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Benji Hart



Benji Hart is an interdisciplinary artist, author, and educator whose work centers Black radicalism, queer liberation, and prison abolition. Their words have appeared or are forthcoming in anthologies from Oxford University Press, Beacon Press, Haymarket Books, Pluto Press, and have been published at Time, Teen Vogue, The Advocate, The Funambulist Magazine, and elsewhere. They have led popular education and arts-based workshops for organizations internationally, including Dissenters, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Forward Together, and Al Shabaka Palestinian Policy Network, and presented at the Barnard Center for Research on Women, the Lab School, American Repertory Theater, and the National Museum of African American History & Culture. Their performances have been featured at Steppenwolf Theater, the Poetry Foundation, La Goyco, and Den Frie. They have received fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell, Chicago Dancemakers Forum, and the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography. They were born and raised in Massachusetts, and live and work in Chicago.

Benji Hart is a Black, queer, femme artist and educator currently living in Chicago. They are the writer behind the blog Radical Faggot, and have essays featured in the anthologies Rebellious Mourning: Collective Works of Grief (2017) and Taking Sides: Radical Solidarity and the Poverty of Liberalism (2015), both from AK Press. Their writing has also been published in Truthout, Salon Magazine, Socialist Worker, and other feminist and abolitionist media.

While formally certified as an elementary educator, their teaching philosophy is grounded in popular education, and relies on art to inspire resistance and direct action. Their areas of expertise include the dance form vogue, spoken word poetry, trans history, and prison and police abolition. They have taught voguing to queer and trans youth at the Chicago Cultural Center, the Broadway Youth Center, and the Puerto Rican Cultural Center. They have offered workshops on a range of political topics to such groups as Assata’s Daughters, Chicago Desi Youth Rising, For the People Artists Collective, and others.

Their original one-person piece Dancer As Insurgent–which explores the street dance style of vogue as a form of radical resistance–has been performed at conferences and universities across Chicago, such as Black & Pink’s National Gathering (2017), Creating Justice (2016), INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence’s conference Color of Violence 4 (2015), and Jane Adams Hull House (2015). Their poetry and spoken word have been featured at showcases and venues around the city.

Featured Artworks

  •  A light skinned femme in white undershirt and white skirt hold their right arm striaght out, skirt in had. Their left fist is on their hip. Premiere of World After This One at the Green Line Perfomring Arts Center, Chicago 2024 (Joel Maisonet)
  •  A light skinned femme in black t-shirt and navy pants hold their right arm striaght above their head. Their left hand grabs their shirt collar. Workshop performance of World After This One at the Poetry Foundation, Chicago 2023 (Sarah Jane Rhee)
  •  A light skinned femme in white t-shirt and navy pants holds their right arm striaght behind their back, knees slightly bent. They look over their right shoulder. In progress performance of World After This One at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago 2021 (Sarah Jane Rhee)

Benji Hart has crowd-funded a project with 3AP

    • $5,630 raised of $5,000 goal
    • 0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
      • 3Arts matched
      • 113% funded

    Focusing on the dance forms of bomba and vogue, I am organizing a creative exchange among Black artists in Chicago and Puerto Rico to learn from and interrogate the ways in which gender and sexuality impact Black diasporic traditions. Our …

    Read more about Black Performance Exchange