This is what it is to be alive and to be Black in America. In three minutes, Crystal Valentine tells it like it is. Just what is Black privilege?


This brilliant and powerful poet, performer and activist is 20-year-old Crystal Valentine. The Bronx native first began writing poetry as a fourth grader. It’s been difficult to get her to put down a pen since.

Crystal is the current two-time Grand Slam Champion of NYU’s poetry slam team, is the 2015 NYC Youth Poet Laureate, has won first place atCUPSI in both 2013 and 2015, and was a member of the 2014 Urban Word youth slam team. She has been featured on the Melissa Harris-Perry show, as well as the Brian Lehrer Radio talk show, and has performed at venues such as the Lincoln Center and the Apollo Theater. During her time at New York University, when she’s not immersed in work for her creative writing and adolescent mental health studies courses, Valentine continues to use her talents to give voice to the narratives of, and to be an advocate for, Black and brown people whose stories are so often silenced.

This summer, with the support of her devoted fans (i.e. YOU!), she hopes to continue pursuing her passion for writing in Paris. While away, Crystal will have the opportunity to immerse herself in the experiences of a different culture while also discovering new literary devices to better articulate the messages, pains, struggles and triumphs of the Black and brown communities for which she advocates.

In the words of this dynamic Black female poet, Crystal “believes in poetry’s ability to instill change in those who embrace it.”

Her bio shares tidbits of her personality, describing her as “a lover of food, anime, people and above all, Chance The Rapper.”