Tuesday, April 19, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.
430 S Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
Blumenthal Performing Arts, in partnership with the City of Charlotte, presents Let The Laureate Tell It, a free community event bringing together poet laureates from across the country for one night of incredible poetry and progression. Each visiting laureate will perform poems to make us laugh, cry, remind us of the past, and speak of hope for the future. The event will be hosted by award-winning poet, educator, and Alumni Nasir Jones Fellow at Harvard’s Hip Hop Archive and Research Institute, Dasan Ahanu.
Charlotte’s inaugural poet laureate will also be announced by Mayor Vi Lyles at the event!
Meet the Laureates participating in Let The Laureate Tell It :
Dasan Ahanu (Host) is an award-winning poet, cultural organizer, educator, and emcee based in Durham, North Carolina. He is an Alumni Nasir Jones Fellow at Harvard’s Hip Hop Archive and Research Institute, resident artist at the St. Joseph’s Historic Foundation/Hayti Heritage Center, and visiting lecturer at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He has performed across the country, appeared on national radio and TV, published three books of poetry, and featured in various periodicals. Dasan is currently managing a grant funded initiative as the Rothwell Mellon Program Director for Creative Futures with Carolina Performing Arts.
CJ Suitt is a performance poet, arts educator, and community organizer from Chapel Hill, North Carolina whose work is rooted in storytelling and social justice. Suitt has performed at music festivals as well as many performance art and theater pieces. He has been recently appointed as the inaugural Poet Laureate of Chapel Hill. Suitt is committed to speaking truth to power and aims to be a bridge for communities who can’t always see themselves in each other.
Dasha Kelly Hamilton is a writer, performance artist and creative change agent, applying the creative process to facilitate dialogues around human and social wellness. She is the author of two novels, three poetry collections, four spoken word albums and one collection of personal vignettes. She has taught at colleges, conferences and classrooms and curated fellowships for emerging leaders. An Arts Envoy for the U.S. Embassy, Dasha has facilitated community building initiatives in Botswana, Toronto, Mauritius and Beirut. Her touring production, Makin’ Cake, uniquely engages communities in a forward dialogue on race, class and equity. Dasha is a national Rubinger Fellow and a National Laureate Fellow with the American Academy of Poets. She is concurrently, Poet Laureate for the City of Milwaukee and for the State of Wisconsin.
Rhea Carmon, also known by her stage moniker, RheaSunshine, has been writing and performing spoken word poetry and slam for over 20 years. Carmon’s poems are powerfully motivating with an emphasis on her own personal struggles and how others can overcome. She is the director of the annual 5th Woman On Stage since 2014, the coordinator for the 5th Woman Workshops, Executive Producer for Beyond the Spark, and the first African-American Poet Laureate for the city of Knoxville, Tennessee. Rhea has five chapbooks, most recently Let the Sun Shine In (Iris Press). She is also the committee leader for the Knoxville Youth Poet Laureate Program and Project Leader for the 1st Anthology of Black Poets Laureate.
KaNikki Jakarta is the first African American Poet Laureate of Alexandria, Virginia. She is an award-winning performance poet who has toured the U.S. and the U.K. Jakarta is also the author of three novels, two poetry collections, a memoir, a short story, poetry collection titled Alabama Girl, Virginia Woman and co-author of The Ultimate Guide to Self-Healing Volume 2. She is the 2021 DMV Renaissance Female OG of the Year and Poet in Residence for Northern Virginia Arts Association.
Douglas Powell aka Roscoe Burnems is a father, husband, educator, spoken-word artist, author, and blossoming comedian, in that order. Roscoe uses his platform and talents to create challenging conversations in hopes to find equitable solutions. He is a National Poetry Slam champion, TEDx Youth speaker, three-time published author, Richmond, Virginia’s first poet laureate, and the star/creator of the first-ever poetry and comedy special, Traumedy, streaming on Amazon Prime.
Angelo Geter is an award-winning poet, educator, author and performance artist based in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Known in the spoken word world as “EyeAmBic,” Geter’s work touches on a variety of issues including social justice, race, grief, character and manhood. He currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Rock Hill and is a 2020 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow. Geter is a 2018 National Poetry Slam champion, Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam finalist, and Southern Fried Regional Poetry Slam finalist. His debut collection More God Than Dead will be released in June of 2022.
David Marcus Oliver, better known as Judah 1 is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Pomona, California and Artist Activist in Residence at Pitzer College in Claremont. Oliver is a Los Angeles Slam Team member in 2005-06, and the 2007 PodSlam International All Star Grand Slam Champion.
He is an instructor of poetry at Ontario Montclair School District, teaching K-8 creative writing and performance speech for the last 10 years. He his also an instructor for the Prison Education Program, teaching behind bars at several state prisons and juvenile facilities since 2012.
Outspoken Bean is Houston’s 2021-2023 Poet Laureate. The New Jersey-born, San Antonio-raised military brat was introduced to the arts and world cultures at a very young age. Bean uses poetry to engage different mediums and institutions to create new and engaging art, such as being the first poet to perform on Houston Ballet’s main stage with the production of Play. He has also been commissioned to write and perform a national campaign on diversity for Pabst Blue Ribbon and Vice.