The Owned Project
Arelia Johnson is a woman who knows and understands how pain promotes promise. At a young age, Arelia knew and understood that there was something, indescribable, pushing her to live, think, and breathe as a unique creature. Growing up in one of Houston's most economically challenged neighborhoods, Arelia quickly learned that every action results in consequences. She watched as family members and friends faced addiction, jail time, and sometimes death. Prior to graduating from high school, Ms. Johnson was awarded a full scholarship to a historically black university, but found herself married and pregnant before she turned twenty. She dropped out of college, got a divorce, and her life began spiraling out of control. In 2004, a year after the death of her great-grandmother, she decided to enroll at Texas Southern University. Not only did Arelia find her passion, she began to walk into her promise. In 2005, while a member of the Texas Southern University debate team, she won a major international title and started The B.L.O.OM. Foundation, Incorporated. The next year, she began competing as a slam poet in Houston, and was titled the Houston Grand Slam Champion. She released her first album in 2011, renamed The B.LO.O.M Foundation, The OWNED Project in 2013, self-published her first book, and is currently a high school English teacher. Her research interests are gender performance, African American female sexuality, queer theory, the creation of self-identity in relation to sex, and the social construction of beauty.