Giselle Lawrence


afropunk brooklyn soldier of the day: monique siaw

August 13, 2019
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AFROPUNK ARMY is the central hub for volunteering, social justice, awareness and action, AP ARMY acts as a catalyst for social movements and organizations tackling critical issues dismantling our communities globally.

Name: Monique Siaw
Age: 25
 Pronoun: She/her/hers
City: Brooklyn
Instagram: @_arabenaa
Twitter: @_arabenaa
3 Hashtags that Describe You: #melanin #blackgirlmagic #closemouthsdontgetfed
Name one of your hidden talents or secret skills that no one would ever guess you had? I am trained in jazz as a vocalist.
What does AFROPUNK mean to you? AFROPUNK means opportunity. There’s a lot of things I did not know I could accomplish, and when given the opportunity, I realized I could.
What does #WESEEYOU mean to you? #WESEEYOU means real recognize real. In a world where people have a certain perspective of who I am before I even open my mouth, it feels good to be seen for who I truly am and to feel free in my identity.
What was your last revolutionary act? My last revolutionary act was teaching young people. It’s a passion of mine to be a mentor to young folk, and show them that you can be smart and creative at the same time.
What or who do you fight for? Why? I fight for Black narratives, and safer spaces. It’s important to highlight stories that we continue to discover, and share our experiences. We can create safer spaces that promote dialogue about challenging topics and a space for healing.
When Mercury is in reggaeton, how do you protect your peace? Sage and Netflix.
What does being unapologetically Black mean to you? It means standing in your truth, even if it makes others uncomfortable.
Describe your journey with AFROPUNK. How have you used AP as a microphone for your passions, interests and/or service? My journey started with just an email. I was looking for a research opportunity for my Mellon Mays fellowship, and AFROPUNK seemed like the right choice. I came on board in 2015, and was asked to return after I graduated college. Now, I’m AFROPUNK ARMY’s Program Coordinator where I develop programming for our non-profit arm. With our Earn A Ticket program, I’ve been able to reward the community with free tickets, and support amazing organizations that tackle issues that are affecting our communities. I also coordinate festival volunteers which provides opportunities for people of color to get a hands on experience of the festival and production — a space that people of color don’t usually occupy. A goal of mine has always been to create spaces for Black people to disrupt the mainstream whether it’s volunteering for a good cause, or entering the production world.
Who is your favorite woman in herstory — past or present? Audre Lorde is my favorite person in herstory. She’s given me so much language to describe my experience as a Black woman.