If leaving Cincinnati or Arkansas leads to nostalgia for your Red Dirt, you gotta someday realize that you can never fully return home. My work since the “Song From Red Dirt” debut is not just about accepting that home is where the heart is, but also accepting that remembering isn’t enough-- that life as an artist calls for, not just thinking about, but creating music and poetry in the service of social change.
- Tim’m T. West
A celebrated poet and hip-hop artist, Tim’m West embraces the power of words to challenge ideas of masculinity, and race. Beyond co-founding the groundbreaking Deep Dickollective (DDC), Tim’m breaks from tradition with Hip Hop by offering a brave and intersectional coming of age portrait. Aligned with the release of his sixth solo project, ICONography, he was named LGBT History Month Icon by LGBTHistoryMonth.com in October 2015. One of his strengths has been the ability to move from Hip Hop and Spoken Word as a performer to the ability, as a scholar, to frame his work historically, politically and theoretically. Tim’m enjoys faithful fan base who appreciate the expansive subject matter his work amplifies, such as sexism, environmentalism, homophobia, and the movement for black lives. A Hip Hop scholar, Tim’m is featured in many award-winning hip-hop documentaries, including Alex Hinton’s Pick Up the Mic, Bryon Hurt’s Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes and Mario Van Peebles’ Bring Your ‘A’ Game. A mobilizer of artists, Tim’m founded The Front Porch in 2004, a performance arts series that continues to mobilize hundreds of artists. His work has been featured at sold-out performances, colleges, and smaller open mics. As a teacher and publisher, Tim’m co-created the literary magazine Enizigam with creative writing students at Oakland School for the Arts-- a publication which continues to support youth developing brave and skilled creative voices. As an author Tim’m’s first book Red Dirt Revival: a poetic memoir in 6 Breaths, continues to be read in college classrooms as a seminal and critically acclaimed poetic memoir following in the tradition of writers like Audre Lorde, Essex Hemphill, Gloria Anzaldua and contemporary figures like Carl Hancock Rux. Tim’m’s passion for hip-hop intersects with his commitment to youth development, having advised SLAM teams and poetry clubs at Cesar Chavez School for Public Policy and Chicago’s Center on Halsted. A teacher, he has developed a style of poetry that resonates in the voices of many poets and Spoken Word artists, the best known of them being his own daughter, Shannon Matesky. Tim’m’s creative work as an artist is broadly impacting, having co-founded Brave Soul Collective, the Black Alphabet Film Festival, and being a pivotal artist in showcases like Queer, and Ill and Okay. Shamelessly choosing not to choose Hip Hop over poetry or other mediums, Tim’m shatters the mold of what it means to be a poet and hip-hop artist.