By Meg DiMartino
I had the pleasure of shadowing Azure Antoinette, spoken word poet, throughout the OWN IT Summit and it’s official—I wish she were my best friend. Azure was the opening performer to the Summit and honestly it could not have started out any more powerful. She demands the attention and the laughter in a room with her artful delivery of her comments and poetry. Azure explained at one point during the day that when people try to pick fights with her it’s comical because words are her job and she will always have a wittier, better put together come back. She made me laugh all day long with witty comments to things, even though she was terribly sick. Which by the way, what a trooper! Azure nailed the entire day despite the fact that she felt like her eye balls could have rolled out of her head.
One of my most favorite quotes, which also got the most favorites on Twitter by the way, was when Azure exclaimed, “I’m not your sidekick, F that!” during her Office Hours, one of the many components the Own It Summit has. I loved her Office Hours because she offered raw, tangible advice on how to make what you love your life. To be frank, I don’t remember the exact contents in which the quote I just mentioned came from, but I do know that it’s emblematic of Azure’s life. She walks exerts confidence and is definitely not anyone’s sidekick. When I heard this it made me think, “Wow, I don’t want to be anyone’s sidekick either.” I will gladly be a person’s equal, but the idea of being a sidekick is frustrating.
The other thing I admired about Azure is how she is unapologetically honest. I asked her if she had any signals for her team when she wanted to evacuate a place with either crazy fans or just a situation where she didn’t want to be in anymore. Azure said no, because her face always genuinely says it all. I loved this! Just let your facial expressions run and let your emotions do what they’re going to do. I feel like women sometimes get hung up on not wanting to insult someone and thus we become overly polite in situations and then our message gets convoluted. Azure is not setting out to insult anyone but she just does her thing without being sorry for it. For Azure doing what she loves is her life and I hope that one day after I graduate I can conduct a life like this as well. Azure, and the entire Own It Summit, was incredibly inspiring. I think that this event is the most impressive event on campus because it’s entirely run by fabulous students and it brings together the most incredible speakers and a diverse background of students. All in all, an amazing event. I loved it. If you haven’t attended, you’re not going to want to miss it again. OWN IT.