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Poetry Slam: Live Performances of Original Poetry
Eight world-renowned poets compete for the title of the Black Arts Matters Slam Champion and cash prizes.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Black Arts Matter Festival is a virtual event. Sign up to receive email reminders and stay in the loop.
Akeem Rollins is a poet from Cleveland, OH. His work can be found online at Button Poetry and SlamFind, Knight’s Library and other publications. AKeem is currently working two books for publication, PTHD and The Lynching of the God Ghost. When he is not writing or performing, he hosts an online slam named Lissen…A Queer Slam Event.
Gabriel Ramirez is a Queer Afro-Latinx poet, activist, and teaching artist. Gabriel has received fellowships from The Conversation Literary Arts Festival, Palm Beach Poetry Festival, The Watering Hole, CantoMundo and was a participant of the Callaloo Writers Workshop. Gabriel has performed on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre, United Nations, Lincoln Center, Apollo Theatre and other venues & universities around the nation. Gabriel was featured in Huffington Post, VIBE Magazine, Blavity, Upworthy, The Flama, and Remezcla. You can find his work in various spaces, including Youtube, and in publications like The Acentos Review, The Volta, Split This Rock, Winter Tangerine, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, VINYL, and in Bettering American Poetry Anthology (Bettering Books 2017), What Saves Us: Poems of Empathy and Outrage in the Age of Trump (Northwestern University Press 2019) and The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNEXT (Haymarket Press 2020).
Janae Johnson is writer, performer, educator, and curator. She is a Women of the World Poetry Slam Champion, National Poetry Slam Champion, and a Write Bloody Book Award Finalist. Janae is a co-founder of two nationally recognized poetry venues and her work has appeared in ESPN, FreezeRay Poetry, and PBS Newshour.
Julissa Emile (known affectionately as Juju) is a twenty-two year old transplant and chaos baby from the United States Virgin Islands. Their writing focuses on the intersections of blackness, queerness and "if that were a garden, what kind of magic would grow from it". They served as the FEMS slam master from 2018-2020, and have been featured in Button Poetry, Teen Vogue, BET, and Buzzfeed.
Justice Ameer is a poet and organizer based in Providence, Rhode Island. Xyr work explores the experience of being a Black trans woman in a post-racial and potentially post-apocalyptic America. Xe is a Pink Door fellow, FEM Slam Champion, and two-time Providence Grand Slam Champion. Justice was the Grand Marshal of the 2019 Rhode Island PrideFest. Xe is also a co-writer and producer of the theatrical production ANTHEM. Xyr work has been published in Glass Poetry Press, POETRY magazine, The Nation, and The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic anthology.
Natasha Hooper is an international poet, spoken word artist, activist, and host currently residing in San Diego, California. She earned the title of #2 poet in the world at the 2018 Individual World Poetry Slam, after winning the 2017 National Poetry Slam with her team San Diego Poetry SLAM. Her work has been showcased on national and international outlets such as Al Jazeera, All Def Poetry, TEDx and Middle East Eye, among others. She’s also been featured at prominent venues spanning from the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee to the South American Business Forum in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Natasha also helps to promote and affect change as an active member of her community, where she works to bring awareness and resources to those in need.
Author of One Name, RADI, is an artist, teacher, & award winning writer specializing in spoken word. Her work covers topics such as Civil rights, body/sex positivity, colorism, sexism & more, all while reflecting her real life experiences as a fat black lesbian. She uses creative concepts to force those in earshot of her voice to question how they see the world. She reigns as the 2x Poetry Slam Champion of New Jeru Slam 2019, the last Slam Champion of The Nuyorican Poets Cafe and a member of the International Brooklyn Slam team with whom she featured at the 2019 Carnival Slam in the beautiful island of Antigua, but her most prized accomplishment was being the 3rd top Female Slam poet in the world for 2 consecutive years!
Anthony McPherson is a resident poet with the NMAAHC. The former NYC subway breakdancer’s poetry appears in the Lionsgate film “Love Beats Rhymes,” produced by RZA of Wu-Tang, as well as the Emmy-winning documentary “Brooklyn Slams.” McPherson is the Rustbelt Slam champion, the Inkslam champion twice over, the Individual World Poetry Slam 1st runner up, and has reached over ten million views since his first viral poem, “All Lives Matter: 1800’s Edition.”