“Migration is a one way trip. There is no home to go back to.”
― Stuart Hall
“In Denmark, Lesley-Ann Brown works through multiple media to articulate biography, memory and experience, personally and around the issues of colonial amnesia and Blackness in America.”
“…But a great deal involves highly creative, multi-faceted and innovative presentations in poetry, music, video and other genres. For example, the work of Lesley-Ann Brown and Jeannette Ehlers cover a wide range of written, spoken-word, visual and performative genres…”
20 Questions and Answers on Black Europe by Stephen Small (Amrit Press, 2018)
“I do believe she is to Copenhagen, what Baldwin is to Paris.”
–Olani Ewunnet, SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin
Brown has been featured and invited to participate in a range of events, including:
- The Black Atlantic at 30, Copenhagen University, May 2022
- World Book Day, Transform Education, April 2022
- Memoirs of the Abyss w/Malou Solfjeld & 69 Art Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark, December 2021
- Zine making workshop Villain, Royal Danish Academy of Art, November 2021
- Zine making workshop Unwound, Prescott College, Prescott, AZ, USA, December 2021
- Feminist Healing Workshop, November 2021
- Tværnordisk poesifestival, LiteraturHaus, Copenhagen, August 2021
- Kulturhavn, Where are you from? Copenhagen, Denmark, August 2021
- Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival, Women of the Resistance, August 2021
- Malmø World Pride, Malmo, Sweden, reading, August 2021
- DIS – Study Abroad in Scandinavia, guest speaker, July 2021
- Zine workshop with FGU students, Zine, Copenhagen, Denmark, June 2021
- Text for We’re Magic, We’re Real w/Jeannette Ehlers, April 2021
- Critical Literary for Social Justice Zine making workshop at Prescott College, December 2020
- BLM in the U.S. & the U.K. a transatlantic dialogue with Dr. Joy White, August 2020
- Plural Wombs Research Group, Germany, June 2020
- Difficult Love: What Scatters and then Comes Back Together, Gallatin Galleries, NYU, New York, February 2020
- Decolonize Norway (DENOR) Finland, October, 2019
- SahWira Africa International, Turku, Finland, October, 2019
- The Brooklyn Caribbean Literature Festival, Brooklyn, NY, September 2019
- The Bois Academy, Trinidad and Tobago
- Bocas Literary Festival, Featured Writer, Trinidad & Tobago
- Cliffrose Convergence; Keynote speaker; April 2019
- Decolonize Norway (DENOR); Trondheim, Norway April 2019
- TEDXOdense Women 2018; Odense, DK; December 1, 2018.
- SAVVY Contemporary; Berlin, Germany; October 18th, 2018.
- Oslo International Poetry Festival; Oslo, Norway, October 5-6, 2018.
- The Dancer, the Drum & the Serpent; Sorte Firkant; Copenhagen, DK; September 22nd, 2018.
- Black Women’s Sanctuary; Copenhagen, DK; September 14th, 2018.
- Movement, Belonging and Other Words; Skånes konstförening, Sweden; September 8, 2018.
- Crossing Borders; Copenhagen, DK; September 6th, 2018.
- Krogerup Højskole author visit; Krogerup Højskole, Denmark; September 4th, 2018.
- BEBOP 2018: Coalitions facing white innocence; Berlin, Germany; June, 2018.
- Waterstones Birmingham author visit; Birmingham, UK; June 5, 2018.
- Keynote speaker, Decolonizing North conference; Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, Sweden; December, 2017.
- The Futures of Feminism; Lund, Sweden; October 2017
- Spiritual Revolutions and the Scramble for Africa in the Summer of 2014 in Copenhagen.
- Not About Karen Blixen project at the Karen Blixen Museum in northern Copenhagen (a project about Danish colonialism & Kenya)
- Black Women in Europe Conference in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
- the first ever Women of Color Panel in Denmark and its follow up at The World’s Culture House in Copenhagen, both of which she was moderator & co-organizer.
- BE.BOP 2016. Black Europe Body Politics, Call & Response in Berlin and Copenhagen where she was an invited panelist.
- Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research to perform her poem “Country: A Road Map to Liberation” at the Centre for Global Cooperation Research.
- Daughter of the Diaspora: A Decolonial Narrative performance at Krogerup Højskole, Humblebæk.
- What We Lost in Empire at Copenhagen Main Library where Brown was part of a panel on decoloniality that included Danish Trinidadian visual artist Jeannette Ehlers, actor Anna Neye, and artist, academic Simmi Dullay which took place March 10th, 2016 to an impressive turnout.
- Centre for Transnational American Studies at Copenhagen University. Brown was part of a panel to discuss Denmark and African American culture.
- Fluid Identities at Copenhagen Culture Night October, 2016. Brown was among 11 other poets and performers handpicked to present her work at the Nørrebro Library.
- Hvid[me] Archive: As part of the opening event for the group exhibition Unraveling’s, Brown read from a series of works, started upon when she first moved to Copenhagen 18 years ago from Brooklyn. The reading was composed of a mix of poetry and prose that includes poems from her two volumes of poetry, entitled: The Organist’s Daughter and Black Girls On Mars, named after her now-retired blog of the same name. She approaches different subjects in her poetry, such as: home, womanhood, migration and identity.
In March of 2016 “Say It Loud” – a poetry collective of Black women poets was founded by Zanubia A. Omar, Helen Qwin, Saynab Fahar Dahir, Seredo Qassim Mohamed and Brown. The first performance of this collective drew an impressive crowd and raised necessary funds for Freedom of Movements.
You can book Brown for events and/or workshops at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve been wanting to resurrect my blog for awhile now…so much has been happening in my life, in the world – so I figured I better do it now than later.
It’s been over a year now, since I first left Copenhagen, Denmark to promote my book in the U.S. And what an adventure it’s been! Seriously, folks, I can’t stress how life has unfolded, in ways I couldn’t even imagine! Since I’ve left Copenhagen, I’ve been to various cities in both the States, and even Norway and Paris – and I’ve met so many beautiful people, ready for the work that I feel like I literally poured my blood, sweat and tears into. Even in the most uncertain of times, like when I realized I was stuck in New York in the middle of a pandemic (if I had to choose where I would want to be in such an event, New York would not have come into consideration AT ALL) life keeps on coming through for me, and for that, I am so grateful. In this past year, I’ve worked with Attorney Benjamin Crump and his book “Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People” (I don’t like that he insisted on using the term “colored people, but that’s another post!) and in the process learned so much about genocide (did you know that the term did not exist until the Jewish Holocaust? This means that even while the descendants of the tribes of Europe obliterated Black and Indigenous peoples around the world, there was no word for that! Oh, wait, yes there was – colonization! I also learned that according to the legal definition of genocide, that African Americans definitely had a case agains the U.S. government, but just like Native Americans, the United Nations ain’t trying to hear that! Shame!
You may know Benjamin Crump as the attorney for Trayvon Martin’s family, and he’s taken up countless other cases that involve the brutal murder, at the hands of law enforcement of Black men, women and children. Delving into research for this project, I learned how steady this violence against Black and Indigenous people have been since the arrival of Europeans. I also learned that Native people fare the worst under this system – they are the ones murdered the most, imprisoned the most, and then there’s the tragic continued issue of missing and murdered Native women…it was hard work on the mind and spirit, but it was worth it.
I’ve also been able to spend time in New York for a substantial amount of time since moving to Copenhagen, and that’s also a whole other post.
With the pandemic came the reality that I could not return to Copenhagen when planned, and I’ve had to adjust to that. There have been so many lessons, realizations, travels…and I want to share them all with you, my reader. I’ve now spent a lot of time in introspection and am ready to write. I plan on posting at least once a week, and with your subscription you’ll have front-row access to all my adventures.
Currently, I’m in Oakland, CA – I just came here a couple of days ago. I’m in a cottage, surrounded by beautiful trees and there’s quiet. It’s the perfect place to rest, write and prepare for my future. Thanks for joining me in this adventure. More to come!
Decolonial Daughter: A Roadmap to Liberation
“Decolonial Daughter: A Roadmap to Liberation” *This talk contains strong language. Viewer discretion is advised. Lesley Ann Brown Trinidadian-American writer Lesley-Ann Brown explores motherhood, migration, identity, nationhood and how it relates to land, imprisonment, and genocide for Black and Indigenous peoples. Having moved to Copenhagen, Denmark from Brooklyn over 18 years ago, Brown attempts to contextualise her and her son’s existence in a post-colonial and supposedly post-racial world. Through deeply personal, poetic letters to her son, Brown writes the past into the present – creating a challenging, engaging, beautiful and dramatic talk that starts with the seemingly simple question: What country are you from? Trinidadian-American writer and activist, Lesley-Ann Brown, explores motherhood, migration, identity, nationhood and how it relates to land, imprisonment, and genocide for Black and Indigenous peoples. Having moved to Copenhagen, Denmark from Brooklyn over 18 years ago, Brown attempts to contextualise her and her son’s existence in a post-colonial and supposedly post-racial world. Through deeply personal, poetic letters to her son, Brown writes the past into the present – creating a challenging, engaging, beautiful and dramatic talk that starts with the seemingly simple question: What country are you from? “As a woman, my country is the whole world”. What powerful stories guide our existence and understanding of the past? We all have a responsibility to tell our story. Through our exploration and acceptance of other perspectives, can we begin to pave the way towards liberation in hopes of understanding who we truly are? This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.
“We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society.” – Angela Davis
What does American racism have to do with Denmark?
What’s wrong with the ‘n’ word?
My child is Black, I can’t be racist!
Can I touch your hair?
Go back to where you came from!
Racism is dead. Obama was president.
I don’t see colour!
What’s the relationship between racism, America & guns?
Can a connection be made between racism and global warming ?
From 1492 to Black Lives Matter is a talk/workshop/presentation specifically designed for:
- Danish educators,
- students from 9kl. to university level and
- any other organisation interested in getting a better understanding on race, how to actively fight racism, how to not be a racist, how to be an anti-racist as well as what is happening in the U.S. and how it is connected to Europe.
From 1492 to Black Lives Matter will not only facilitate a more comprehensive understanding on race and how it impacts us today, in our world, but also how we can co-create a better future for ourselves and loved ones.
The famous Black American writer James Baldwin once said, “America comes out of Europe”, however, there tends to be a disconnect between what happens in the U.S. and what happens here in Europe – but, can anti-Black violence in America have anything to do with Denmark? We’ll explore this question and several more, giving you a better understanding of where we are today due to our very humble beginnings of western civilization. We will look, among other things, at the history of racism and how it manifests itself, even up to today.
Too often, Danes – adults and children- are left in the dark when it comes to understanding race and racism. Unfortunately, this cloak of ignorance is necessary in reinforcing white supremacy and so to reproduce racist behavior. You will learn not only how not to be racist, but how to become anti-racist.
Jeg taler også dansk!
contact email@example.com for further information and bookings.
Lesley-Ann Brown is a mother, TEDX speaker and educator originally from Brooklyn, New York. Having lived in Copenhagen, Denmark for the past twenty years, Brown has made impactful contributions towards intercultural, mutual comprehension through her writing and activism. Among many of the projects Brown has been involved in includes being one of the co-creators of the Say It Loud! Poetry collective, which built an intercultural poetry platform and performed throughout Copenhagen; being the national spokeswomen for the Women’s March in 2017; co-produced and hosted the first ever Women of Color panel in Denmark. However it is through her blog blackgirlonmars, created in 2007 that Brown made her name. Blackgirlonmars was about forging a space for oneself in otherwise alien-terrain, and inspiring others to do the same.
Her book Decolonial Daughter: Letters from a Black Woman to her European Son (Repeater Books, UK, 2017), explores, through the lens of motherhood, issues such as migration, identity, gender, nationhood and how it relates to land, forced migrations, imprisonment and genocide.
Brown contextualises her and her Danish son’s existence in a post-colonial and supposedly post-racial world, where the very machine of so-called progress has been premised upon the demise of her lineage. Through these letters, she writes the past into the present – from the country that has been declared “The Happiest Place in the World” – creating a vision that is a necessary alternative to the dystopian one currently being bought and sold.
Brown’s work has appeared in anthologies in the U.S., Denmark and the U.K. such as Expat: Women’s Tales of Life Abroad (Seale Press, USA) and In Defense of Mumia (Writers & Readers, NYC). She was also a contributor to The Murmur, a Copenhagen-based English language newspaper and NBCBLK, a subsidiery of NBC. She divides her time between Copenhagen, Brooklyn and Trinidad and Tobago.
Brown studied Writing and Literature at the New School for Social Research, with a focus on Race & Representation. Her professors include literary icons as Suzan-Lori Parks and Jane Lazarre. She later went on to work for four years with publishing luminary Marie D. Brown before moving to Copenhagen, Denmark. She honed her writing skills freelancing for the Source, Vibe and Russell Simmons’ OneWorld magazine in the mid to late 90s, writing about art, books and music.
Throughout the years, Brown has been featured and invited to participate in a range of events, such as most recently to give the keynote at Cliffrose Convergence at Prescott College, and in Norway for DENOR. She’s traveled in connection with to her work to Berlin, Germany; London, UK; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Helsinki & Turku, Finland; New York, USA; Port-of-Spain, Trinidad; Los Angeles, St. Paul, Portland, U.S. and many other cities around the world.
Brown is available for consultations and will tailor workshops/presentations/talks to the needs of your particular institution.
Lesley-Ann Brown is publishing and education professional with experience in writing, editing, speaking, teaching and performing. She has appeared in cities & countries such as Oslo, Norway; Stockholm, Sweden; Copenhagen, Denmark; Berlin, Germany; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and in the US including Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco, CA; Portland, OR; St. Paul, MN; Baltimore, MD; Brooklyn & Manhattan in New York.
As a mother and teacher to a diverse student body, Brown is committed to co-creating a world based on mutual comprehension and intercultural respect.
If you are interested in contracting Brown for editorial or writing projects, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
contact email@example.com for further information and bookings.
So says author, poet, and educator Lesley-Ann Brown on this week’s CounterPunch Radio. Listen to hear Lesley-Ann discuss her book “Decolonial Daughter: Letters from a Black Woman to Her European Son” and some of the important political, cultural, and spiritual themes that weave the text together. Eric and Lesley-Ann explore memory, the role of mothers and women in indigenous cultures, how capitalism robs people of their histories, what colonization looked like from the beaches rather than the ships, the stories written upon our skin, and so much more.
Wisconsin Public Radio/NPR
A reading with Lesley-Ann Brown, followed by a conversation with Olani Ewunnet @ SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin, Germany
“I do believe she is to Copenhagen, what Baldwin is to Paris.”
–Olani Ewunnet, SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin
On Thursday October 18th, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with Olani Ewunnet from SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin, Germany where we spoke about some of the many themes that I cover in my book such as decolonization, sonics, Black American parent-to-child letter writing traditions, the normalization of white supremacy and finding joy and community in the midst of struggle.
- Author Lesley-Ann Brown discusses motherhood, race and her letters to her European Son (Amsterdam News)
- God is a Trini and She Lives High, All the Way Up, in Copenhagen (HuffPost)
Here’s a recent interview in New York City’s The Amsterdam News