Bassey Ikpi

India Downes-Le Guin

Bassey Ikpi is a Nigerian-American writer and mental health advocate. Her debut essay collection, I’M TELLING THE TRUTH BUT I’M LYING (Harper Perennial 2019), is a New York Times Best Seller. Appearing on stages across the world as a public speaker and TV personality, Bassey featured on HBO’s ‘Def Poetry Jam’ and joined the touring company for their Tony Award-winning Broadway show. She was the resident pop culture critic for Philly’s WURD FM radio station and is currently a contributing editor for Catapult. An active voice in pop culture commentary and the mental health community, Bassey’s essays have been published by The Root, Ebony, Huffington Post, and Essence, as well as the anthologies Rookie On Love and Who Will Speak For America. In 2015, Bassey was commissioned by Nike’s global nonprofit Girls Effect to write and perform a short film, Invisible Barriers, which premiered at a panel discussing female empowerment as a means for societal growth at Aspen Ideas Conference. Bassey is the founder of The Siwe Project, a mental health organization that centers Black and Brown people in an effort to spread mental health awareness. Recognized by MSNBC’s The Melissa Harris-Perry Show for her advocacy work, Bassey is also the creator of #NoShameDay, an initiative that attempts to reduce stigma and increase mental health awareness. As a performing poet, Bassey has opened for Grammy-winning artists India Arie, Luther Vandross, and Alicia Keys. She tributed Venus and Serena Williams at the NAACP Image Awards and opened for Conde Nast Traveler’s 25th Anniversary Visionaries Award, performing original poems composed in recognition of attending honorees Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, Christy Turlington, Olivia Wilde, and Susan Sarandon, among others. Bassey currently lives in Maryland and is working on various projects.