La Toya A. Hampton, MSW (she/they) is a queer Black femme educator, entrepreneur and poet, who began performing spoken word poetry in 2008, using the stage name Lady Rose, in memory of her late father, Roosevelt.
Lady Rose recalls being drawn to writing almost from the beginning, with her writing skill and talent being recognized with awards as early as elementary school. The former English major also has a background in Education (including Early Childhood and Special Education), Mental Health and Social Work, even piloting and receiving an award for the creation and implementation of a mentoring program to assist girls with the transition from elementary to middle school, called Finding Our Road to Success (FORTS). Understanding the ability of words to empower marginalized communities to find and own their voice, whenever possible, Lady Rose has incorporated writing in her professional practices with her students and clients, along with conducting classes/presentations for elementary, middle and high school students, helping them to explore poetry and use writing as a form of self-care and expression, as well as a tool to uncover and share in common interests and struggle.
Born and raised, and spending most of her life in what is often referred to as “the Whitest City in America,” Portland, Oregon, she continued that experience while attending the private and predominantly white institution Concordia University, Portland to complete her Bachelors in Social Work, and was later faced with the surprising, yet welcomed exposure to cultural differences of the population while completing her Masters of Social Work at California State University in Long Beach, California. It was here and during her training and subsequent employment as a Child and Family Therapist serving families living in South Central Los Angeles, that her eyes were further opened to her own privilege and the harsh realities and disparities of communities of which she considered herself a member and felt the need to be a voice and advocate for.
She has performed at open mics in both Portland and Los Angeles and has been a featured artist of Blacque Butterfly's Showcase, Unchaste Readers Series, Colored Pencils, Screen Time Slam, One Mic One Globe, Soapbox Poets Open Mic and more. Her poem "Brown Knows" is featured throughout the acclaimed documentary Black Girl in Suburbia (click her picture to see the trailer). In addition, she is credited as a performer/songwriter on Ancient Lapis: A Collection of Folktales and Testimonies. In 2013, she spearheaded her one-woman show, "Holes of a Piece of Me: An Introduction to Lady Rose," at Headwaters Theatre in Portland, Oregon and self-published a chapbook of the same name, with an expanded re-release slated for February 2022. Current major themes of her work focuses on Black Pride, identity, spirituality and healing the Mother Wound.
A Cancer who almost always operates simultaneously in her head and heart, coupled with her range of knowledge, observed and lived experiences, Lady Rose is able to draw from a deep pool of inspiration and influence, resulting a in thought-provoking and challenging, yet vulnerable and tender style that is uniquely and authentically her own.