The 2017 Be Heard Send Off

Every year, the final six poets from the Be Heard series engage in an intense process of writing, collaborating, and rehearsing, from April until July. The Send Off is an opportunity for their supporters, peers, and fans to witness the product of their work live, before the team heads off to Brave New Voices to represent MN. The show also features special guest poets, dancers, refreshments, and more!

This year’s sendoff will take place at the historic Capri Theater in Minneapolis, on Saturday, June 24. 7pm. $10 Adults, $7 Students. Reserve your tickets now!

May 19, 2017: The Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate Slam

Friday, May 19, 2017 at the Black Dog Cafe in Saint Paul: Come hear from some of the boldest voices in the city as our 10 finalists compete to become the first ever Youth Poet Laureate of Saint Paul!

Congratulations to Henry Benjamin, Samoa the Poet, Chavah Gabrielle, Armand McCoy, Cynthia Zapata, Donte Collins, Talia Young, Karinna Gerhardt, Lindsay Schaefer, and Xavier Columbus!

Background: This year, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (as part of its KnightArts Challenge), TruArtSpeaks launched the inaugural Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate program. The program seeks to identify one Saint Paul poet between the ages of 16 and 24 to serve as the Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate for a year. That young artist will receive mentorship from nationally-renowned poet (and Saint Paul native) Danez Smith, engage in performances and civic engagement opportunities throughout the year, and inspire other young people to tell their stories, raise their voices, and be heard. Read more here.

April 15, 2017: THE ENDOWMENT

THE ENDOWMENT is a celebration of Hip Hop culture and the spirit of resistance that drives it. Featuring some of the most dynamic, boundary-pushing performers in the Twin Cities hip hop scene, as well as dancers, poets, and the legendary DJ Kool Akiem on the wheels of steel, the intergenerational lineup is based around the theme of “what we inherit, we pass on.” In that spirit, the show is also a fundraiser for Twin Cities organization TruArtSpeaks, as well as the birthday celebration of the organization’s founder, Tish Jones.

April 15, 2017 at Icehouse in Minneapolis | 21+ | Doors at 10:30pm
Tickets are available now ($10 in advance, $15 at the door)

MEET THE ARTISTS:

I SELF DEVINE: Chaka Mkali, also known as I Self Devine, is a musician, Mc, community organizer, racial justice trainer, graffiti artist, muralist, program coordinator and director of organizing and community building at Hope Community Center in Minneapolis. As an Mc, I Self is known as an integral part of the Atlanta and Twin Cities underground Hip Hop community as ½ of the duo Micranots, ½ of Semi Official, ¼ of the Dynospectrum, and as a soloist. Over the last decade I Self has released over 10 albums of political conscious socially aware music capable of moving the crowd as well as uplift the spirit and sustain the movement.

DEM ATLAS: Since signing to indie heavyweight Rhymesayers Entertainment in late 2013, deM atlaS hasn’t wasted any time in spreading his brand of Hip-Hop music across the world. Steadily on the road since his signing, he was able to find the time to release his unofficial debut, DWNR, in late 2014.

BDOTCROC: Brynne Crockett, also known as BdotCroc, has been rapping since the age of eight years old. She was born and raised in North Minneapolis, Minnesota. Bdot started her official music career in 2008 after she graduated high school by recording and writing music and then performing at any venue granted to her. Fans and supporters would say “She’s not dope for a FEMALE MC, she’s a DOPE MC.”

GUANTE: Guante is an MC, two-time National Poetry Slam champion, activist and educator based in Minneapolis. His work has been featured on Upworthy, Welcome to Night Vale, Everyday Feminism, the Huffington Post, and beyond, garnering over ten million views online. Guante has also performed live at the United Nations, as well as countless colleges, universities, and conferences, where he uses art as an entry point into deeper conversations about identity, power, empathy, and resistance.

CRESCENT MOON W/ ANDREW BRODER: Crescent Moon (of Kill the Vultures, Mixed Blood Majority, Oddjobs) teams up with Andrew Broder (of Fog, The Cloak Ox) to make music as dark, challenging, and furious as the times in which we live.

K.RAYDIO: No dashes or spaces. Soul based. Hip hop embraced. Writer and vocalist raised in Minneapolis, MN. Defying convention since 1988.

DJ KOOL AKIEM: From underground mixtapes in the early nineties and the various Micranots releases, to 2006’s Mixtape Deluxe, DJ Kool Akiem formerly of the Micranots and DJ for MF DOOM has been providing a steady diet of funk to the public for years now. Lacing ornate and eclectic samples over rugged drum hits and 808 kicks, Kool Akiem’s productions have a distinct feeling that provide just the right amount of stimulation not to take attention away from the lyrics of his various collaborators. While most producers stick to a time-tested formula, Kool Ak constantly keeps it fresh by reinventing his production style without losing the urgent bump that folks have grown to expect from his tracks.

FEATURING DANCE CREWS MN REAL AND DEADPOOL!

AND HOSTED BY DANEZ SMITH

That’s a one-of-a-kind lineup, all for a great cause. We can’t wait to see you there!

Register Now for the 3rd Annual Flip the Script! Youth Writing and Performance Conference

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 held at 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!

Also, don’t forget about the #FTS3 pre-celebration: a one-night-only production of Zhalarina Sanders’ ROSE GOLD at the Pillsbury House Theatre in Minneapolis on Saturday, February 18, 2017, at 7pm. 

A few of the people you’ll meet at #FTS3 (L-R in the image), plus workshop descriptions:

Andrea Jenkins is an artist-activist, and award-winning poet and writer. Andrea has been awarded fellowships from the Bush Foundation, Intermedia Arts, and the Playwrights Center and has won writing and performance grants and scholarships from the Givens Foundation, Intermedia Arts, The Loft, the Napa Valley Writers Conference, and Pillsbury House Theater. Andrea is the co-curator of Queer Voices at Intermedia Arts, the longest-running series of its kind in the nation, and currently works collecting oral histories from hundreds of people in the Upper Midwest transgender community as an Oral Historian in the Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies.

Ed Bok Lee is the author of two poetry collections, Real Karaoke People (New Rivers Press), a winner of the PEN/Open Book Award and Asian American Literary Award (Members’ Choice) in 2006, and Whorled (Coffee House Press), a winner of the Minnesota Book Award and American Book Award in 2012. Lee grew up in South Korea, North Dakota and Minnesota. As a translator, most recently his work features the poetry of Kim Ki Taek (in Korean Literature Now, Winter 2017). Website.

Donte Collins is a poet. They are the author of Autopsy (2017) and winner of the 2016 Most Promising Young Poet Award from the Academy of American Poets. Collins is the recipient of the 2016 Mitchell Prize in Poetry and is currently a junior at Augsburg College. They are an alum of TruArtSpeaks, a non-profit arts organization based out of the Twin Cities cultivating literacy, leadership and social justice through the study & application of Hip Hop culture.

Ollie Schminkey is a white, non-binary transgender poet/musician/artist.  They facilitate, direct, and host many organizations, including a weekly writing workshop called Well-Placed Commas.  They have also represented the Twin Cities in numerous national poetry competitions, and they are the proud author of their second chapbook, You Are Sad and That Sucks a Lot.  You can find them touring nationally or in print in a bunch of cool lit mags.  Feel free to check them out on their website, or on Button Poetry. 

  • Ollie’s Workshop: Telling Truth: A Poetry Workshop- All levels of writers are welcome to join us in a writing workshop where we will explore nuanced and effective ways to tell your story.  How do you write part of your truth for an audience that might be very different from you (without sacrificing yourself in the process)? How do you write your truth for the people who already know you best?   This is a casual, non-judgmental environment– Bring writing materials, a good attitude, and your friends!

Zhalarina Sanders is a rapper/actress/producer from Tampa, FL who serves as co-founder and Executive Director of The JVN Project, an organization that seeks to use Hip-Hop as a tool of empowerment, and is a graduate student of counseling psychology at UW-Madison. She has had the opportunity to travel and be awarded for her work in theatre and music, appearing on stages such as Broadway in New York and the Queen Elizabeth theatre in London, England. Currently, Zhalarina splits her time between the completion of her first rap album, Again, and working toward a tour of her one-person Hip-Hop theatre piece, Rose Gold.

  • Zhalarina’s Workshop: Rose Gold: Mental Health and Performance Art: The purpose of this workshop is to address the psychosocial experiences of performance artists. We will be debunking myths and misconceptions about artist mental health and focusing on how to accomplish psychological wellbeing through, by, and for the stage. 

Jake Virden is a community organizer, emcee, and practitioner of popular education from NE Minneapolis. Jake has been an active performer and curator in the Twin Cities Hip-Hop community for almost a decade, putting in work on the stage  from Soundset to the Re-Verb Open Mic. In  2016, Jacob released an EP titled The Longest Bridge in collaboration with TC luminary Toki Wright. Check out more music with OFF-10 partners Scoundrel Spence, and Ryan B.U.G.S. Virden here. Additionally, Jake is currently the lead organizer for the Parks and Power campaign, based at Hope Community in South Minneapolis. Parks and Power is a grassroots effort to transform the Minneapolis Park Board and move race conscious public policy at the local level. Check out Parks and Power on twitter at @parksandpower.

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.

  • Danez’s workshop: Finding Honey in the Rock – A Workshop of Obsession: What can’t you shake? What constantly comes back to you? What never leaves? In this workshop, we will talk about the obsessions that capture us for a season and obsessions that follow us for a lifetime. Designed for experienced and new writers alike, this workshop ask us to dive deeper into ourselves and find new language and new knowledge in the topics that we return to in our writing and our personal journeys. This workshop offers tools useful for overcoming writer’s block, for building or refining a manuscript or project, & for finding new entrances into our own work.

R. Vincent Moniz Jr.: An active force in the Twin Cities artistic community, R. Vincent Moniz, Jr. has received numerous literary awards and fellowships for his writing and live performances, most recently Vincent became a fiscal year 2017 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. At the E. Donald Two Rivers memorial SLAM, Moniz became the current and reigning Individual World Poetry SLAM’s Indigenous SLAM Champion. He has performed his poetry all over the Twin Cities and has recently started accepting invites internationally. A Nu’Eta tribal member, he is an enrolled citizen of the Three Affiliated Tribes located within North Dakota on the Ft. Berthold Indian Reservation. Vincent was raised in the Phillips neighborhood of South Minneapolis and you can find his poems all over the neighborhood. Look for Vincent’s collection of poems out of MSU Press in 2017 and find videos of his live performances at Redoubted.com. Booking requests can be sent to Vincent@redoubted.com.

Khary Jackson is a poet, playwright, dancer and musician. He is an alumnus of Cave Canem, the esteemed writing fellowship for black writers. He has written 12 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 2016 McKnight Artist Fellowship in Writing, the Minnesota State Arts Board’s 2012 Cultural Community Partnership Grant and 2010 Artist Initiative Grant for Poetry, as well as the 2009 VERVE Spoken Word Grant from Intermedia Arts. His first poetry book, Any Psalm You Want, was published with Write Bloody Publishing in the spring of 2013.

  • Khary’s Workshop: Participants will actively engage with their writing both vocally and physically, moving beyond the presentational style and towards a more theatrical and movement based approach. They will also collaborate with fellow poets to create mini performances, to experience the creative work that goes into the collaborative pieces that they will create if they make the team. By the end of the workshop participants will leave with some additional ideas for how poems can be conceived and performed.

AND MORE! Aside from all of these brilliant artists, Flip the Script! is about young poets building with one another. This is a non-competitive space for everyone to have fun, sharpen their skills, and build community through art. Once again, poets between 13-19 years old can register here, for free.

A few images from last year’s conference:

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Get Your #BeHeard17 Swag NOW!!!

Lean into #BeHeard17 early with official swag items! Order them NOW at a discounted price just in time for the first preliminary bout at the Black Dog Cafe in Saint Paul on January 14th, 2017! All swag items will be on sale for full price once the series begins. Get yours early!

Available in either red or white:

Advanced Hoodie: $35.00

Advanced T-Shirt: $15.00

 

This December: Free Writing & Performance Workshops for Teens!

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As #BeHeard17 approaches, TruArtSpeaks is offering a free workshop series for young poets looking to prepare.

Write to Be Heard is a spoken word workshop series for any young (13-19 years old) poets, MCs, or writers looking to refine their craft and build with other artists. Whether you’re a poetry slam vet wanting critical feedback on your newest piece, or someone who is just getting started in the world of spoken word, this opportunity is for you.

All workshops are free, and run from 4-6pm (note: Friday’s workshop will end at 5pm due to library building hours)

Themes/Topics:

  • Monday: Idea generation, perspective and truth-telling
  • Tuesday: Turning ideas into poems through the use of concrete language and specificity
  • Wednesday: Refining our imagery/ideas and challenging both ourselves and our audiences
  • Thursday: Revision: critical questions to ask
  • Friday: Performance tips, tools, and tactics

We hope to see you there! Feel free to email info@TruArtSpeaks.org with any questions.

Submissions Open: Bookmark & Magnetic Poetry Contests!

#Power #Youth #Voice with TruArtSpeaks by submitting to our Bookmark and Magnetic Poetry contests!

We are looking for 50 word excerpts from 5 poems to print on a limited edition of TruArtSpeaks bookmarks. We welcome submissions from everyone in the TruArtSpeaks network. The winners of this contest will receive five bookmarks and a $50 honorarium! Hurry – Submissions close on October 3rd, 2016 at 5:00p – winners will be announced on October 31st, 2016.

We are looking for one set of 50 words related to the mission, vision, arts and culture focus of TruArtSpeaks to transform into a set of magnetic poetry to share with the community. The winner of this contest will win five sets of the magnetic poetry collection and a $100 honorarium! We welcome submissions from everyone in the TruArtSpeaks network. HurrySubmissions close on October 3rd, 2016 at 5:00p – winners will be announced on October 31st, 2016.

Youth Advisory Board Applications

YAB App Call

Comprised of young leaders within the TruArtSpeaks network, the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) consists of six members between the ages of 16-24 years old. The YAB advises the leadership for all youth programs, organizes and plans events, and promotes the organization and its vision. Because TruArtSpeaks is an organization founded on principles of shared power and youth voice, the YAB is an essential component of the work that we do, providing a clear pathway from audience to participant to organizer to leader.

The Youth Advisory Board meets twice monthly with a member of the leadership committee present as support staff. The YAB term runs from October 2016 to July 2017. At the close of the year, each member is given a stipend of $1,000.00 for their investment in the growth of TruArtSpeaks. We ask that each member of YAB commit to serving the organization for 12hours every two weeks.

By interweaving professional development opportunities into the YAB sessions, members will have a consistent space to develop their skills as organizers and leaders of an emerging non-profit and community stakeholders. Members can maintain their seat until they exceed the age limitations; there is no maximum number of terms associated with YAB membership.

Youth Advisory Board Positions:

  • Be Heard – Join the team that helps send a delegation of youth poets to the annual Brave New Voices youth poetry slam festival
  • #ReVerbOpenMic – Join the team that powers one of the state’s most impactful community spaces
  • Special Projects – Be a part of the unique performance and social justice opportunities that ensure our work is rooted in community need, active engagement and artistic excellence
  • Outreach – Help us invite more people into the family
  • Data Collection – Help us archive and tell the story of our work and who engages with us
  • Literary Innovation Troupe (L.I.T.) – Be a core part of the publication, editing and workshopping of LIT participants’ work as they journey towards chapbook publication
  • Youth Liaison – Serve as a peer connection and point of entry into the family of TruArtSpeaks

If this sounds of interest to you, apply here. If you have questions, please email info@truartspeaks.org

#BeHeard16 Swag!

IMG_5471#BeHeard16 Swag is now available! Power youth voice in style with a gold hoodie or t-shirt. Be in solidarity with the team when they travel to Brave New Voices this summer. Rock your hoodies and t-shirts at the same time as they rock theirs on the greatest stages Washington D.C. has to offer! 100% of the proceeds go towards expenses associated with travel to the festival.

Click here to place your order!

2nd Annual Flip the Script! Youth Writing & Performance Conference


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Its that time again! The 2nd annual Flip the Script! Youth Writing & Performance Conference is back, bigger and better! A one day, spoken word writing & performance-intensive conference presented by TruArtSpeaks and The Loft Literary Center, Flip theScript! offers young people between the ages of 13-19 an opportunity to engage with professional spoken word artists via workshops, performances and panel discussions. Featuring two time National Poetry Slam Champion Khary Jackson (aka 6 is 9), Hip Hop phenom Desdamona, and more!

Come to be challenged, to grow, to be in community, and to bust! Register here!


Here are a few pictures from last year’s event!

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