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Spoken Word

Vandous Stripling II performs “To Be” (Written by: Akin Babatunde)

“Follow the Spirit” by Olga Manuilova

“The Mirror” by Kanyla N Wilson

The Mirror is a short tale about good and evil, and what happens when both sides meet in the middle.

Download "The Mirror"

“In the Time of Corona: Emerging From The Wind” by Atlas Brown

Download "In the Time of Corona: Emerging From The Wind”

“Black Matter” by Jordan Camille McCrary

Monologue ‘Black Matter’ performed by Jordan McCrary

“Dear Mom” and “A GIRL” by Kimberly Higareda

It is a perspective done for KQED and a story based on true events.

“Black Lives Matter” by Zita Holbourne


“Y for Yelp” by Emori Reece

This piece is a cry out to trauma, pain, & truth.

“These People.” by Kennedi Sky


Three Works by Cliff Blake

Would You? An original song written for an MLK event. A new view of Langston Hughes’ America. Asks the vital question… ”What are you doing, Today” — spoken word piece presented at the 2020 Atlanta Black Theatre Festival.

“Sisters Without A Mother” by Iwa kruczkowska

The paintings were created under the influence of my travels and meetings with people. They are an expression of admiration and deep respect for other cultures, nationalities and religions.

“Creating in this Time/ Rage” by Fynta Sidime

My piece explores identity, art and asks question about living and creating in this time.

“Crown Care” by Amaiya Sims

For black people across the globe, their hair is their heritage, their identity, their crown. Black hair needs extra care and time in order to tend to each coil, curl, and wave. Many African Americans spend hours in salons and barbershops perfecting their styles and they take pride in wearing their natural hair, braids, locs, fades, wigs, and extensions. Black people have also been unable to graduate, had championship titles stripped from them, and even fired over this beautiful form of self-expression.


Many organizations and legislators are calling for change with what is known as the CROWN Act, an acronym for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. The law will forbid discrimination at jobs, schools, and public spaces based on hairstyles worn by people of color. Dove is a major pillar within this movement as the company co-founded the Crown Coalition. As many Generation Z consumers use their purchasing power to support brands that make a political stance2, Dove will create a haircare line known as Crown Care to capture the zeitgeist of the Crown Act movement.


This inclusion of the Crown Act movement, as a social and cultural phenomenon, allows Dove to develop a luxury haircare line for African American men and women, while at the same time maintaining their brand authenticity, of being a beauty company that produces quality products. This collection will consist of five products that will be launched in an omni- channel rollout at Ulta and black-owned beauty supply stores. The goal of this zeitgeist inspired line is to elevate the pre-existing Dove Amplified Textures collection into an online and in-store merchandising campaign advocating for those who have faced hair discrimination, expand Dove’s target market to be more inclusive of African Americans, and increase support for the Crown Act.

Download "Crown Care"

“A Woman’s Perspective” by Melvina Douse

A Woman’s Perspective is a realistic drama born from the reality that often women of color are left out of the narrative concerning violence. A Woman’s Perspective is a short play that tells the story of how violent acts against people of color have impacted the narrator as a woman. The narrator displays her feelings and the traumatic impact she feels by highlighting several of the crimes that have impacted her the most involving law enforcement and violent crimes.


The post traumatic stress that bearing witness to these acts has established among women of color is explored and told using the true stories of individuals like Breonna Taylor and George Floyd that died due to violent circumstances.The play drives the story home using well-known events that propelled the conversation of systemic racism in recent times.

Download "A Woman's Perspective"

“The Coloring Book” by Jai’lyn

Malcom X noted the black woman as the most “disrespected, unprotected, and neglected person in America”, and that statement still stands true to this day. My poem reflects on black women and how colorism affects our being. It is important that we shed light on one another when our magic can be dimmed by our own.

Download "The Coloring Book"

“Let Me Rest” by Emily M. Newsome

Spoken word recitation written in response to the unrelenting onslaught of the injustices of 2020.

“Angry Black Woman” by Sherna Phillips

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“Again and Again” by Felicia Taylor E.

Poetry. A poem about the continual pattern of deaths in our community that happen so frequently we can heal to grieve the next. And the realization that we must be strong together and not give up with the injustices that continue to occur. And our voices and expressions need to be shared to infuse each other to work together for changes in our communities and country.

Download "Again and Again"

“The Secret Place” by Sandra Jackson-Opoku

In the 18th century village of Chicago, a young artist discovers a magic power that sends her into a 20th century Black Lives Matter protest.

Download "The Secret Place"

“Tired” by Shaneisha Dodson

Tired is a monologue written from a black woman’s perspective that explains her feeling toward the current climate revolving around social injustice.

Download "Tired"

“A.R.T. Activism Resistance Triumph” by Sister mama Sonya

Submitted by Sister Mama Sonya. This poetic expression explores how our A.R.T. is a reflection of our everyday life. This informal reading takes place on the porch in an artist community in Third Ward Houston TX amidst the sounds of chimes twinkling in harmony with my words while children are playing outside, their mothers lovingly correcting and caring, with motorcycles blazing along with other sounds of our everyday life.  Our ART is not just relegated to a museum, a concert hall, or a dance studio. Our A.R.T. is an expression of the total community and is a total sensory perception and experience. 2020 has challenged artists to explore their relationship and significance throughout these turbulent times. A.R.T. checks 2020 and its happenings.

“HOLYCITY” by Damen Morris

My hood is Holy. Not in the religious but in the infamous sense. Holy City, from Cermak to Roosevelt, from Pulaski to Homan, is known for showing “No Pity” on anyone outside of its four block radius. If you’re brave enough I want you to take a walk with me as I navigate through my old neighborhood, this place where “21st No Worse” ,”One Way”, “Da Lou”, to name a few fought hard to maintain their identity.

Holy City was the safest when we had a strip of black-owned businesses along the 16th street corridor. It was safest for me when my grandmother, the backbone of the family, was still living. they [The black-owned businesses] were the driving force behind family reunions and block club parties; and the street organizations had structure, and they had respect for those who were neutral.

 Now that those key factors in our safety had left us. No one, no place feels safe. Now “Neutrality” can make you an innocent bystander.” Survival of the fittest” is the code. Which has created internal conflict among the families in our once close-knit community. So now we have very few neighbors left in our neighborhood.

Download "Holycity"

“These Un-United States” by Diana Rhodes

A perspective on the state of our states.

“Dear America” by Chizaram Izima

2020 has been nonetheless an eye-opening year for us all. Ideals of America that mirrored perfection were finally being debunked and brought into light. This spoken word is my letter to America. It showcases the dichotomy in which America has given my family and I a lot at Nigerians, but still recognizing its malicious past full of pain and oppression which it seems like we haven’t had much change from. I hope through this poem, you can see both sides and push America to do better and keep its promise on delivering “justice for all”.

“Excuse Us Ms. Colvin” by B. J. (Betty) Holmes

A skit that summarizes the role that an unsugn hero played in the civil rights movement in the 1950’s.

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“I Am” by Imani Nyame

My mind goes blank when asked to describe myself in a few words because it is to my understanding, especially as an artist, that I am in a constant state of evolution. This “Who Am I?” is an embodiment of all the affirmations that guide me each day into being and becoming the person I know that I can be with absolutely no limitations.

“Perfect Vision” by Joan McCarty

A young girl from Chicago struggles to go to college amid the pandemic. A surprise visit from her grandmother helps her see her own self-worth. dead grandmother

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“Yo Mama” by Sharon D Epps

Addressing where systematic racism begins.

“Four Numbers, Four Syllables: 2020” by Taylor Parker

I wrote this piece around this time last year. Life was already extremely overwhelming at the time due to COVID-19 & quarantine but then there was also a surplus of death & police brutality against African-Americans. This poem describes all the hardships & adversities we, specifically black people, went through during the challenging year 2020.

Download "Four Numbers, Four Syllables: 2020"

“The Summer of Song” by Aida Ndiaye

It’s a short story that takes place in Oakland, CA. It’s about a girl named Zina who lives across the street from this family that moved in. She befriends the girl that lives there and they start to hang out for often. When Zina, and her newfound friend from China go to get Zina vaccinated, Tanny, Zina’s friend, get’s racially profiled. Zina lies to the man to stop him from going any further.

Download "The Summer of Song"

“Are We Having A Revolution, Or Is It Something Else” by Cristee Cook

A poem about what it’s like to be a black mother in America, from the perspective of a white mother.

Download "Are We Having a Revolution, Or Is It Something Else"

“Normal Kid Stuff” by Cristee Cook

Download "Normal Kid Stuff"

“America” by Jade Coleman

This piece is my take on America. All of the injustices that we as black people face in America. We will continue to push for justice and until we receive it we will not back down.

“Covid Masks” by Vincent L Mason

Download "Covid Masks"

“Tired Blood” by Shemetra Carter

A Black woman thinks she’s turning into a White woman.

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“Zemill & Brotha Deep Speak – The Audacity of Truth” by Efrem Zemill

A compilation of socially conscious, spoken work and the many shades of love. It is an auto-biographical interview of my life and culminates with an inspiring motivational message! I hope you enjoy!

“Untitled #1” by Tim Rhoze

The author’s response to the Murdering of Black People

“The Circle Will Remain Unbroken” by Deitrah Joye Taylor

I am a public historian and dramaturg. This is my narrative of reunion after COVID 19

Download "The Circle Will Remain Unbroken"

“Killing Ourselves” by Mariot Valcin Jr.

A memoir and charge regarding infighting.

Download "Killing Ourselves"

“BLM: Hear My Voice” by Sean Avery

I was inspired to write this poem a few months after the murder of George Floyd for a free response, English project.

Download "BLM: Hear My Voice"

“T W E N T Y – T W E N T Y – T O G E T H E R” by Nafissatou Ndiaye

It’s a poem about how we have come over 2020 and how we have high hopes for this year.

“Cascade” by Kimberly Jae

The spoken word poem, Cascade, is a critical look at police brutality. This spoken word performance is by world ranked slam poet Kimberly Jae.

“The Pulse” by Lillian Rivas

This piece was a collaboration between me and my whole family. I was very excited when I heard about this project and wanted to share it with the people around me. The words were written by my mother and the percussion was written by my. My sisters helped with the recording of the instruments. And my grandma filmed our visuals. 

“Black Lives Matter Poetry Collection” by Patiance Wiley

A collection of poetry written through the turmoil of the black lives matter movement within quarantine.

Download "Black Lives Matter Poetry Collection"

“Can’t Sleep” by Jazzma Pryor

I wrote this one night when I couldn’t sleep because of the fear my boyfriend would not make it home the next day. I laid in bed listening to him snore. Although annoying, I wondered if it would be the last time I heard him breathe.

“Agony” by Louis Williams III

Somewhere in the meeting space between black rage and white apathy, this poem was born. Unbelievably angered at the flippancy that folk have at the disappearances of his sisters, this little black boy decided to pen his “Agony”.

Download "Agony"

“The ’19 Stages of Mercury” by Ashley Sanders

This is a short story about a young lady living in Atlanta during the riots of 2020. She felt the strong emotions that came from anger and hopelessness and blindly joined the crowd of rioters to spread awareness. She wanted everyone to hear her voice that night. The fear and anger of 2020 had driven her into doing something she never thought she could do. She wanted to tell her story to others that are willing to listen. She also wants to ask you a question…How close are you to going mad?

Download "19 Stages of Mercury"

“I Believe” by Nya Smith

My spoken word is a view of reality that I believed at a young age.

“Set Trippin” by Valerie Udeozor

Artist’s description: “A seven minute expression through monologues/spoken word /rap that expresses the feelings of four young adults and how they found positives through the double pandemic of 2020.”

“Like Flutter from a Black Butterfly” An original poem recitation by Durell Cooper ’08

“Trash: Chauvin” by Everton Ferreira de Melo

“A short film poem about the first trial on Derek Chauvin in 2020 and its results on the feeling of people of color in the USA.” Directed by Everton Melo and Tammy Gomez; Written by Tammy Gomez; Edited by Everton Melo

“Budda Pecan Nuyorican Discertation” by Vida Landron

“The Strange Fruit and the Mountain” by Sheyenne Javonne Brown

“If Knees Could Talk”

Submitted by Dr. Mark G. Henderson, Interim Chair in the Department of Speech Communication and Theatre at Jackson State University. Starring acting troupe MADDRAMA.

“James Baldwin, Circa 1987” by SMU Student Marquis D. Gibson

A contemporary reimagining of James Baldwin’s final interview with Quincy Troupe in St. Paul de Vence, France.

“1-Neet-Kat” by Gil Pritchett

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