Shout Out to the Youth Empowerment Summit!

today is going to be awesome. I get to meet a hundred or so high school students from various schools around York, PA at Martin Library’s 8th Annual Youth Empowerment Summit. i’ll be delivering the keynote address, running a couple workshops, and of course performing some poems.

Martin Library YES

hopefully these kids are ready to rock out.

we’ll see.

the Teen Advisory Board here is on point. they set me up with not only one, but two personal assistants/ guides for the day. they’ve already hooked me up with free muffins, waters, and a badass t-shirt with the TAB cat on the back. it’s okay to be jealous.

 

Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness

Here in Washington, DC, the Split This Rock Poetry Festival brings poets and activists from around the world together every other year. March 26 – 30, 2014 we are celebrating the transformative power of the imagination with poetry of provocation and witness. Please join us if you can.

I’m performing Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on the Millennium Stage with #SplitThisRock2014.

Split This Rock Festival 2014

 

We’ve got an amazing lineup of featured poets, many free readings and performances, and late night open mics.

Here’s a video I put together of some of these stellar poets speaking on the importance of Split This Rock. #SplitThisRock2014

 

please do join if you can.

Full Schedule of Festival Events here. 

 

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Streetposia Crew in Stockholm, Sweden

Streetposia Crew in Stockholm, Sweden

I’ve been enjoying this week in Sweden with Palestinian activists and poets from around the world, here at #Streetposia. We’re talking oppression, resistance, BDS and academic/cultural boycotts, learning and teaching and performing every day.

On Sunday April 13th JBT in Concert @ 5th & K

come see the Busboys and Poets Open Mic Host Crew in concert

poetry concert flier

 

RSVP online via the Facebook event page.

 

 

Celebrated social justice wordsmith has performed poetry on stages from the Kennedy Center to South Africa

Thomas “Vocab” Hill is one of my students on the DC Youth Slam Team. He is also featured as one of the 2014 Young Futurists on TheRoot.com. If you go to his page and share it on either Facebook or Twitter, you help him win TheRoot.com’s Young Futurist Award. Please read his post, watch his poem in the video below, and share with your friends.

Yes, SHARE THIS LINK with all your networks, NOW.

Thanks for supporting Thomas. He is absolutely wonderful. You can follow him on all social media sites @BlackGayPoet and be sure to check him out at the Split This Rock Poetry Festival in late March in DC.

theroot.com/articles/lists/2014/01/the_2014_young_futurists/thomas_hill.html

that’s the link. please share it with facebook and twitter friends. see Thomas below.

Thomas is one of twelve students who will be performing on Feb. 22nd at the Grand Slam Finals for the 2014 DC Youth Slam Team at Arena Stage in DC. Come see him and the rest of the gang. Tickets on sale now at www.DCyouthSLAM.eventbrite.com

Finalist in Harvard’s Pluralism Project Photography Contest!

most of you probably know me as a poet or a DJ. you may have seen me taking pictures at some poetry slams but probably don’t consider me a photographer. i didn’t really consider myself a photographer either really, until recently when i began shooting and editing more purposefully. young poets i work with are still the majority of my focus, but i’m expanding from writing and performance into photo and video documentation and editing.

i decided to enter a few of my photos into a photography contest. i didn’t win. i did, however, make it in as one of the finalists. to me that’s a big deal. or at least worth noting on my website :)

here is my photo that was selected as a finalist in Harvard University’s Pluralism Project’s 2013 Photography Contest.

After a successful meeting at the Smithsonian African Art Museum on the National Mall, students of the DC Youth Slam Team celebrate outside with an impromptu dance party and freestyle cypher. The DC Youth Slam Team brings together teenage poets across lines of race, religion, socioeconomic status, and sexuality to use spoken word poetry to raise and challenge issues of social justice and build peace (July 2013).

After a successful meeting at the Smithsonian African Art Museum on the National Mall, students of the DC Youth Slam Team celebrate outside with an impromptu dance party and freestyle cypher. The DC Youth Slam Team brings together teenage poets across lines of race, religion, socioeconomic status, and sexuality to use spoken word poetry to raise and challenge issues of social justice and build peace (July 2013).

check out the other finalists here.

In the fall of 2013, the Pluralism Project announced its third annual Photography Contest to document the vibrancy of religious diversity in the United States. The DC Youth Slam Team (pictured) has students that identify as Agnostic, Atheist, Jewish, Muslim, 5 Percenter, Catholic, Baptist, and just generally Christian. It’s a very diverse group in many ways, as poetry brings people together across all identities.

The Blood of Love – Community Poem

at my Busboys and Poets Wednesday night open mic we like to write a community poem involving everyone in the audience. we pass around the paper starting in the beginning of the show and everyone adds a line, so that by the end of the show we have a poem that we wrote together. this is that poem for Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at Busboys and Poets 5th & K Open Mic featuring Janani Balasubramanian (pictured below).

 

COMMUNITY POEM: The Blood of Love

The night is cool, from Philly to DC. So many beautiful

faces I see.

Shrimp and grits are good to Me!

This winter weather, I love it.

Now let’s get loud like a trumpet.

BLARING LOUD, IT FILLS THE ROOM,

Music surrounds me it goes BOOM, BOOM, BOOM,

This pomegranate lemonade is the bomb dot com!

And drinking the DC tap water, you can’t go wrong.

Can’t wait to hear all this uncensored art

That speaks to my very existence on Earth

Ready for this amazing art to ART!

Ready to rip my soul asunder, to fill this hollow shell

I want you to be my girlfriend Talisha, you’re like a love

spell

U gotta start with love between ourselves

So we can love one another

I love this guy’s vest, hat & tie;

Clapping and chewing for sounds and words from the mic

Choking on the voices of our ancestors, lost

Not hearing the call to discover our own

voices and passions silenced by the status quo.

That’s why we must let minority verses flow

My children are my lifeline their mere

existence is pure divine

Now watch us shine!

 

New places it’s time to grow

In with the new, out with the old

This world can be so cruel + cold

Self discovery is better than the Discovery Channel

I found love in my high school/Facebook Friend

A love I wish lasts from now until the end.

 

I’VE FOUND THAT THE BEST BUSINESS OF ALL

BUSINESS IS TO HAVE SOME BUSINESS

OF YOUR OWN N IF YOU DON’T HAVE NO BUSINESS

THEN MAKE IT YOUR BUSINESS TO LEAVE

OTHER PEOPLE’S BUSINESS ALONE

JUST TO BE PEACEFULLY LIVING DRAMA

FREE JUST TO LIVE N LET BE CAUSE

YOUR NOT ME N DON’t WANNA BE Michael Myers

Love

Live Love, Love Life, Bring Life. don’t think

twice.

Sometimes I wish I had taken my mind’s advice instead of my heart,

which can be my biggest vice

Don’t think twice, love, just love

Then stop! Collaborate and listen

Boom shock a loca….Boom

Let the fire of love breathe

Let the beauty of life flow

Not until the winds turn

I will still still continue to love this earth

The voices inside are let loose for a few

People are lined up in a queue

To allow people to really think

Even though it may really stink

All different colors, created unique, death on a

cross for a few to become one. No I’m not talkin

about a son but a lover, take a moment to think

of love a tree, breathe blown out for you & me.

all different colors, created unique.

Griming things for Shining things seems like the violence

never stop, unlocking my mind from calamity to escape

insanity from the pressure of poverty psychologically.

My mind, I’m stuck inside a never ending book. Wishing I

can get to the end, yet I feel one must take their time.

Bathing myself with the blood of love

 

janani

find Janani online at queerdarkenergy.com

their feature performance was soooo on point. hilarious and deep and all sorts of other feels. very good night. ’twas so packed we had to seat people on the stage.