cleo wade courageous love tour

Cleo Wade Reflects on Her “Courageous Love” Tour

The poet and activist shares her photo diary from the empowering 12-city engagement.

By: Jodi Taylor

If you don’t yet follow poet, author, and activist extraordinaire Cleo Wade, please go and do so immediately. The New Orleans native has been blessing us with thought-provoking words for years now—including those found in her most recent book, Heart Talk—and just wrapped up a US tour that had her in 12 different cities over 43 days, giving talks to the public aimed at empowering individuals and communities to build together.

“The world feels like a very scary place right now, so I decided to devote my fall to traveling the country to create safe spaces to share tools on self-care,” Wade says. “I am so grateful Graduate Hotels wanted to partner with me and my business partner Jewels to create these spaces.”

We were lucky enough to digitally tag along for a few stops on Wade’s inspiring—and not to mention important and much-needed—Courageous Love Tour, and you can do the same by clicking through the below. And please take note that Wade started the tour just five days after having her appendix removed. Talk about dedication. One of the *many* reasons Wade has been referred to as “the millennial Oprah.”


“Ann Arbor was the first tour stop. It was the day before my birthday, and five days after I had to have an emergency surgery to remove my appendix. I had to sit for the entire talk.”

Photo: Nicole Haley

“Graduate Berkeley was one of the coolest buildings of all the hotels. You felt such a sense of history in it. We had the talk in the restaurant, and community time in the lobby. It was such a cozy vibe.”

Photo: Monica Vargas

“One of my favorite items from the Courageous Love Tour merch we made was the thank-you notes.”

Photo: Monica Vargas

“Richmond, VA, had incredible energy. [The hotel] was buzzing. I think I stayed up the latest on this stop.”

Photo: Ekow Bartels

“My best friend Kate made popcorn on every tour stop—she has a popcorn launching called Cheerie Lane. The rosemary garlic one she makes is my favorite snack food on the planet.”

Photo: Madison Althea Dotzour

“We worked really hard to get prints made in time for [the tour] because we felt people would really want something to remember the experience by.”

Photo: Monica Vargas

“Iowa City was the coldest stop, and for some reason, I decided to wear a mini dress. It is also one of my favorite states. My friends Kate and Eleanore both have family there, and I got to spend time with them while I was in town.”

Dress, Rosetta Getty

Photo: Dan Rolling

“I am so proud that we partnered with local organizations to register people to vote on each stop.”

Photo: Ekow Bartels

“I love signing [my] books on the tour so I can get one-on-one time with each person. I also think this might have been my favorite outfit on the tour.”

Sweater, Tibi; Skirt, Tibi

Photo: Monica Vargas

“My business partner brought her daughter Ryder to about half of the tour stops. She helped sell the tour prints (naturally, she was fabulous at it!). She was definitely our tour mascot. I miss her already.”

“I realized on this tour that I am a hand-talker.”

Dress, DVF

Photo: Amanda Maglione

Photo: Amanda Maglione

“Eudora and I had a very special moment. She was one of my youngest guests, but she taught me the most.”

Top, Maggie Marilyn; Skirt, Maggie Marilyn

Photo: Emily Dukes

“My mom came to Georgia. We had so much fun. She helped pop the popcorn.”

“I loved the restaurant in Wisconsin.”

Dress, Maggie Marilyn

“My favorite hotel room, the Camp Wandawega Suite was here. It had bunk beds!” Photo: Bob Coscarelli

“Minneapolis was the last stop. It was an emotional day for me; I had been feeling really overwhelmed by the news that week. I cried right before I walked into the room, actually.”

Suit, Tibi

Photo: Jeannine Marie