Popular blogger and poet, Sydney “Divinewords” Latimer was raised in Minnesota but relocated to spend a little more than the first decade of her adult life in Los Angeles before recently returning home.
She’s become one of the premiere new bloggers for the Huffington Post with her innovative Peacock Bride blog. Her recent story, “A Letter to My Late Father Eight Months after My Wedding” has been shared internationally. Blending the heart of the Midwest experience with the hustle of the entertainment capital, Latimer spoke with Aesthetically Speaking about how she’s been able to explore areas that are rarely part of the popular conversation.
AS: What do you aim to bring to the online world?
SL: What I’m trying to bring to the blogesphere is the perspective that I don’t always see and things that aren’t always covered in a way that you’d want to see it as a person in the audience. The reason I started the Peacock Bride Blog was because I felt like within the wedding blogesphere they have either really offbeat weddings and people who are at the far left of it, or you have people who are just super traditional. On the left side you have a lot of judgments. On the other end you have (the) straight up wedding industrial complex. Everything is very cookie-cutter and by the book. I felt like I didn’t identify with either one of those categories. With me having deep respect for tradition, at our wedding we jumped the broom. Some people don’t incorporate any kind of ritual or tradition because they are trying to get away from that. I feel there are people in the middle that don’t get catered to.
The blog is more centered on figuring out what’s best to do yourself, and other services you could want. For me it is more about being authentic to myself. I’ve been trying to change people’s perspectives of what weddings are about. For me it was a rites of passage as a woman.
One of my next articles is on the African-American presence in the aerial and circus arts. I looked up information and there was no concentrated area where that history was present online. Potentially the article will be something that people can reference that doesn’t exist now. That’s what I’m always looking for.
AS: What would you consider your “roots?”
SL: I grew up in St. Paul. My mom was a theater major and graduated from Macalester (College). Before my dad got in the trucking industry he did a lot within the community. I started performing poetry in the 4th grade. When I was 15 or 16 (years old), the person who really got me into writing spoken word pieces was Mikey Larsen (Eyedea). We went to school together at Highland Park (Senior High). I was so inspired by that dude. He was my friend. I was the new kid at school and there (were) only two people who were really my friends and one of them was a young man that got shot and killed when I was a junior, and the other was Mikey who passed away – two people that will never know how they helped me out. The first poem that was any good was inspired by (Mikey). I ran back to school and read it to him and he gave me a lot of encouragement. I was one of the only female MCs in my school and that was hard. You either had to rap like a dude and be hard or be sexy. I grew up in that Lil Kim era where I love Kim but I feel women weren’t rapping as intelligently as I knew they were.
I had a bad nervous breakdown when I was 19 (years old) and the therapist suggested I write. That’s when I went to Java Noire and met you (Toki Wright) and Desdamona. Desdamona really took me under her wing. I worked closely with E.G. Bailey and Edupoetic Enterbrainment (and the) Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council. The community put me there. I later started blogging on Myspace.
AS: What would you say has been the purpose of your poetry?
SL: That’s more of a self-reflective thing where I am constantly analyzing my life and the world. I think, as a poet, what made me stand out was I always approached poetry in a fearless way about evaluating my life and my feelings. That in itself can be controversial … to put yourself out there. There’s a lot of fakery in the hip-hop and poetry realm. A lot of people may just talk about Black consciousness, or the love that they feel, or their heart being broken. For me it was a process of evaluating myself. I tend to go back to that when I can’t find the right words to express myself. Sometimes my interpretation of the things that I’ve been through or I see are a lot more poetic than I can describe if I sat in a therapist’s office and talked about my problems. For me poetry is free therapy. You perform it over and over again you tend to learn about yourself. I was very surprised with how many people would come to me and say, “I’ve been through that same thing but I never had the courage to speak out about it,” … to have people not feel alone in the struggles they go through. I have a community and a family too.