Posts Tagged With: activist

MotownWriters Author Interview-Eddie Connor Jr

EDDIE CONNOR is an author and international speaker from Detroit, Michigan. He empowers purpose, by sharing his testimony as a survivor of stage 4 cancer. Connor is the founder of Boys 2 Books, which provides mentorship to young males via literacy, leadership, and life skill enrichment. Eddie Connor and the was nationally featured in the BET Documentary, “It Takes A Village to Raise Detroit.” He speaks extensively on the subjects of leadership, overcoming obstacles, and maximizing your purpose. Much of his work extends throughout Jamaica and South Africa. His other books include: Purposefully Prepared to Persevere, Collections of Reflections, Volumes 1-3: Symphonies of Strength, and E.CON the ICON: from Pop Culture to President Barack Obama. 

Boys2Books1

eddieconnorbook

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Real Men Write~ Torreano Harrison

RMW Torreano Harrison

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Real Men Write Feature~Cesar Torreano

Caesar%20Torreano

I am Caesar Torreano and poetry to me is greatness! Poetry is the friend who never abandoned me; the lover who’s always been faithful and the entity that never judges me for my past discretions. It is the air that I need to heal me, the eyes that I need to see me, and the voice I need to express myself; so I can be heard and so I can hear. If I can make one person feel the joy that I feel – that poetry has brought to me- my life would be more fulfilled. For its existence has made me a better man.

I chose the name “Caesar” because it means King and fearless leader in Greek.

I developed an interest in writing poetry when I was younger but I did not begin my poetic quest until three years ago when I first “spit” at Cliff Belles. Now I am fondly known as “a venue junky” because I enjoy going to two to three venues in one night. I enjoy poetry that much!

I am extremely diverse in my poetic writing. My poetry ranges from social injustices/conscious topics to love and/or erotic. I pride myself in discussing topics/situations or events in my pieces that, as men we never discuss. For that, I believe one poet’s poem can be another person’s moment of clarity. To my credit, I have a poetic album named “The Rise of an Emperor” where I demonstrate my poetic flexibility towards all life’s subjects.

I have been the host of Nandi’s Knowledge Café in Highland Park since 2012. My belief/motto is to provide a poetic haven where all people, regardless of where they come from, can come and perform, express and enjoy poetry in all formats. I want everyone who comes through the door to feel like they matter and are at home.

I have featured, participated and performed in many poetry showcases in the Detroit/Metro area. I have performed in a play for Poetically Speaking Productions and performed at the Jazz Café at Music Hall.

I am a Direct Care worker, father of five beautiful children and repair computers in my spare time.

I truly believe it takes a village to raise a child especially a child of poetry.

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Motown Writers Network Poet Feature~ David Blair

David BlairAs the Motown Writers Network feature poets this April, we cannot forget about one of Detroit’s greatest poets, David Blair.  David Blair was an award-winning, multi-faceted artist: singer-songwriter, poet, writer, performer, musician, community activist and teacher. Born Sept. 19, 1967, he grew up in Newton, N.J., but called Detroit his adopted home. Blair performed all over the world and has friends on almost every continent. Blair’s work and life leave an indelible impression on the Detroit community as well as all of the communities he touched.

A 2010 Callaloo Fellow and a National Poetry Slam Champion, Blair’s first book of poetry, Moonwalking, was recently released by Penmanship Books. Blair, as a solo artist, and with The Urban Folk Collective, self-released more than seven records in the last ten years. His most recent album, The Line, with his band The Boyfriends, was released in 2010 on Repeatable Silence Records.

He was nominated for seven Detroit Music Awards, including a 2007 nod for Outstanding Acoustic Artist. He was named Real Detroit Weekly Readers Poll’s Best Solo Artist and The Metro Times Best Urban Folk Poet. In 2007, he also won the Seattle-based BENT Writing Institute Mentor Award. As well as being the recipient of numerous awards, he taught classes and lectured on poetry and music in Detroit Public Schools, The Ruth Ellis Center, Hannan House Senior Center, the YMCA of Detroit, and at various universities, colleges and high schools across the country.

For more information about the life of David Blair go to http://dblair.org/

 

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Poet Spotlight~ Natasha Miller

Natasha Miller is the voice of wounds exposed, and the healing balm of poetry applied to the human spirit. The passionate 26 year-old Detroit, MI native is a writer, performance poet, author, publisher dedicated activist, producer, actress and an aspiring motivational speaker. Since her debut, just over four years ago, Natasha has proven to be a poetical powerhouse. After one year on the performance circuit, in 2007, she was crowned Detroit Poetry Slam team’s Grand Slam Champion, and has been a member of four National Poetry Slam teams. She has also been a Women of The World Poetry Slam top five finalist three out of the last four years once ranking as high as the third female slam poet in the World. Natasha continued her impressive record by leading and coaching her own slam team to a championship at the 2010 Midwest Rustbelt Poetry Slam, where she also came out ranking #2 overall in the individual competition.

 Natasha has awed audiences across the country at universities, festivals and numerous venues including slams and shows like the famous Nuyorican Poets Café in New York, Vancouver Poetry slam, Seattle poetry slam, Girl Fest Hawaii and Chicago’s Green Mill. She has premiered on stages with celebrity actors and comedians Oscar award winning Mo’nique, Star of the movie “Paper Hearts” Charlyne Yi, Brandon T. Jackson, actor Malcolm Jamal Warner, legendary poet Jessica Care Moore, hip-hop artist Talib Kweli, and many more. Mo’Nique, impressed, personally invited Natasha to feature on her radio show.  In 2010, she starred in a national commercial campaign for Sprite. In the same year, she released her solo spoken word album “Poetry for Change,” and featured in the stage play “The Revolution’s In The Ladies Room” produced by Jessica care Moore.

Natasha is currently ranked as the number 5 female slam poet in the World. She now produces the popular “Its Not About You” Poetry Slam Series. Recently she started her own publishing company “All I Wanna Say Publishing”, in 2010 she published her first book of quotes “Dreams Of A Beginner”, and in 2011 she published her second book “Coming Out of Nowhere” a Social Networking Memoir that allows readers to mentally and emotionally “log-in” to their favorite websites (Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube) and view the opinions of others on love, hate, suicide, tragedy, politics, religion, cyber-bullying, entertainment, mental illness, freedom of choice, homophobia, and all other things surrounding homosexuality by simply turning a page. She is currently working with popular video director Erica D Hayes on a documentary that focuses on prostitution and placement in the transgendered community. Natasha uses her words to enlighten, create equality, imbue life, and most importantly spread love and peace in the tradition of great leaders before her.

Questions with Natasha…

How old where you when you wrote your first poem? Do you remember what it was about?

I don’t remember what age I was exactly when I wrote my first poem. I think I was in high school, maybe 10th or 11th grade but I was not performing poetry at the time. I was 20 when I wrote my first performance poem it was titled “Black vs Black” and it was about black on black crime.

If you had to describe your poetry how would you describe it?

Forgiving. Fun. To the point. Vulnerable. Relatable. Not too up there, not too down there but exactly where I need it to be to reach who I need it to reach.

What is your favorite poem that you wrote? why?

My favorite piece varies from performance to performance. It all depends on what I had the most fun performing that night or that day. I write all of my poems with the same amount of sincerity and confidence so I can’t pick a favorite because they all contain the same amount of love…To me picking a favorite poem is much like picking a favorite child, I just can’t do it.

Who are some of your favorite poets?

Mahogany Browne, William Evans, Edgar Allen Poe, Rudy Francisco, Andrea Gibson, David Blair, Jamal “Versiz” May, Sierra Demulder and plenty more. I love slam and performance poets so I named a few.

What inspires you to write poetry?

My strong desire for peace inspires me to write poetry.

Kai Mann

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March’s MBC Feature: Yusef Shakur @FromDaBottomUp #MWN

Yusef Shakur
In the 2nd edition of The Window 2 My Soul, Yusef Shakur invites readers to explore his remarkable journey of tragedy, triumph, and transformation. Yusef accounts the experiences of growing up in a single parent household that was plagued with alcohol and physical abuse. By the tender age of thirteen, Yusef would co-found one of Detroit’s most notorious street gangs Zone 8. Yusef highlights his rambunctious youth with gripping moments, such as being expelled from all Detroit Public Schools while being charged with numerous violent assaults and attempted murder. In prison before the age of 20, Shakur would meet behind bars the father he never knew.

Purchase Shakur’s much anticipated follow-up, My Soul Looks Back: Life After Incarceration HERE —> http://www.yusefshakur.org/store-2/window-2-my-soul/my-soul-looks-back/

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