Denice Frohman first made her debut into the poetry scene in 2013 with her album “Feels Like Home,” featuring 10 tracks — eight poems and two songs. The Jewish-Latina’s poetry shares her personal experiences with race and sexuality. Her most recent poetic endeavor is a commercial for Twitter that aired during the Oscars on March 4 which showcased the #HereWeAre campaign to empower women.
— Twitter (@Twitter) March 5, 2018
“I heard a woman becomes herself the first time she speaks without permission. Then, every word out her mouth a riot. Say beautiful, and point to the map of your body. Say brave, and wear your skin like a gown or a suit. Say hero, and cast yourself in the lead role. When a girl pronounces her own name, there is glory. When a woman tells her own story, she lives forever. All the women I know are perennials, marigolds, daffodils — soft things that refuse to die. If this poem is the only thing that survives me, tell them I grew a new tongue. Tell them I built me a throne. Tell them, when we discovered life on another planet, it was a woman. And she built a bridge, not a border. I heard this is how you make history. This is how you create a new world.”
As Frohman’s voice speaks, notable women appear in the video: Charlotte Beers (former U.S. Secretary of State), Ava DuVernay (director), Issa Rae (actress) and many more.
The commercial itself is facing backlash because of abuse and misogyny rampant on the social media platform.
“How about you spend the money you used on this ad to hire moderators to kick accounts that terrorize women off your platform?” tweeted Ella Dawson, TEDTalks editor.
How about you spend the money you used on this ad to hire moderators to kick accounts that terrorize women off your platform?
— ella dawson (@brosandprose) March 5, 2018
Many others seemed to agree that while Twitter can walk the walk of women empowerment, they can’t talk the talk.
“The ad failed to address the platform’s long-standing harassment problem, not citing a plan for action or even mentioning the issue,” Teen Vogue writer Lauren Duca said in her column.
twitter: "we stand with women and support making their voices and presence heard and known"
also twitter: *refuses to suspend people harassing women, threatening women, creating parody accounts to mock women, and suspends women who are mass-reported by trolls* #hereweare https://t.co/iwhnsd95wo
— diane alston (@dianelyssa) March 5, 2018
That @Twitter commercial was powerful, but also feels odd considering that I spent this past weekend being harassed by misogynist fat-shaming trolls, only be told that the Tweets didn’t violate their standards. Do better, Twitter, where it matters. #HereWeAre
— Rebecca Krevat (@RebeccaKrevat) March 5, 2018
That #HereWeAre ad would be much more effective if Twitter didn't allow so much hate speech on its platform.
— Danielle Turchiano (@danielletbd) March 5, 2018
The campaign stems from a previous one the platform ran called #SheInspiresMe, which was released in July 2017 and featured celebrities such as actress Alicia Silverstone and singer CharlieXCX.
The hashtag #HereWeAre comes from chief marketing officer (CMO) Leslie Berland, who created it in January, because of the lack of women speakers at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year.
Twitter has apparently seen a 50 percent spike in conversation regarding women’s rights in the past six months compared to the six months prior, based on analysis of the terms “feminism,” “women’s rights” and “gender equality.”
On her Spotify profile, Frohman’s poem “Dear Straight People” from her debut album is her most listened to track with nearly 32.5k listens. The poem details her experience as a queer woman in an age that is progressive but still has widespread homophobia.
Frohman’s website describes her as someone whose “work focuses on identity, social change, disrupting notions of power and celebrating the parts of ourselves deemed unworthy. She hopes to inspire people, particularly young folks of color, to see themselves as writers with stories that need to be told.”
The poet frequently tours America to speak at K-12 schools, as well as colleges and universities. Her work is also featured in Winter Tangerine, Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color and Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism.