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Teaching Artists & Slam Team Coaches

2015-2016 Teaching Artist Poets

 

Amin "Drew" Law

Amin "Drew" Law is a nationally touring performance poet and writing facilitator. He looks to connect his Palestinian roots and American upbringing through art and is the co-founder of the Poetry for Gaza benefit show. A three time member of the D.C. Beltway Slam team and current DC grand slam champion. He has been seen on TV One's Verses and Flow and has performed at multiple colleges including the University of Maryland as a part of their Tedx talk on fearless ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

Amoja "Mo-Man" Sumler

Amoja Sumler is a nationally celebrated poet and social activist known for fusing the art of the intellectual into the familiar. As "The Mo-Man," he has headlined spoken word festivals such as the Austin International Poetry Festival, the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, Write NOLA in New Orleans and Rock the Republic in Texas. A member of both to Arts in Education and Arts on Tour roster for over a decade has seen Amoja serve as a 5 time Poetry Out Loud states finals judge and an artist in residence to Universities and literacy nonprofits across the state of Arkansas. Amoja has also presents at social advocacy conferences like Long Beach Indie Film Pedagogy Conference and Furious Flower on a panel with The Watering Hole.

 

 

Brandon Douglas

Brandon Douglas is a poet, emcee, and actor born and raised in Washington, DC. He was on the DC Youth Slam Team in 2009 and has been volunteering with the team ever since. A member of the production team multiple years with City at Peace DC, a youth group using theatre arts to teach nonviolent conflict resolution and cross cultural dialogue, Brandon is well versed in issues of oppression, inequality, theatre, and workshop facilitation. He has worked as a Peer Educator with Metro Teen AIDS and is a graduate of the Public Allies program. He serves the DC Youth Slam Team as a mentor and Teaching Artist, working with students in after school programs such as Higher Achievement. Brandon regularly hosts poetry slams and appreciates eccentric people.

 

Elizabeth Acevedo

Elizabeth Acevedo is the daughter of Dominican immigrants, proudly born and raised in the heart of New York City. Through poetry that is infused with hip-hop and bolero, she uses her words as a way to translate the world. She holds a BA in Performing Arts from The George Washington University (2010) and is currently in the MFA at The University of Maryland. She has been a featured poet at The Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts, The Kodak Theatre, Madison Square Garden and has performed live on BET, Mun2, and Current’s, Lyric Café. Elizabeth has been published in Off the Subject: The Words of Lyrical Circle, and The Acentos Review. She is a CantoMundo Fellow and a coach of the DC Youth Slam Team. Vist her website www.acevedopoetry.com.

 

 

 

Imani Cezanne

Born and raised in San Diego, CA, Imani Cezanne is a passionate poet, workshop facilitator, community organizer and slam coach. She just recently returned home from taking 2nd place at the Women of the World Poetry Slam in Austin, Texas. In the past four years Imani Cezanne has been on four National Poetry Slam teams (San Diego (2), Oakland and Da Poetry Lounge), three of which placed in the top six at the National Poetry Slam. Last season, along with two of her team members, she was invited to perform on the TV One network’s Verses and Flow, a cable television show dedicated to showcasing performance poets from around the country, all while obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Africana Studies from San Francisco State University. Imani has continued to grow as an artist while working with some of the country’s leading poets including Rudy Francisco, Ant Black, and Natasha Miller and been coached by San Diego’s Chris Wilson (San Diego Slam Team) and Da Poetry Lounge’s Shihan Van Clief (Da Poetry Lounge Slam Team). Imani is also the founding President of S.P.E.A.K. (Spoken Poetry Expressed by All Kinds), San Francisco State University’s first poetry-centered organization. She organized and hosted S.P.E.A.K.’s bi-monthly open mics  which has showcased nationally known artists such as Rudy Francisco, Prentice Powell, Marshall Jones and more. She facilitates their monthly writing workshops and coached SFSU’s first ever poetry slam team to 5th in the nation at the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational this year. Visit her website

 

Safia Elhillo

Safia Elhillo is Sudanese by way of Washington, DC. A Cave Canem fellow and poetry editor at Kinfolks Quarterly: a journal of black expression, she received an MFA in poetry at the New School. Safia has been nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize, and is co-winner of the 2015 Brunel University African Poetry Prize. Her work appears in several journals and in the anthologies “The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop” and “Again I Wait for This to Pull Apart.” Safia is a three-time member and former coach of the DC Youth Slam team, and a founding member of Slam NYU, the 2012 and 2013 national collegiate champion slam team. She has shared her work at venues such as TEDxNewYork, the South African State Theatre, and season 3 of TV1’s Verses & Flow. Visit her website safia-mafia.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Past Youth Programs Teaching Artists

 

BRANDON DOUGLAS
Brandon Douglas

Brandon is a poet, emcee, and actor born and raised in Washington, DC. He was on the DC Youth Slam Team in 2009 and has been volunteering with the team ever since. A member of the production team multiple years with City at Peace DC, a youth group using theatre arts to teach nonviolent conflict resolution and cross cultural dialogue, Brandon is well versed in issues of oppression, inequality, theatre, and workshop facilitation. He has worked as a Peer Educator with Metro Teen AIDS and is a graduate of the Public Allies program. He serves the DC Youth Slam Team as a mentor and Teaching Artist, working with students in after school programs such as Higher Achievement. Brandon regularly hosts poetry slams and appreciates eccentric people.

 

DREW LAW
Drew Law headshot

As a performance artist, Drew Law has opened up for artists ranging from Slick Rick and Biz Markie to Sunni Patterson and Andrea Gibson, and he has performed at different national venues including “Green Mill” in Chicago, IL. When he is not performing, he hosts the prestigious Busboys and Poets Open Mic and BBE’s ground breaking Graffiti DC slam series.

 

 

 

 

JAMILA REDDY
Jamila Reddy photo

Jamila Reddy is a director, poet, and teaching artist from Charlotte, NC currently living in Washington, D.C.  She is interested in creating interactive, multimedia storytelling experiences for diverse audiences. She is an alumna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (BA: Dramatic Art, Sociology) and has been writing and performing poetry since 2007.

 

 

 

 

ELIZABETH ACEVEDO
Liz Acevedo photo

Elizabeth Acevedo is the daughter of Dominican immigrants, proudly born and raised in the heart of New York City. Through poetry that is infused with hip-hop and bolero, she uses her words as a way to translate the world. She holds a BA in Performing Arts from The George Washington University (2010) and is currently in the MFA at The University of Maryland. She has been a featured poet at The Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts, The Kodak Theatre, Madison Square Garden and has performed live on BET, Mun2, and Current’s, Lyric Café. Elizabeth has been published in Off the Subject: The Words of Lyrical Circle, and The Acentos Review. She is a CantoMundo Fellow and a coach of the DC Youth Slam Team.

 

 

 

PAGES MATAM
Pages Matam pic

Pages is a poet/emcee originally from Cameroon, Africa. His features have included The Kennedy Center; colleges and universities such as Columbia University; & BETJ Lyric Café. He has touched stages with the likes of Ainsley Burrows, Oveous Maximus, opened for Raheem DeVaughn, Afrika Bambaata, and many others. In addition to winning multiple local slams, he is also the 2010 & 2012 DC Grand Slam Champion, a host at Busboys and Poets, and a coach of the DC Youth Slam Team.

 

 

JONATHAN B. TUCKER
JBT headshot

Jonathan B. Tucker is a poet, teacher, DJ, and activist. Coach of the DC Youth Slam Team and Youth Programs Coordinator for the nonprofit Split This Rock, he uses performance poetry to raise issues of social justice and inspire dialogue and action. Born in Washington, DC, and raised in Crofton, MD, Jonathan has twice represented DC at the National Poetry Slam and has traveled across the world performing and teaching poetry in schools, universities and community organizations, most recently visiting London, Stockholm, Malmo, Pretoria, and Johannesburg. His book, I Got the Matches, and other poems are available at jonathanbtucker.com.

 

 


GEORGE “G” YAMAZAWA, JR.
G photo

G is a Japanese-American poet/emcee born and raised in Durham, NC, living in DC. After experiencing the Brave New Voices Poetry Festival in 2008, he made the transition from a rapper to a poet and realized the importance of his words. Quickly moving into the adult slam scene, G started competing at the National Poetry Slam in 2009. In 2010 his team won Southern Fried and placed 3rd in the nation. He ranked 5th in the world at the Individual World Poetry Slam 2010 in Charlotte, NC and is widely considered one of the top spoken word artists in the country.

 

 

BRANDI HARGETTE
Brandi pic

A recent transplant to the DMV, Brandi Hargette moved from Philadelphia, PA where she received her B.A. in Journalism at Temple University. Brandi was a finalist for representing DC’s Beltway Team at the National Poetry Slam in 2013. With about five years experience coaching/mentoring youth poets, she spends a great portion of her time facilitating workshops and coaching. If asked, she’d tell you she’s a perfect blend of her grandmother’s nurturing nature and father’s sarcasm – a Southern girl with an attitude most associated with city slickers. Brandi is also a connoisseur of quotes with a keen preference for all things fried. Feel free to blame her North Carolinian roots.

 


CLINT SMITH
Clint Smith photo

Clint Smith is originally from New Orleans, LA and teaches English at Parkdale High School in Prince George’s County, MD.  In 2013, Mr. Smith was named the Christine D. Sarbanes Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Humanities Council.  He is profiled in the book, “American Teacher: Heroes in the Classroom” (Welcome Books, 2013) as one of the top 50 educators in the nation. In addition to teaching, Mr. Smith is an Individual World Poetry Slam finalist and is a two-time member of the Beltway Poetry Slam team.