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)


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.



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

#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

$10 for 10: Donate Now and Power Youth Voice into the Next Decade

Founded in 2006 by poet and organizer Tish Jones, TruArtSpeaks is in its 10th year of powering youth voice, cultivating strong communities, and creating social change in the Twin Cities. Best known for the Be Heard MN youth poetry slam series, TruArtSpeaks is home to many of the Twin Cities emerging young writers, performers, leaders, and scholars.

Over the last 10 years we have been inducted into the Brave New Voices Leadership Cohort as one of the premier organizations serving young poets in the United States, alumni have gone on to win prestigious awards and full tuition scholarships, our founder served as the Festival Director for Brave New Voices 2016 – one of the biggest youth poetry slam festivals in the world – and the list goes on, many thanks to you. None of this was possible without your support as volunteers, donors, artists, audience and friends. We are prepared to continue, exceed and expand on this legacy as we head into the next decade and we are calling on you, our family, to be the foundation and soil for our continued growth.

The $10 for 10 campaign seeks to raise $25,000 by asking 2,500 TruArtSpeaks family members to make a tax deductible donation of $10 (or more) to support:

  • The #ReVerbOpenMic – A weekly open mic space centered on dialogue, creation, presentation and community.
  • Flip the Script! – The 3rd Annual Youth Writing & Performance Conference at the Loft Literary Center
  • The L.I.T. Program – A new opportunity for young writers that focuses on the craft of page poetry and culminates in the production of a chapbook.

We are making great strides as an organization and need your support as we take this journey. Make your contribution now. Click the image below.donor-card-10-for-10-video-end

Donor Benefits

$10 TruFamily Name recognition on digital platforms
$50 – $249 TruSupporter TruFamily + a bookmark
$250 – $999 TruAdvocate TruSupporter + a Magnetic Poetry
$1000 – $2499 TruGiver TruAdvocate + Two Free Tickets to any TruArtSpeaks Event
$2499 – $9999 TruBeliever TruGiver + Two copies of The L.I.T. Program Chapbook
$10000 or more TruChampion TruBeliever + Preferred name listed on all marketing materials, website and merchandise related to Re-Verb Open Mic, The L.I.T. Program and the Youth Advisory Board

“Page.Stage.Engage.”, Future Corps Fellowships, New Video, and More!

PSE_handbillIt’s been an incredible couple of months for TruArtSpeaks. We have some big announcements on the horizon, and a few exciting updates to share right now too.

Just Announced: “Page.Stage.Engage” on 11/6
On Friday, November 6, catch a special performance at the U of MN’s Whole Music Club w/ TruArtSpeaks family Guante, Tish Jones, members of the 2015 Be Heard MN team and more! Doors are at 7:30pm. All ages. Free.

“Page.Stage.Engage” is about exploring how art– especially hip hop and spoken word– can and does respond to injustice. Through performances, some discussion, and a few surprises, we’ll try to grapple with that question, as well as provide plug-in points for people who want to keep the discussion moving and/or get involved. Hope to see you there!

YouthSpeaks Future Corps OpportunityFCF_graphic
Youth Speaks is launching a two-year Future Corps Fellowship program, designed to complement and expand upon their BNV Festival Future Corps program!

The Future Corps Fellowship aims to support the growth of emerging arts professionals through experiential learning opportunities. Following a comprehensive application process, eight Fellows will be selected and placed at a host organization from within the national BNVI Leadership Cohort. Serving as full-time, salaried staff, Fellows will support their host organization in advancing its mission and its capacity to create safe spaces for writing and performance opportunities that elevate youth voices.

Get more information and apply HERE. Applications are due November 1!

Tish Jones, Keno Evol, Donte Collins, Chava Gabrielle, Fatima Camara and Khary Jackson at Porchfest. Photo by Gawolo Irving.

Tish Jones, Keno Evol, Donte Collins, Chava Gabrielle, Fatima Camara and Khary Jackson at Porchfest. Photo by Gawolo Irving.

TruArtSpeaks in the Community
We’ve been building with our Twin Cities community, and are proud to have taken part in some great events recently.

First, members of the TruArtSpeaks Youth Advisory Board performed at Minneapolis’ Powderhorn neighborhood’s Porchfest on September 12. Later that month, TruArtSpeaks youth ambassadors sat on a panel as part of the #Konopka2015 conference on equity & opportunity in health and education at the U of MN.


Keno Evol, Tish Jones, Chava Gabrielle, Hasani Harris and Laresa Avent at Kanopka.

Keno Evol, Tish Jones, Chava Gabrielle, Hasani Harris and Laresa Avent at Kanopka. Photo by Gawolo Irving.

In October, TruArtSpeaks roster artist See More Perspective had a beautiful two-night run at Patrick’s Cabaret for his #YesYesYes-themed multidisciplinary CD release show, featuring multiple artists from the TAS circle. Later that month, Youth Advisory Board members Keno Evol and Chava Gabrielle performed at the big Victoria Theater Design Reveal Party at Arnellia’s in Frogtown.

This is all on top of the weekly #ReVerb open mic (every Thursday night at 6pm at Golden Thyme Cafe), which has been on fire lately, featuring artists like Glo Pesci and See More Perspective, as well as all of our regular and not-so-regular performers and family.

Finally, check out TruArtSpeaks Youth Advisory Board member Chava Gabrielle with a new poem called “Fool’s Gold.” The concrete imagery, the attention to detail, the powerful delivery– it all comes together in an unforgettable way.

Remember to check us out on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr for regular access to the fun stuff!

For questions or more information contact info@truartspeaks.org

To make a donation please click here!

Call for Artists Extended; Apply to be Part of “Are You Thirsty REMIX” Now!

thirsty 2

Photo: John Lamb; link.

Calling all poets and emcees between the ages of 13-24! If you are looking for an opportunity to write, perform, tour in an ensemble, and get paid for your efforts, this is an incredibly unique chance to do all of that. TruArtSpeaks and In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theater are collaborating on a project to create awareness around the Mississippi Watershed and the global water crisis through a multi-disciplinary Hip Hop puppetry and poetics performance, and that’s where you come in!

Three artists from the TruArtSpeaks network will be selected by a panel of professionals to join the paid “Are You Thirsty Remix” touring ensemble. This fall, you’ll work closely with professional writers, performers, puppeteers, and theater artists to develop your craft and create a powerful work of art about a vital issue. Don’t worry if you’re not an expert on this topic; we are looking for artists who are willing to learn, and ready to dive in.

The call for artists has just been extended— applications are now due by 5pm on Monday, October 5th | APPLY HERE!!!

thirsty 1The three artists selected to join the ensemble will write, rehearse and perform original content starting as early as January 2016. Rehearsals begin the second week of October and run through mid-January 2016 on Tuesdays and Wednesday afternoons. Each artist will be given a generous honorarium for their time and commitment to the process.

For more information, please email info@truartspeaks.org | Submission materials: An upload or link to your work via Soundcloud or YouTube. Material should be less than five minutes long and be accompanied by a 250 word work statement and bio.

This opportunity is supported, in part, by the generosity of the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization.

#7UpForSocialChange #TruBelievers



Abby Bagel

Joe Bateman

Erick Boustead

Corrine Castro

Beth Cherne

Obasi Davis

Barbara Daiker

Rebeka Dwyer-Ndosi

Alejandro Eduarte

Helen Fagrelius

Siobhan Fitzagerald

Angie Goserud

Arisa Grier

Nicholas Griffith

Cynthia Harvey

Rebbecca Hemmans

Anthony Iovinella

Milford Johnson

Stephanie Ling

Armand McCoy

Denham Mullings

James Myhre

Zachary Pierson

Mary Pekala

Melissa Rach

Leo Remke

Sara Remke

Stacy Remke

Karmel Sabri

Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria

Gaybriel Trendz

Ladan Yusuf


Kathy Black

Kathleen Butts

Ethan Cherin

J Kimberly Flisrand

Arleta Little

Jessie Parent

Benjamin Weiss



Power. Youth. Voice.

Donate $7 to TruArtSpeaks to support youth development, artistic expression and social change. Together, we have the power to create quality, sustainable and safe spaces for young people to grow with one another, create positive social change and unearth, develop and share their voices! To donate MORE than $7 head to our home page NOW!

Our goal is to raise $10,000.00 by July 1st, 2015 and we need YOU – our #TruBelievers – to help us get there!

Head this way to view fellow philanthropists, #TruBelievers and investors that have powered youth voice putting #7UpForSocialChange!

The Ask: $7.00

Extra Love & Donor Levels:

#TruBelievers: Donate between $7-$99.99

#TruSupporters: Donate between $100-$999.99

#TruChampions: Donate between $1,000-$4,999.99

#TruAmbassadors: Donate between $5,000-$9,999.99

#TruAmplifiers: Donate $10,000 or more

#TruBelievers: Will have their names listed on the donor page and the campaign graphic

#TruSupporters: Receive #TruBeliever benefits and a campaign t-shirt

#TruChampions: Receive #TruSupporter benefits and two free tickets to one public TruArtSpeaks event of their choosing

#TruAmbassadors: Receive #TruChampion benefits and a personal letter of gratitude from a member of the TruArtSpeaks Youth Advisory Board

#TruAmplifiers: Receive #TruAmbassador benefits and public acknowledgment as a funder/sponsor on printed material

donor flyer 1

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