Amanda Alcantara, Writer, Spoken Word Poet visits SUNY Plattsburgh

By Cassandra Day

     Students of SUNY Plattsburgh were treated to a special event in honor of Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month on October 5th in the Cardinal Lounge.  With the help of CAS, the Latin American Studies program, The President's Office, SSS, EOP, Kinks, PABJ and La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity Inc., Amanda Alcantara was invited to perform.  Amanda is a graduate of Rutgers University and a recent graduate of NYU where she received her masters this past May.  She has focused on the storytelling of women from the Dominican Republic and Haiti (amandaalcantara.com).  She is a writer, journalist, co-founder of La GalerĂ­a Magazine and authors her blog Radical Latina (amandaalcantara.com). The event was packed with students of all backgrounds excited to hear Amanda perform. 

     Master of Ceremonies, Emmanuel Rodriguez, President of La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity Inc. starting the event with a moment of silence in honor of all the lives lost due to the natural disasters in Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico and the victims of the shooting in Las Vegas. The room went silent in respect for all the lives lost.  Rodriguez then asked the audience to participate in a round of applause for all of the heroes who have provided relief and support during these recent tragedies.  

     Alcantara began with a poem about identity and misconceptions.  She described how many people think she's Indian/East Asian.  Her poem led into a speech about the discrimination of Dominicans inside and outside of their community. She talked about the struggle of color inside the Latin American community.  Her message was about resilience, self acceptance and owning who you are.  She transitioned into a poem about her grandmother and how she spoke, a first time performance of her poem "Fantasizing About Rape", "An Ode To My Stretch Marks", an excerpt from an essay and ended the night with more poetry.

     In Amanda's essay she discussed rapper Cardi B. of "Bodack Yellow" who just reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 List.  She spoke about the facets of life in the Dominican Republic for women, especially sexism within the community. She had an extremely positive message, admiring other women is one of the most feminist things women can do.  Amanda discussed plastic surgery in the DR, and how it is extremely common but usually kept a secret.  She discussed how Cardi B. is a role model and more women today should be accepting of their bodies and sexuality.  

     Having Amanda come to SUNY Plattsburgh was a wonderful experience.  It was great to see the SUNY Plattsburgh community come together for a night of poetry and spoken word.  Amanda Alcantara is a gifted writer and poet and a true inspiration for female empowerment.  More information about her can be found at her website: amandaalcantara.com, where she also has some recordings of her pieces.  She is now booking Fall 2017 performances and talks.