The #BeHeard17 FINALS Bout is Here! Reserve Your Tickets Now!

Through five preliminary bouts and two wild semifinal rounds, Minnesota poets between the ages of 13 and 19 told their stories, shared their art, and reaffirmed the importance of speaking up and speaking out, now more than ever. On March 25, at the Walker Art Center’s McGuire Theater, the final twelve poets will perform their most powerful work, competing for a chance to join the 2017 Be Heard Cohort and represent Minnesota at the 20th Annual Brave New Voices youth poetry slam festival this July in San Francisco, CA.

Organized by TruArtSpeaks, the Be Heard series is about celebrating—and respecting—youth voice. Regardless of who the final six poets are, “the points are not the point; the point is the poetry.” Poetry slams are competitions, but they’re also spaces in which young people can tell their stories and speak out on the issues that matter to them. For five years in a row, Minnesota youth have risen to that challenge, and Finals 2017 promises to be an unforgettable night of poetry, protest, and possibility.

Event Details:
Saturday, March 25 at the Walker Art Center’s McGuire Theater
6:30pm Doors, 7pm Show.
$7 for Students and Walker members, $10 for Adults
Reserve your tickets now!

Submit Now for Your Chance to Become the First Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate!

With support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (as part of its Knight Arts Challenge), TruArtSpeaks is excited to announce that submissions are now open for the Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate Program.

The contest is open to youth between the ages of 16 and 24 with a current Saint Paul address and a passion for poetry, community and social change. The contest’s winner will be mentored by award-winning poet Danez Smith for one full year, produce a chapbook of original work, and more.

Interested youth should submit three work samples in a pdf file via this form. 

Submissions* deadline is March 31, 2017, at 11:59pm.

From those written submissions, five judges will select ten poets (announced on April 24, 2017) to compete in a live performance of their work at Saint Paul’s Black Dog Café on May 19, 2017 at 7pm. The winner of that poetry slam will be the first Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate.

*Submissions do not need to be the same poems that you plan to compete with should you advance into the competition. Submissions should be the best representation of your work as a writer and engaged member of society.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation:
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once owned newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.

 

______________________________________________________________

About the Poet Mentor

Danez Smith is a Black, queer, poz writer & performer from St. Paul, MN. Danez is the author of Don’t Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press, 2017) and [insert] boy (YesYes Books, 2014), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry, and the John C. Zacharis Award from Ploughshares. Danez is also the author of two chapbooks, black movie (2015, Button Poetry), winner of the Button Poetry Prize, and hands on your knees (2013, Penmanship Books). They are the recipient of fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and is a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow. Danez’s work has been featured widely including in on Buzzfeed, Blavity, PBS NewsHour, and on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. They are a 2-time Individual World Poetry Slam finalist, 3-time Rustbelt Poetry Slam Champion, and a founding member of the Dark Noise Collective

 

Are You Ready for the #BeHeard17 Kick Off?!

Are You Ready for the #BeHeard17 Kick Off?!

This Saturday, at 7:00p at the Black Dog Cafe in Saint Paul, we launch into a season of heart wrenching, thoughtful and eloquent poetry by young Minnesotans – will you be there!

Through a series of eight poetry slams, Be Heard seeks to identify six youth poets who will both represent Minnesota at the annual international Brave New Voices youth poetry slam and festival in San Francisco in summer 2017, and serve as the #BeHeard17 cohort for the duration of the year, receiving mentorship in writing, performing, and arts leadership.

While the competition element of the series represents an incredible opportunity for the top six poets, the series itself is set up as a space for everyone—from youth slam veterans, to first-timers, to the audience itself—to build community through art, present counter-narratives, and call into being the world in which we want to live. As always, “the points are not the point; the point is the poetry!”

For poets interested in registering for #Beheard17, there is still time! Click here to sign up for an upcoming preliminary bout!

Find additional ways to get involved at www.TruArtSpeaks.org, and on social media: @TruArtSpeaks. The hashtag for the series is #BeHeard17. _____________________________________________________________

Mark Your Calendars: TruArtSpeaks presents “Rose Gold” written and performed by Zhalarina Sanders at 7:00p on Saturday February 18th, 2017 at Pillsbury House Theater!

Through the mediums monologue, poetry, and rap, Rose Gold recounts the tragedy of black motherhood and the glory of its daughters. This one-person play explores the relations of black women in light of traumas old and new. Bobbie- Marilyn is a mother. It is her most painful reality. Consumed with guilt, she is determined to correct a mistake from her past, realizing that there may be greater obstacles in the way of this than her own sister.

This special, one-night-only showing of “Rose Gold” is tied to TruArtSpeaks’ “Flip the Script!” conference the following day, where Sanders will be working with MN teen poets and guarantees a packed house! Reserve your tickets now! _____________________________________________________________

Are you a youth poet interested in simply sharpening your skills in a community filled with your peers? The #FTS3 is for you!
The 3rd annual Flip the Script! Writing & Performance conference is a space for young writers to zero in on craft and presentation. Sign up now! 

 

 

 

_____________________________________________________________

 #ReVerbOpenMic promises to be filled with high poetic energy in the coming weeks. Featuring poets, excess and singers like Alicia Steele, Donte Collins and BDotCroc with attendees such as yourself! This is going to be a great season!
See you at Golden Thyme Cafe from 6-8p every Thursday! _____________________________________________________________

 #ReVerbOpenMic is back in full effect for 2017 and brings to you a NEW HOST! Please welcome Armand McCoy, TruArtSpeaks and #BeHeard program alumnus to the open mic family!

Born in March of 98, Armand Fenelon McCoy is an 18 year old Poet based in Minnesota. Growing up in the midway area of Saint Paul, he attended French Immersion for 7 years, where his first writings emerged as rhyming poems and fast paced short stories. Having always been interested in the arts, Armand picked up the violin in elementary school, played for 3 few years, then switched to the piano, and has been practicing Blues and Jazz piano since. Throughout his life,  he’s expanded his writing style to the realms of hip/hop lyrics and raps, mythopoeic works, prose, slam, and many other established forms of poetry. Armand ventured into the local poetry scene in 2012 when he started performing at open mics in the twin cities. He became involved with TruArtSpeaks through the Soul Sounds Open Mic, (Now the Re-Verb Open Mic) and was drawn to their programs, including their slam series.

He competed in the 2015 Be Heard MN Poetry Slam Series and made a team, that went on to represent Minnesota at the Brave New Voices National Poetry Festival, which took place in Atlanta GA that year. Minnesota placed 3rd at Semi-Finals, and Armand was even selected to perform a piece on the finals stage as the sacrificial poet of the night. He has since started a year long internship with TruArtSpeaks, and looks forward to participating in their slam series again this January. Other plans for the near future involve releasing a chapbook, a mixtape, and staying active in the streets. _____________________________________________________________

***

As always, connect with us on social media via @truartspeaks and we will see you at an event!

Give the Gift of Poetry: Donate, Volunteer and Be Heard!

Be the Reason this Season of Be Heard Impacts Youth Across the State of MN: Donate Now

Every ending brings about a new beginning and the close of the year is no different. As we reflect on the significant social, political and arts based events of 2016 we make a major pivot towards one of the most inspiring events in our community, the Be Heard MN youth poetry slam series. Young people throughout the sate are sharpening their pencils, typing long into the evening and rehearsing diligently for the upcoming series in hopes to join the cohort of youth representing MN as the #BeHeard17 cohort.
 
Last but not least, not only did we expand our reach to include a preliminary bout in Duluth, MN, we have significantly restructured the program; six brilliant young writers will still attend Brave New Voices as representatives of the larger youth poetry community in MN while simultaneously serving as ambassadors in our local community under the mentorship of Khary Jackson and Kyra Calvert and the TruArtSpeaks team through the end of 2017. 
______________________________________________________________

Meet the Coaches! 

Kyra Crawford Calvert is a silver-tongued time traveler who catalogs the lessons of her navigation through script[ure]. Her soul-mission is to water the Seed of Divinity ever present in herself and her fellows, especially those with skin from crimson to midnight. Kyra is a 2016 Givens Foundation for African American Literature Writers’ Fellow and received the VERVE Grant for Spoken Word Poets via Intermedia Arts in 2014. Urban Griots nominated her ‘Best New Spoken Word Artist of the Year’ in 2008, and her essay work is featured in Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota. She also performs as DJ Black Fish Gold and can be heard on Desdamona’s latest record No Man’s Land.

Khary Jackson is a performance poet, playwright, dancer and musician.  A Detroit native, he currently resides in the Twin Cities where he serves as a teaching artist and writer.  He is a Cave Canem Fellow, and has further reasons to love black people.  He has written 12 full length plays, one of which (Water) was produced in 2009 at Ink and Pulp Theatre in Chicago.  He has been a recipient of several grants, including the 2010 Artist Initiative Grant for poetry from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the 2009 VERVE Spoken Word Grant from Intermedia Arts, and the Many Voices Residency from the Playwrights’ Center, in 2005-06 and 2007-08.  As a performance poet, he has enjoyed great success in national competition, ranking nationally in 2007, 2008 and 2009, as well as winning the National Poetry Slam with the St Paul team in 2009 and 2010.  But few of us really care about all that.  He’s a little weird, but rest assured, there’s a method to the way he stares into your house. ______________________________________________________________

Click here to make a tax deductible donation in support of #BeHeard17 and TruArtSpeaks ______________________________________________________________

Write to Be Heard is Happening Right Now!!! Be sure to stop by and warm your pens before the first preliminary bout. The internet phenom Guante will be leading each workshop, don’t miss your opportunity to learn from one of the greatest writers of our time!

The 3rd Annual Flip the Script Conference is just around the corner as well;Register Here!

Interested in volunteering e-mail info@truartspeaks.org

______________________________________________________________

Get Your #BeHeard17 Swag!

Order your swag early and get it for a reduced rate!

Hoodies: $35.00

T-Shirt: $15.00

Purchase Here
______________________________________________________________

Remember, #ReVerbOpenMic is on break until January 5th, 2017. See you all in the New Year!

 

It is Time to Be Heard – Register Now for the 5th Annual MN Youth Poetry Slam Series!

3b946b1d-70c1-43ba-8f7c-759bf3d9b83aRegistration for the 5th Annual Be Heard MN Youth Poetry Slam Series is Now Open!

For the past five years, TruArtSpeaks’ Be Heard MN Youth Poetry Slam Series has provided a platform for hundreds of youth poets to tell their stories and speak their truths to big, energetic audiences. As the country—and the state—head into uncertain times, it is more important than ever to hear these stories and listen to these perspectives.

Through a series of eight poetry slams, Be Heard seeks to identify six youth poets who will both represent Minnesota at the annual international Brave New Voices youth poetry slam and festival in San Francisco in summer 2017, and serve as the #BeHeard17 cohort for the duration of the year, receiving mentorship in writing, performing, and arts leadership.

While the competition element of the series represents an incredible opportunity for the top six poets, the series itself is set up as a space for everyone—from youth slam veterans, to first-timers, to the audience itself—to build community through art, present counter-narratives, and call into being the world in which we want to live.

The full schedule is below; interested poets (who must be between 13 and 19 years old, and have a Minnesota address) can register at www.TruArtSpeaks.org. All bouts begin at 7pm and are open to the public.

  • Preliminary bouts:
    • January 14 at the Black Dog Café in Saint Paul
    • January 21 at the American Indian Community Housing Organization in Duluth
    • January 28 at the SteppingStone Theater in Saint Paul
    • February 4 at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis
    • February 11 at the New Century Theater (Hennepin County Theater Trust) in Minneapolis
  • Semifinal bouts:
    • March 4 at Macalester College’s Kagin Commons Hill Ballroom in Saint Paul
    • March 11 at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis
  • Finals:
    • March 25 at the Walker Art Center’s McGuire Theater in Minneapolis

To register for the slam, click here. For additional inquiries, please contact info@TruArtSpeaks.org


Poets, prepare your pen and person for 912x912-write-to-be-heard-v2-tas-01#BeHeard17 with this series of FREE writing & performance centered workshops at the Minneapolis Central Library. This is your chance to work on concrete description, imagery, writing for social change, writing for performance, form, device and more with some of the Twin Cities’ most recognized slam poets!

No registration or sign up required. Just save the date, show up and be ready to BUST!


912x912-flip-the-script-digital-flyer-v2-tasSave the Date/Register Now: Flip the Script! is an annual writing and performance conference where poets between the ages of 13 and 19 engage with professional artists and arts organizers through workshops, panel discussions, community-building, and more. Presented by TruArtSpeaks, and co-sponsored by the Loft Literary Center, the conference’s third installment will be held on Sunday, February 19, 2017.

#FTS3 will feature leading voices in the national spoken word movement, including Danez Smith, Zhalarina Sanders, Donte Collins, Ed Bok Lee, Andrea Jenkins, Ollie Schminkey, R. Vincent Moniz Jr., Jake Virden, and Khary Jackson, as well as dozens of youth poets sharing their stories and sharpening each other’s skills. Register here!


Interested in supporting MN youth poets img_8962during #BeHeard17 by serving as a volunteer during one of the events? Email info@truartspeaks.org with your availability and join us as we power youth voice in Minnesota!

Judges, Time Keepers, Greeters and more are needed to make this series vibrant each year and we welcome you all to the cypher! Thank you in advance for helping us power the slam series – can’t wait to hear from each of you!


#ReVerbOpenMic is back up and running this week with a writing workshop to kick things off at Golden Thyme Cafe in Saint Paul! Be sure to stop by and share your creative genius with us before the end of 2016!


Our work would not be possible without the support of generous and committed arts, social justice and youth advocates like yourself. Thank you for all you do to support this movement. To continue support our work, #BeHeard17, #FTS3, or more, click here.


Be sure to stay connected with us via social media – @truartspeaks – on all platforms; See you all soon!

Now, More Than Ever, is the Time to Be Heard

be-heard-svtd-final-tasGet Ready: It is Time to Be Heard

Sharpen your swords and spread the word. The Be Heard MN youth poetry slam series has not only expanding geographically, but conceptually, and it kicks off this January. The 5th annual Be Heard series is bringing in two major changes:

  • A Duluth area preliminary bout
  • Not only will the six poets that advance from the final bout represent MN at Brave New Voices in San Francisco summer 2017, they will serve as the #BeHeard17 cohort for the duration of the year being mentored in writing, performance and arts leadership

Registration opens on December 1st, 2016 – slots fill quickly – so register fast. Rules, FAQs and additional info can be found on our website.

So, get ready, mark your calendars, tell a friend, share the link, form a writing circle and write a poem. If you are a young person between the ages of 13-19 this is your opportunity to tell your story. It is your opportunity to be heard.


Get ready to rip the mic; join us for the Write to 5x7-write-to-be-heard-flyer-back-v1-tasBe Heard writing and performance workshops over winter break.

Write to Be Heard is a free spoken word workshop series for any young poets, MCs, or writers looking to refine their craft and build with other artists. Open to youth between the ages of 13 and 19, this five-part workshop will offer tips, tools, and tactics related to turning ideas into poems, crafting memorable imagery, improving performance technique, and more. Whether you’re new to spoken word and just looking to dive in, or you’re an experienced writer looking to be challenged, Write to Be Heard will be a space for you to sharpen your skills and have some fun.

December 19 – December 23 (M-F) at the Minneapolis Central Library
Conference Room N-402

2-4pm


img_8545We look forward to seeing and speaking to you all this evening at the Guthrie Theater as we discuss the struggle for civil rights, American History and the future as told through the lens of Washburn High School’s Black Voices students and their eloquent response to Parchman Hour.

 


As you seek community, support, a space to listen and be reverb-end-of-2016-web-flierheard be sure to count #ReVerbOpenMic as a reoccurring event FOR YOU. We would love to see you.

Golden Thyme Cafe in Saint Paul every Thursday from 6-8p hosted by Desdamona.

Congratulations & Thank You!

HUGE THANK YOU to everyone that came out to Page. Stage. Engage. at the University of Minnesota last Friday. We appreciated you joining us in conversation and hope we continue to speak courageously with one another in an effort to understand and relate. DJ Just Nine, Amani Ward, Speakers of the Sun, Speak Poetry, Al Taw’am, Guante, and Tish Jones, you all were inspiring, thank you.

Check out the visual recap of the night with photos from Uche Iroegbu Photographic below!

Congratulations to Lizzie Esposito on winning the Bookmark Poetry contest! Look for Lizzie’s work at all upcoming events!


TruArtSpeaks Partners with the Guthrie Theater, the U of M + More!

img_8545

TruArtSpeaks and Guthrie Theater partner to present
Stop Policing My Person

Students respond to Guthrie’s The Parchman Hour in a free, open mic style event.

November 11 at 7 p.m. in the Dowling Studio

(Minneapolis/St. Paul)— TruArtSpeaks, in partnership with the Guthrie Theater, today announced that it will present Stop Policing My Person, an open mic style event featuring performances by Washburn High School students with support from TruArtSpeaks mentors and alumni on Friday, November 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Guthrie’s Dowling Studio. The performance is the students’ response to The Parchman Hour, and will be followed by a discussion with the audience. Tickets are free and may be reserved through the Guthrie Box Office at 612.377.2224, toll-free 877.44.STAGE, and online at www.guthrietheater.org. Due to limited capacity, there is a six ticket limit per person.

Stop Policing My Person marks a first-time partnership between the Guthrie Theater and TruArtSpeaks, a non-profit arts organization dedicated to cultivating literacy, leadership and social justice through the study and application of Spoken Word and Hip Hop culture. Students enrolled in Black Voices, an English course centered on Black Literature and Theory at Minneapolis’ Washburn High School – powered by TruArtSpeaks – will see a performance of the The Parchman Hour and create an open mic style response to the show. Mike Wiley’s The Parchman Hour, directed by Patricia McGregor, is inspired by the songs and stories of the 1961 Freedom Riders who boarded buses headed into the Deep South to battle discrimination.

With the support of DJ Just Nine and other TruArtSpeaks artists, Black Voices students will perform original spoken word poems responding to the content of the play while incorporating course content, their lived experience, and current events. The Twin Cities community is invited to hear the perspective of these future leaders and participate in a discussion.

TruArtSpeaks is a non-profit arts organization, founded in 2007, dedicated to cultivating literacy, leadership and social justice through the study and application of Spoken Word and Hip Hop culture. TruArtSpeaks exists to counteract the dominant narrative by centering voices of those most often rendered invisible. It is committed to honoring and highlighting youth voice, ensuring that there is a space for young people in conversations that will shape the future.

The Guthrie Theater (Joseph Haj, Artistic Director) was founded by Sir Tyrone Guthrie in 1963 and is an American center for theater performance, production, education and professional training, dedicated to producing the great works of dramatic literature and to cultivating the next generation of theater artists. Under the leadership of Haj, the Guthrie produces a mix of classic and contemporary plays on three stages, and continues to set a national standard for excellence in theatrical production and performance. In 2006, the Guthrie opened its new home on the banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, the Guthrie Theater houses three state-of-the-art stages, production facilities, classrooms, full-service restaurants and dramatic public lobbies. www.guthrietheater.org


An evening of spoken word exploringimg_8503 intersections of art, activism, and social justice featuring Tish Jones, Guante, Speakers of the Sun, UMN SPEAK Poetry, and DJ Just Nine.

Tish Jones is a poet, UMN graduate, and the Executive Director of TruArtSpeaks, a Twin Cities-based nonprofit organization committed to cultivating literacy, leadership, and social justice through the study and application of spoken word and Hip Hop culture.

Guante is a hip hop artist, two-time National Poetry Slam champion, activist and educator (and also a UMN graduate). His work has appeared everywhere from the United Nations, to Welcome to Night Vale, to Upworthy, and beyond, and this event will be the official release party for his brand new, debut book, A Love Song, A Death Rattle, A Battle Cry.

Tish and Guante will be joined by Asian-American spoken word collective Speakers of the Sun, members of the UMN’s own SPEAK Poetry group, and DJ Just Nine (of ZuluZuluu and more), as well as a special surprise guest or two.

FREE and open to all!
Doors open at 7:30pm


reverb-end-of-2016-web-flier#ReVerbOpenMic continues this Thursday with a focus on Simile and a pivot towards health, wellness and tools to assist participants in the upcoming Be Heard MN youth poetry slam series. Hope to see you there and THANK YOU to everyone that continues to support this space!

Special Alert: Free Writing Workshop on November 3rd, 2016
Facilitated by the Million Artist Movement
Powered by TruArtSpeaks
On Healing, Arts and Community
4:30-5:30p at Golden Thyme Cafe


120x35-donate-red-button-tas


Connect with us via social media to stay abreast of events, contests, and other TruArtSpeaks opportunities!

TruArtSpeaks is a KnightArts Challenge Recipient, #10for10 + More!

dn3_7337

TRUARTSPEAKS TO LAUNCH SAINT PAUL YOUTH POET LAUREATE PROGRAM
Youth poet will model civic engagement through performances, education, and moreWith support in the form of a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (as part of its KnightArts Challenge), TruArtSpeaks is excited to announce the launch of the Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate Program.

Serving youth between the ages of 16 and 24 with a current Saint Paul address, TruArtSpeaks will present a citywide spoken word competition to identify one poet to serve as the youth poet laureate of Saint Paul for one year. This young artist will receive an educational scholarship, opportunities to perform at city and community events, and mentorship from nationally-renowned artists on the TruArtSpeaks roster.

While the youth poet laureate honor can only be awarded to one poet each year, the program aims to engage many more. In keeping with the KnightArts Challenge’s mission to fund “ideas that engage and enrich St. Paul through the arts,” the Saint Paul youth poet laureate program is meant to excite, energize, and encourage young writers and performers, while also ensuring that the eventual winner can serve as a catalyst and inspiration for the next generation of youth speaking truth to power.

“Young people have so much knowledge and expertise already,” says Tish Jones, Executive Director of TruArtSpeaks (and a former “youth poet” herself). “This program will be about honoring that, while also identifying one of these dynamic young artists to really model what it means to be a leader in both an artistic sense and a broader, community-focused sense.”

“It’s clear that spoken word reigns in St. Paul,” Victoria Rogers, VP/Arts at Knight Foundation, said after TruArtSpeaks’ Tish Jones performed at the arts challenge awards event. A perfect sentiment to begin our journey of honoring poetry in Saint Paul.

Further updates and information will be posted at www.TruArtSpeaks.org.

 

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once owned newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.


img_8053A Love Song, A Death Rattle, a Battle Cry | Book Release Event
Don’t miss your opportunity to experience this critical contribution to the literary community in MN. Not only is this Guante’s release event, it will also serve as an open mic for the community and a space to really direct spoken word, performance and the role of art in social transformation. SAVE THE DATE!


#ReVerbOpenMicreverb-end-of-2016-web-flier
We are making a major pivot towards the #BeHeard season and #ReVerbOpenMic is the place to be if you want to prepare yourself for the upcoming competition. Various themes, workshops and featured artists are all here to help prepare you for the next season! For those of you not competing, this is the perfect space to hone in on your craft! Stop by, we are here every Thursday from 6-8p!


img_8381Huge Thanks to the #10for10 Contributors!
We greatly appreciate the love and support from our beloved community of family friends. The donations that you made will drive the work forward in very meaningful ways! Your donation will support the development of a crew of emerging arts leaders, a community open mic space and the creation and publication of new works from area youth; thank you!


As always, be sure to follow us on social media to stay up to date with all things youth, poetry, Hip Hop and TruArtSpeaks!

Meet the 2016-2017 Youth Advisory Board Members!

yab-16-17-announcement

These are the young people powering the movement into the future as the  2016-2107 Youth Advisory Board of TruArtSpeaks and we couldn’t be more thrilled to work with such a dedicated group of individuals! Thank you to all YAB applicants and PLEASE, take some time to learn more about these masterful writers and readers below!


img_3921Fatima Camara is a 20 year old spoken word artist from Minneapolis, MN. She has been the Be Heard Program Associate for the Be Heard 2015 and 2016 team. And was a competing poet the two previous years. She at times host the Re-Verb Open mic at the Golden Thyme cafe, which was named “Best Open Mic” by CITYPAGES in 2015.

Fatima is a Southwest High School graduate, and that is where she began taking her spoken word seriously. Having been encouraged by her AVID teacher, Fatima has competed in slams and frequented many twin cities open mics. She has been fortunate enough to share stages with poets like Danez Smith, Guante, Sierra DeMulder, and more.

Currently a student at Minneapolis Community and Technical college, Fatima hopes to publish her first book in the next 3 years, and finish school to become an educator in the Minneapolis Public Schools District.

Samoa the Poet experienced his first open img_5589mic at Re-Verb Open Mic one winter Thursday. As a poet and emcee he aims to share his influence with others through art and the knowledge he has gained through his experience. Born and raised in Saint Paul, Samoa is excited for the opportunity to continue giving back to the Twin Cities community with TruArtSpeaks.


img_5655
Duncan Slagle is a performer and poet living in Minneapolis. He was a member of both the 2015 & 2016 Be Heard MN Poetry Slam Team that represented the state of Minnesota at Brave New Voices and performed during the 2016 Grand Slam Finals at the Kennedy Center. In 2015, he was announced as a winner in the YoungArts Foundation’s inaugural Spoken Word Poetry Writing & Performance category.

#10for10 Continues: A Powerful TruArtSpeaks Alumnus Testimony

My Storylucien10for10

Before I met the people associated with TruArtSpeaks and the people at BNV, I was just another kid writing poems in my notebook in my room. My journey with TruArtSpeaks began in 2013 when I first entered the Be Heard MN youth poetry slam competition. I was only 15 at the time, and couldn’t believe it when I was selected as one of the six youth poets to represent Minnesota at the international Brave New Voices (BNV) youth poetry slam and festival.

As the youngest member on the team, I took the opportunity to connect with other phenomenal artists, take in the wisdom given by mentors in the community, and work to perfect my craft. One of the poems I had written during the 2013­2014 slam season was actually picked up by Jet Magazine, as well as praised by Janis Lane­Ewart and aired on KFAI. TruArtSpeaks, including staff and teaching artists like Tish Jones, Keno Evol, Guante, Khary Jackson, and Desdamona, plus the teammates with whom I still have close relationships, are the people who taught me the power in my words. They taught me what it was to be a poet off the page. They taught me what it meant to truly embody my feelings and emotions and portray those things on stage.

One of the hardest moments in my life was the following season when I was told there was a polyp growing on my vocal chord. At that point in my life, it was clear that I was going to need vocal surgery, and doctors weren’t sure if I would be able to compete for BNV 2015. Luckily for me, I had an unbelievable support system from my TruArtSpeaks family, my parents, my girlfriend, and my best friends from the previous year. Amazingly, I came out of surgery and recovered within a few weeks in time to compete for the 2015 preliminaries. If anything, I came back stronger, wiser, and in at a much higher comfort level than I had been at before. I went on to make the team for the second year in a row, compete in Philadelphia, and help my team make semifinals.

Spoken word has and always will be a vent for me, but more importantly it has opened the doors to various new opportunities, including my now thriving Hip­Hop career. The skill set I have been able to bring to Hip Hop is rooted in the things I took from TruArtSpeaks and spoken word. One of the best career decisions I made (with help from Tish and my parents) was to apply to the University of Wisconsin Madison’s “First Wave” program. First Wave is one of the only programs in the world that offers full tuition scholarships to Hip­Hop students and I know it’s where I need to be. With even more love and support from my TruArtSpeaks family, and parents, and friends, I have been accepted into the First Wave Program, where I plan to remain until 2019. Words cannot explain the love, the gratitude, or the respect I have for Tish Jones and all the other mentors in my life that have helped me get to where I am today. Part of who I am will always be because of the unforgettable journey I had and will continue to have with TruArtSpeaks.

Lucien Parker

%d bloggers like this: