HBO Def Poetry Slam at RIT, April 18
April 13, 2003
by Silandara Bartlett
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Rochester Institute of Technology will host the HBO Def Poetry Slam, at 8 p.m. on April 18.
Headlined by poets Bassey, Roger Bonair-Agard and muMs (of HBO’s Oz), student poets from RIT and the University of Rochester will open the show held in the RIT Student Alumni Union cafeteria. RIT’s Black Awareness Coordinating Committee and College Activities Board are sponsoring the event.
Bassey was born in Ikom, Nigeria, and grew up in Stillwater, Okla., and Washington, DC. She was on the cast of BET’s Teen Summit in high school; co-founded a nonprofit arts collective, Spoken World, in college; and was a founding member of the Starvin’ Artists Entertainment production company. She has opened for world-renowned writer Sonia Sanchez, recording group Les Nubians and India.Arie. A regular at the Nuyorican Poets Café, she was a member of two critically acclaimed National Slam teams in 2000 and 2001 and a featured performer in the NYCslams CD and video compilation.
Roger Bonair Agard is a native of Trinidad and Tobago. The co-author of Burning Down the House (Soft Skull Press), he has been widely anthologized and has published in Black Issues Review. He was named the Nuyorican Poet Café’s Fresh Poet of the Year and won a team championship at the National Poetry Slam in 1998 and individual championship in 1999. He has appeared on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour and CBS’ 60 minutes and performs at colleges, clubs and festivals worldwide. He co-founded the louderARTS project, which runs reading series in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Bronx-born Craig Grant, the artist known as muMs is an actor, writer, poet and activist. He is the poet in the Emmy-nominated HBO prison drama, OZ, where his original poetic creations serve as the universal narrative voice for the prison population. He has performed across the United States and Europe and has published in The Source and The Quarterly Black Review. He performed as part of the New York slam team that was the focus of the documentary, Slamnation.
Tickets for the show – $5 for students with ID and $10 for the public – are for sale at the BACC and CAB offices in the Student Alumni Union and at the door. Doors open at 7 p.m.
For more information, contact BACC at 475-5624 or CAB at 475-2509. For directions, contact the RIT information desk at 475-6991.