Today I’m chatting with Kali Ferguson, a bilingual storyteller, songwriter, and poet living in her hometown of Charlotte, NC, in the United States.

Whether she’s breathing life into folktales or singing original Spanish lyrics, Kali passionately shares cultural literacy through Latin American and African Diasporic traditions. “Blancaflor: La Negra” is her latest musical fairy tale project, and it explores notions of race, gender, beauty, and freedom.

Since 2004, this “Swiss Army Knife of Culture” (with her nimble use of myriad creative expressions) has performed at the Levine Museum of the New South, Myrtle Beach’s Museum of Art, and many other museums, schools and libraries. She’s studied and traveled in South Africa, Panama, Costa Rica, and Spain, and throughout the United States.

We also discuss Kali’s experience of being in a city where tragedy has just happened (the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in September 2016), noticing the disparity between mainstream media and the reality of those who are there, and the grief arising.

Enjoy our ramble through the fairytale Blanca Flor and Kali’s relationship with her body and creativity.

Things we chatted about in this episode:

  • the fairytale Blanca Flor
  • the myth of productivity and how much North Americans love it
  • the power of staying as you are
  • on black fairytales, and how important it is to be reflected in your stories
  • on finding your own style as a storyteller, on being enough
  • relationship with creativity
  • on comparison and feeling unpolished, but doing it anyways
  • on being a shadow artist and putting people on pedestals
  • claiming the title of storyteller
  • on having space to play without other people’s judgment
  • just do what you do in order to discover what it is that you create
  • relationship with body
  • on how medications change the body, and seeking to accept what is
  • having a ‘come as you are’ attitude towards acceptance of body
  • how important community is for making sure she moves her body
  • on how important it is to refrain from comparing her body to others’ bodies
  • loving her belly
  • how good dancing feels

Connecting with Kali:

Connecting with Janelle: