I was growing up. The history of “gendered” colors is a fascinatingly peculiar one, as blue was once considered tame and feminine, while the “blood-resembling” pink was gallant and masculine. I don’t usually write about past experiences, and this poem was an outlet for me to articulate the way my thought process has evolved and matured as I age.
The idea for my digital media piece, “pink”, came from a growing consciousness surrounding the idea of femininity. I wanted this piece to be a visualization of resilience in all its forms—quiet, unassuming, bold, and reclamatory. The artwork used in my video is a compilation of art I found that celebrated femininity, alongside photos I had taken that I thought aligned with my writing as well. I used iMovie and Canva to edit the video. I spent the most time making sure that the images being displayed aligned with the words being read, so that the visuals and audio were synchronized. Completing this project, I loved seeing a compilation of so many things that made me feel empowered and secure in my identity.
Meet the Pair
MENTEE LENA HABTU & MENTOR SAMMI LABUE
Lena’s Anecdote: Things just seem to click when I’m with Sammi, whether we saw each other last week or last month, it just works. This year, Sammi and I have been doing a lot of revisiting—old pieces, conversations, music, and memories. I love revisiting with Sammi, because it reminds me that we’ve built a home with each other to revisit. I’m so excited for the next few years with Sammi, and can’t wait to create more experiences with her, and to revisit those with her someday.
Sammi’s Anecdote: In our second year together I can’t help but feel Lena and I were always meant to be in each other’s lives. Sometimes it seems like we could never have enough time to chat. Whether we’re discussing our pop musician obsessions, sharing our social justice hopes with each other, or searching the city for the most chocolatey hot chocolate and the strongest cup of coffee, I always end our sessions smiling and further convinced that her voice will make the kind of waves in this world that will push us forward. And that she gives the best hugs.
Lena Habtu, simply put, is a poet. She is passionate about advocacy and community organizing, but the outlet through which she processes and recounts lived experience has always been poetry. Her works have been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.