Sunday, February 28, 2010

On February 20th, I had the honor of representing Rhyme-N-Chatt alongside Marcus Ellsworth in the To Haiti With Love Benefit. The whole event was awe-inspiring. There were musicians, belly dancers, etc.

I checked my e-mail yesterday (I've been out of commission for the past week due to being sick), and was pleasantly surprised to see this:

Thank You...To Haiti With Love Benefit

When I reflect on last Saturday, I truly believe we all witnessed an amazing experience; our community joining together to make a positive impact in the lives of those who are in desperate need of support.

Words cannot express my gratitude to all of you for your enthusiasm, professionalism, flexibility, and authenticity. Your efforts exceeded all of my expectations; and the evening was filled with one memorable moment after another.

Special thanks to Urban League Young Professional Association, CreateHere, and Lindsay Street Hall for the successful collaboration on this truly unforgettable evening!

Together we all created a unique and wonderfully spirited benefit for the people of Haiti and for that I thank you.


As I mentioned back when I was able to take part in the Give 5 benefit, it means a great deal to be able to provide any kind of assistance, be it monetarily, creatively, or otherwise. Once again, I encourage everyone to find a cause to champion. So often, we tend to depend on politicians, police, etc. to lend helping hands and make things better. Everyone, regardless of where you're from, economic status, whatever the case may be, has the ability to assist.

Switching gears, I've had a few people ask me about the text of what I performed. I debuted this piece at the Speakeasy last month, performed it with the Poetic Diva at the RNC Love Groove show on the 12th, and presented it at the benefit. For those of you who are interested, here you go:

Today the news televised
the aftermath of Black lives lost
to the eager pulse of fate
that found its way to Haitian mainland
& my golden eyes studied the houses
now reduced to rubble
pinning bodies to the cool nape of the earth.
These people look like me
all honey-hued & honest
in their vulnerability that's documented by video cameras.
They look like me
share my stubborn hair
& skin lacquered by the labor
of the same consistent sun.
I recognized that there's a home
within these faces that
also lies comfortably inside of mine
& I arrived here
riding on the sheer
breath of coincidence
acknowledging the union that's
alive in our resemblance.
But in my stomach there's a solid swell of shame
because it took the will of tragedy
for me to see community.
Truthfully, at times
the awakenings that find us
come as suddenly as rain
lightly christening the spring.
Even though both location & the language
in our tongues separate us
we are one.
We have come from
our skin knowing the hostile
jerking of the earth,
the bite of tightened rope
& segregation in the church.
& still we are a people of hope,
we are a people of dance,
of music
& the bitter tide of struggle.
They look like me
those across the globe
whose lives & souls
expose the courage in
surviving breath to breath.
We are one.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Benefit for Haiti

Over the course of a year, I've been very fortunate to participate in a number of great benefits. Last year I took part in the Relay for Life, and in December, I had the chance to perform in and assist with Give 5. This year, by the looks of it now, could turn out providing the same opportunities.

This coming Saturday, February 20th, I will be performing in an event called To Haiti With Love. It's a fundraiser for the victims of the earthquake and fallout afterwards in Haiti, and it's a really excellent cause. I will be accompanied by another poet that I really respect named Marcus Ellsworth, so it's a privilege to spread awareness and share a stage with him as well as countless other artists and musicians.

I will be performing a poem that I debuted a few weeks ago at The Speakeasy and performed properly with the outgoing president of Rhyme-n-Chatt and the band Pure Sound. This time, I will be doing the piece solo, so I'll be preparing it in a different light throughout the week.

I strongly encourage everyone who is able to come out and help us try to reach the goal of $5,000. The event will be taking place at the Lindsay St. Hall (901 Lindsay St.). Admission is $10.00, per person. The benefit starts at 7PM and will run until midnight. I genuinely hope to see a lot of you there.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Anniversary

Last week marked two anniversaries for me. First, my chapbook Ghosts & Echoes turned a year old. Second, I performed for the first time at the Tremont Tavern as a tune-up for some bigger shows.

It's a little bit surreal to think back to last February and everything that's transpired since. It has been a roller coaster of sorts, but I've thoroughly appreciated everything that has happened.

I'm happy to say that the first run of G&E sold out not long after its publication. The second printing has also been selling well, and I have many of you to thank for that.

It has been suggested that an audio interpretation of the chapbook (or at least some of the poems in it). It's still a possibility, so we'll see. I'll make sure to keep everyone posted on the project if it comes to fruition.

Next, I owe a lot of what's happened to me to the Tremont. Not only have I had the opportunity to meet some phenomenally talented people and musicians, but I've also had the chance to hone my performing self. I'm glad that the community has been open to what I do and have essentially embraced me into the fold. It's truly been a godsend.