Meet the author making reading in inner city Baltimore cool again


B-More’s favorite son

Kondwani Fidel has always been an advocate of listening twice as much as he speaks. The author and spoken word virtuoso has a habit of going out into the world and taking everything in, from the sites and sounds of his Baltimore neighborhood, to whatever music or literature he’s currently into. Eventually when the time is right, he gives it all back. The narrative that he bestows upon us this time is not the biased portrayal that the media so often tends to paint, but instead a raw, unflinching portrayal of the world which surrounds him. “Everything that I write about is pulled from my own life,” He says. “If it’s a situation that I faced, or not, it’s a direct extension of my reality.” The relatable nature of his words is what makes Fidel a staple in his community, as he provides a voice for those who are so often silenced. While he’s already made an effect on the community though, the 24 year old has his eyes set on expanding and taking his talents nationwide.

Photo by @bydvnlln

“Everything that I write about is pulled from my own life.”

Fidel’s mission to change the narrative for people of color comes from years of watching his people criminalized and demonized through mainstream media. That misrepresentation has led to many blacks in the inner city treated like less than human from the police. “You had people who were going to prison and serving life sentences for something they didn’t do, getting labeled a criminal,” He says. “Now since the police corruption has been caught on body cams it has gained national attention, a thousand years too late. People died in these prisons. People died on these streets after coming home from prison, not being able to get a job because of their record. Things like that, is why it’s important that we control what really goes on.” Fidel’s voice on issues such as this is heard loud and clear in his book “Raw Wounds”, a collection of essays that magnifies the black experience and has hit the bookshelves of schools nationwide. The book has done wonders in getting the younger generation excited to read and find the voice to tell their own stories.

Photo by @Reginaldthomas

“You had people who were going to prison and serving life sentences for something they didn’t do, getting labeled a criminal”

The experience of reading one of Fidel’s books can only be outdone by hearing the words spat by the man himself. As a spoken word poet, he has the rare ability to drop jewels on an audience with a delivery full of pain and angst, that oozes authenticity. “My mission is to express the way that I feel, think, and operate through my writings and performances,” He says. Going forward, Fidel is entering the MFA program at the University of Baltimore in the fall. As he continues on his journey, expect him to continue inspiring with his words, and enjoying every second of it. “I’m 24-years-old, and I’m living out my passion,” He says. “I just want to do what I’m doing now, on a much larger scale. Travel the country to speak, perform, and teach students the importance of literacy, storytelling, and critical thinking. While doing all this, I want to have lots of fun.”

IG: @kondwanifidel