Esther Iverem is a multi-disciplinary artist, writer and independent journalist. Her diverse body of work, which includes a show on Pacifica Radio, four books, two digital media projects and several visual art exhibits, is about social justice and human existence—its history, current state and possible futures. Her work is also about the environment, including its mysteries extending into the universe.

She is creator, producer and host of ‘On the Ground: Voices of Resistance From the Nation’s Capital’ on Pacifica Radio, founder of the pioneering Black project SeeingBlack and a founding member of DC Poets Against the War/Split This Rock. She is a recipient of numerous awards and honors. She is a 2018 Fellow in the Humanities for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and received a National Arts Journalism Fellowship at Columbia University. Her latest book, Olokun of the Galaxy, uses poetry and images to tell a story of Olokun, an African spirit for the deepest ocean, and to honor the Earth’s ecosystem and the millions who perished during or descended from the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. She is also the author of We Gotta Have It: Twenty Years of Seeing Black at the Movies (Hachette Book Group) and two other books of poems, The Time: Portrait of a Journey Home and Living in Babylon (Africa World Press).

Since 2010, her fiber and multi-media works have been featured in four solo shows, several group shows and acquired for personal collections. She has curated two shows at DCAC—the District of Columbia Arts Center, including, in 2013, “Emancipation: Meditations of Freedom,” to mark the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. In her recent work, she interrogates physical and economic violence against people and violence against the planet. Her series of contemporary Olokun Yoruba spirit figures — on which her book is based — carry images of African Americans killed by state violence and features Olokun as a water protector who proclaims that “Water is Life.” Before working as an independent writer and artist, she was a staff writer for The Washington Post, New York Newsday and The New York Times. She is a native of Philadelphia, a graduate of the University of Southern California and Columbia University, and lives in Washington, DC. Please help make her work possible on Patreon.

12 thoughts on “THE HOST

  1. Greetings Esther, I hope all is well. I listen to your show in Atlanta on WRFG and I enjoy the show. Like yourself I’m an artist, curator and educator. I caught one of your shows a few months back that discussed Cuba’s part in liberating around 18 countries on the continent. I organized an exhibition in 2017 titled, Internationalist Spirit: Persistence and Resistance which was inspired by the documentary, Cuba! African Odyssey. We executed the exhibition in 2018 at the Southwest Art Center Performance Theater Gallery and Gallery 992. The exhibition was in conjunction with our Cuban Comrades at the Jose Marti Community Arts Collective. In December of 2019 we are having an opening reception for this collaborative exhibition. I wanted to touch basis with you to let you know we are having the exhibition, and extend an invitation to come and witness our collaboration. We are interested in inviting some of the soldiers to the opening. I would like to discuss more information with you.

    • Thank you Brian for listening to the show! And big congrats on your work and exhibit.
      Please email me.

  2. Shalom And Barakah Dear Beloved Sister And Queen Hadassah ( Ester) Iverem. I Would Like To Express My Joy And Appreciation On Your Excellent Shows. On 2-9-18 In Support Of Your Show A Donation Was Made With The Expectation Of Receiving. Professor Gerald Horne Book.That Was Offered That Day.Subscription #40542574312.Could You Advise Me On This Matter Thank You Ever So Kindly. Shalom Shalom.

  3. Greetings Esther,
    Great show today. It actually made me re-think my recycling skepticism. You know “the world’s already missed up, what difference is my little bit going to make.” ” As busy as we are who has time to sort trash.” So I would make a half-hearted attempt to recycle ( when it was convenient.) But you’re right. When you add it up it makes a big difference. Thanks to you and your guests I’m a recycling convert. I appreciate your good works. Peace and Love!

  4. Dear Esther,
    YOU can do NO wrong in My eyes !!! I LIVE for your show , Always interesting and You are such a perfect host. I Live to hear You & ‘ what’s at stake ‘ , the TWO most interesting shows on PFW !!! Thank you for the work that you do !!! Another ” John in Virginia ” !!!!

  5. Greetings, I would like to know the web site of your guests today on Girls and there bodies. I have a granddaughter who needs this information. pls.write back.

  6. Hi Mitch,
    Thank you for your feedback. My general policy for this show is to not interrupt or cut off callers so I did not want to do what right-wing hosts routinely do, if they take progressive callers at all. Since you are a regular listener and supporter, you are probably aware of this policy and aware that each caller is given a time limit, which does not allow for one caller to take up time with a personal on-air debate. Rather than shameful, my handling of a person with not only odious comments but also fascist and racist comments, was actually quite measured and commendable. I stand with the dead young man and his family and community and have my own definitions of what is shameful–and, more important, what is dangerous. Thank you for listening.

  7. Regarding today’s show: I’m disappointed in your response to John from Virginia. To be sure, you aired a call expressing a point of view differing from your own, but you could have handled the caller far more diplomatically. First, you dismissed the caller without engaging in dialog with him. Second, if you made any attempt to conceal your, let’s just call it “dislike” for the caller, you did not succeed. Third, you proceeded to refute his statements AFTER he was off the air, thereby denying him a chance to discuss his views. Fourth, you raised the possibility of his having been paid by a right-wing think tank for making his call. That was shameful: you have no more evidence of this than he did of the claims he was making.

    Don’t get me wrong: I like the show overall, and I’m a regular listener to the station. But you could have done much better with this.

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