“The idea is not to change the world, but to spark the mind that will change the world, because leadership is in delegation.

Willie Oeba is an African poet who empowers young people to fight inequality and foster social justice through spoken word. He currently leads a team of 24 young “artivists” in his community who use their creativity to create social change. Through his own poems, he has also reached millions of people worldwide.

As CEO of ISM Academy, an organization that trains young leaders to create art that combats inequality, Willie develops the tools for marginalized artists to champion social justice, economic equity, and democracy. In 2021, he was awarded the Upcoming Human Rights Defender award by the Defenders Coalition, a national human rights organization in Kenya. He also won the East Africa Spoken Word Battle in 2018.

Willie works to bridge the poverty gap within the arts by empowering artists from marginalized communities and by championing economic structures that allow artists from every background to achieve financial independence. He believes that activism through art requires people to stand in the gap between what is real and what is possible, and to respond to challenges by expanding whose stories get told.