Mackayla Forde, aka RED MEDUSA is a UK-born poet and academic who is known for her unapologetic creative modes of expression and commitment to fighting health injustices. She has worked with literary and academic juggernauts Akala, Tolu Agbelusi, Anthony Anaxagorou, Kat François, Dr Jennifer Randal and Dr Eugene Richardson to name a few.
In 2020, Mackayla returned to London’s poetry scene following several years of study, where she completed her undergraduate and master’s degrees in public and global health. The poet-turned-academic became internationally recognised following the release of ‘Here to Stay’, a spoken word piece about coloniality in fashion, created alongside award-winning fashion designer Osman Yousefzada, which was featured in Vogue, Forbes and Grazia magazines.
She has since collaborated with the Noisettes’ former bass player and performer Shingai, Harm Reduction International, Queen Mary University of London, and other local and national organisations to bring much needed attention to important social and political issues. Mackayla’s passion for health justice continues to be centred in her creative work as demonstrated by her partnerships with the African and Caribbean Leukaemia Trust, SickleKan and NHS Blood & Transplant. Her commissioned piece ‘Bonded by Blood’ was part of a national campaign encouraging 40,000 people from ‘BAME’ communities to donate blood. Mackayla continues to storm the UK and international poetry scene, headlining the famous feminist ‘She Grrrowls’ festival, the Million Women Rise March, ‘Wordplay and Flow’, ‘Hummingword’ and other prominent spoken word events. She also delivers poetry workshops and talks at conferences, secondary schools and universities across London.
Having be awarded with highly competitive funding from the Economic Social Research Council, Mackayla is now studying for a doctorate at Queen Mary, University of London. Her research utilises poetry and decolonial research methods to explore and platform disadvantaged women’s health experiences during the first lockdown of the CoVid-19 pandemic in March 2020.