Kyd Kane on her career & her authenticity

Kelsey May | October 21st, 2017

Kyd Kane is a poet, artist, and activist based in Grand Rapids who has reached thousands with her work. Most recently, she placed Top Five in the Public Vote’s Time-Based category of ArtPrize.

Hey Kyd! You exude confidence, a fact I’ve always admired and hoped to emulate in some small way. Let’s talk self-esteem.

My mom was adamant about us being confident. She always told us, “You’re so talented.” She made me believe that. I’m the oldest of four. She’s always made us feel like we’re the most beautiful people, inside and out. Even in times of insecurity, she tells me how great I am.

Can you talk more about who your mom is?

[I’ve] had some times when I didn’t admire my mom. My family is closed off, but she’s more of a people person. She’s a hairstylist. I didn’t understand why my family didn’t like that aspect about her [when I was younger]. But I’ve learned from her to not hold grudges or hold onto negativity. If she has anything to give, she’ll give it.

Your poetry is particularly powerful when you perform it. Can you talk about the intersection of rap and poetry?

Recognizing that rap is poetry has bridged the gap that shouldn’t have been there. My best friend, Callab, [gave] me the opportunity to go on tour with him. One of the things I want to do is set myself apart from the traditional path of the poet. I wanted something bigger than slam. How can I make this passion pay off in the biggest way? Deepak Chopra said, “Judge nothing that occurs.” I want to see myself in venues where poets usually are not. [I’m] accepting success whatever it looks like.

What was the best impact you saw your work [Kyd’s piece “broke(n)hunger” advocated on behalf of communities with barriers to food access] make during ArtPrize?

The common thing was people thanking me for this work. They hugged me and thanked me for the message. [I was able to] connect with so many different people. I feel so full and overwhelmed with gratitude from this process.


I’d also love to celebrate your incredible voice in the LGBTQ community. Someday, I hope to not give a fuck what other people think about me, the same way you do. Do you want to share your coming out story and any advice you have for others struggling with their identities?

Really, it’s been eight or nine years for me – [although] I don’t think I was ever in. I’m an open book. The only advice I can give is pure acceptance of self. Then, others don’t have a choice. When you’re unapologetic and willing to look at yourself as whole and perfect, others will [too]. Love who you like to love. I live outside of other people’s opinions.

Photo credit: Kelsey May


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