Author reminds others about the importance of loving yourself


Tara Olivia Martens

Author Sonja Renee Taylor visits with a group of book club members before her presentation in Madison College’s Mitby Theater on March 11

Tara Olivia Martens, Staff Writer

Author, performing poet and inspirational speaker, Sonya Renee Taylor arrived at Madison College the evening of March 11 to meet with a group of local fans and community members.

The Wisconsin Book Festival helped organize Taylor’s tour to Madison as well as the presentation at Truax campus, but the book tour was also a collaboration of over 20 local organizations including DAIS, A Room of One’s Own and The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness.

Before Taylor’s event at Mitby Theater, a smaller group of local book club members meet in a room at Truax campus to discuss her book, “The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love.”

Madison has a 14 book clubs that have been meeting for the past few weeks, and many have become allies to the “Power of Self-Love” that Taylor that has brought her on book tours around the United States and around the world.

Lighting turned Mitby Theater’s stage hues of purple, while ambient lounge  music was played. The mixture of intermingled women laughing gave a feeling of happy hour at a pub.

Lucía Nuñez, Madison College’s Vice President for Equity, Inclusion and Community Engagement, introduced Taylor at the event.

As Nunez spoke, she recalled a picture of herself in a family photo album that showed her running around as a five-year-old without a T-shirt. The photo later went missing, but had Nunez remembering a “time before the shaming and the self-shaming,” when self-love was easier.

After the introduction, Taylor entered the stage and received a standing ovation from the audience of more than 400 – a compilation of local book clubs, organizations and Madison College students.

Taylor discussed the beginning of her career in the arts, during which she found her calling as a performing poet. She said it was her “natural tongue, the first way of how to communicate myself.”

“The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love” was a book that came from what Taylor called an assignment.

“The assignment is not what will make us look good in this auditorium, make us look good tomorrow, but what will make us free,” she said.

Love and freedom created many scriptures, proverbs, social movements and songs, but Taylor turned the somber notes of self-reflection into something a little more light hearted.

Looking at her audience, she said, “We all going to make love tonight… but if I said, ‘It’s not going to be terrible, … that’s not a party you would go to.”

Taylor’s visit to Madison College had a captivated audience that she engaged with through call and response, that, combined with Taylor performing her own poetry on stage, left the audience in a theatrical whirlwind.

For those who lack self-love, Taylor offers one final piece of advice: “Write yourself love letters.”