Louisvillian Hannah L. Drake wears many hats — author, poet, spoken-word artist, blogger, storyteller, activist — and underneath each one is an important message.
Drake has written two novels and six poetry books and has spoke at dozens of events around Louisville and beyond.
She champions for the Smoketown neighborhood, where her father was born and raised, and is a member of Roots & Wings, a group of artists who seek to bring social change to their communities.
In 2016, Drake’s poem “Formation” went viral, getting shared more than 20,000 times, which led her to start a blog titled “Write Some Shit.” And just last week, Drake penned a piece for Cosmopolitan magazine titled “Ivanka Trump’s Oprah Winfrey tweet is a nauseating display of White Feminism.”
Drake tells Insider the Cosmo opportunity sprang from a blog post she wrote called “Black Women Do Not Exist to Save You.” It went viral, and the editor of Cosmo reached out to her asking if she’d be interested in writing for the magazine.
“Would I?! Of course! Practically every girl I know has grown up reading Cosmo,” says Drake. “To think my words would be associated with them was phenomenal.”
Drake pitched editors two ideas, both of which were turned down. And then, after Oprah Winfrey’s inspiring speech during the Golden Globes on Jan. 7, Drake spotted a tweet by Ivanka Trump, President Trump’s daughter, who congratulated Oprah and also made reference to the #TimesUp movement. Drake was infuriated.
So she pitched the idea, the editor gave her the green light. Here’s an excerpt:
How dare Ivanka post #TimesUp while we are all watching the clock wondering when time is going to catch up with her father?
But perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised: White Feminism is clapping during Oprah’s speech when she spoke of Recy Taylor, a young black woman who in 1944 was abducted while walking home from church in Alabama and raped by six white men, but turning out to vote for racist and alleged pedophile, Roy Moore, for Alabama senator, as more than 60 percent of white women did in the 2017 special election. White Feminism is 53 percent of the white women voting in the 2016 presidential election for a man who brags about grabbing women by the pussy. White Feminism is showing up to the Women’s March in a pink hat without ever acknowledging that women of color have been doing this work for years.
Drake says the article was viewed thousands of times and garnered much conversation.
“I believe the article went exactly where it needed to go, and I applaud Cosmo’s courage in sharing it,” she says. “I never imagined that would be my first article with them, but they allowed me freedom to speak my truth, and I appreciated that. I will be working with them for a year, and I hope to write many more thought-provoking articles.”
While Drake continues to create and inspire, 2018 is shaping up to be quite a year for her.
She’s compiling some of her work into a new book titled “Dear America, I’m Still Rooting for You,” and this month alone she’ll be performing with the Louisville Ballet during its next Choreographers’ Showcase (Jan. 23-27) and also speaking during the start of the Festival of Faiths on Jan. 27.
And on Jan. 26 and 28, she’ll participate in a music/poetry mashup with Orchestra Enigmatic at 21c Museum Hotel.
“It’s been a whirlwind of activity, but I am fortunate and thankful my work is resonating with many people,” she says. “I hope they use my words to take the steps to change the world.”
Before Drake becomes too busy to reach, we asked her some very important questions …
What’s the most surprising thing on your Bucket List?
On my Bucket List is traveling for six months. I want to see the pyramids, eat pizza in Italy, have tea in London, write, go to a nude beach — be like Stella and get my groove back.
What poster was on your wall in junior high?
I did not have any posters on my wall in junior high school. I guess I was kind of a nerd.
If you were mayor, to whom would you give the key to the city?
Activists. People fighting to change the world who often go unnoticed.
What are your preferred pizza toppings?
Pepperoni, mushrooms and olives.
If you could be any age for a week, what would it be?
18 — I would tell myself to not be afraid and go live.
What famous person do people say you resemble the most?
Beyoncé. Yeah right. While I do not resemble her, people say I remind them of Maya Angelou most often.
Who would you most like to be stuck with in an elevator?