Rachel "Raych" Jackson Contours Modern Culture
“I will never be comfortable with poetry… If you’re comfortable, you’re not growing”
Rachel Jackson, otherwise known as “Raych” Jackson, is best known for her poetry and teaching young students in Uptown Chicago. Raych has won multiple awards for her slam poetry and has made a profound impact on her listeners.
Raych best connects with her audience through her vulnerability while performing on stage and targeting issues of how women are perceived in the twenty first century. Raych is a 2017 NUPIC (National Underground Poetry Individual Competition) champion, of which she has continued to dominate slam poetry.
While her topics are relatable to female listeners, her stance on female and male differences embarks on the way in which women are silenced by masculinity.
As a child, Raych Jackson was encouraged by her mother who also is a poet to perform. Whether at Church or in the comfort of her home, Raych “grew up to be a performer” and therefore acquired skills to mold into the successful poet she is today. Raych was a school teacher for five years as she was becoming a poet and found that teaching helps with connecting yourself with others. As she continues to write poetry, I asked Raych how she comes up with deadlines for shows if she is independently working. Raych commented that “deadlines [trained] me” and that “[they hold] you accountable” so that she is able to work from anywhere and still be inspired by her surroundings.
In 2017, Raych performed “Period Rules” in Minneapolis. She described the reality in which women live when communicating their needs for feminine products. A once raw topic, was transformed into a robust conversation about a natural female function, which is deemed inappropriate to discuss in mixed company. The inability to properly communicate such necessities has since led to widespread misunderstanding.
Raych Jackson’s take on gender associated dilemas cater to her fiery character on stage. “[I] will never be comfortable with poetry” Raych said, “if you’re comfortable, you’re not growing.”
Raych was inspired by poets such as Robbie Q. Telfer, whose techniques helped influence the way she presented ‘Period Rules’. Jackson has made herself vulnerable with her audience, and even with herself as she speaks on her upbringing.
Raych embraces her femininity and culture as an African American woman by making it known to the audience who she is and why she stands out. One of the questions I asked Raych was how she was inspired by Chicago’s culture and values, and she said the way “black Chicagoans talk and their diction” is very distinct and stands out to her. Jackson focuses on being authentic and personable to an audience to make her message come alive.
Raych has been featured in a number of magazines and articles highlighting her freestyle poetry and controversial topics regarding mental health and feminism. Moreover, Raych projects her voice in a way that is revolutionary for generations to come.
Throughout Chicago, Raych Jackson has become an idol to her fourth grade students as well as many junior poets. Raych stands for what she believes in through vivid imagery forecasted in a myriad of her plays and poems. Raych performs her poems in acts of protest and cultural awareness based on her own experiences as a woman of color. As she continues to perform her poetry nationally, Raych is one of many who are using their voice to address real world issues starting in smaller communities like Chicago, causing a ripple effect to citizens on a global scale.
For more information on Rachel “Raych” Jackson, you can find her latest performances here: