Newark’s Native Son TAALAM ACEY Presents SPOKEN WORD APEX, An Incredible Evening of Performance Poetry
With 17 CD's and eight books to his credit, the globe-spanning, award-winning, Newark-born, Georgia-based poet/curator Taalam Acey – "The Godfather of Spoken Word" – is one of the most impactful and inspirational artists of our time. Acey returns home to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center's (NJPAC's) Victoria Theater, 1 Center
Street in Newark, on Friday, September 8, 2023 at 8:00 pm to curate Spoken Word Apex, an electrifying night of spoken word poetry from several world-renowned poets assembled by Acey including, Theresa Tha SONGBIRD, K-Love, 13 of Nazareth, and Ed Mabrey. Those poets will be supported by DJ Doughboy, visual performing artist Iyaba IBO Mandingo and the evening's host will be actress/poet Narubi Selah.
"Spoken Word Apex brings together some of performance poetry's most acclaimed artists for an epic, immersive live experience, " says Acey, the event's executive producer. "I have assembled the best of the best to compose an indelible blend of pure emotion and transformative impact. This will be one of Spoken Word's most ionic nights."
The poets Acey selected for this special night represent the vivid and varied talents on the spoken word scene today: Theresa Tha SONGBIRD, a GRAMMY -nominated poet, vocalist and writer, is famous for her iconic poem You So Black. She also wrote a children's book version of the poem, along with another book, Mass Matter Magic and a spoken word musical, The 4 Birds. She has also performed and recorded with The Last Poets, Nikki Giovanni and Robert Glasper.
Chicago poet and motivational speaker K-Love, aka K Love The Poet, first appeared on the Windy City scene in 2003 and co-founded LYRIC Mentoring (Let Your Rhymes Inspire Creativity), a youth-based grassroots company in Chicago in 2009. She shared the stage with Jesse Jackson, Angela Davis and Common and worked with The Last Poets, J.Ivy, Talib Kweli and Jasmine Sullivan. Her poem, "Million Dollar Melanin, " about colorism in Black families, drew over one million hits online. Her books include Poster Girl and For Smart Mouth Girls, a children's book of affirmations. She is currently touring on her Art of Sistahood Tour.
Virginia's poet/MC 13 of Nazareth's work covers a wide range of subjects, from epilepsy and racism to police brutality. He has produced eight CD's including his 2014 release, Words Made Flesh. He currently hosts an Open Mic Night at the world-famous Busboys & Poets in Arlington, VA.
The most successful poet in the history of poetry slam, the Ohio-raised, L.A. Based, Emmy-nominated poet/actor Ed Mabrey has garnered 500 wins, which include four World Championships and six Regional Championships. Mabrey was an NAACP Image Award Nominee and 2019 APCA Spoken Word Artist of the Year. He's been featured on ABC, FOX, HBO, CNN and TV One. His
recordings include The Black Pearl Sessions and Undressed.
Newark native and Fairleigh Dickinson alum DJ Doughboy, who worked with many hip-hop stars including Queen Latifah and The Refugee Camp (Lauryn Hill, Wycliffe Jean and Pras), provides the music for the evening's show. He has been featured on BET, MTV and Showtime and spins for 50 million listeners on the cable music channel Music Choice.
The evening's visuals are courtesy of Antiguan/West Indian visual artist/poet Iyaba Ibo Mandingo, who studied fine arts at Southern Connecticut State University, and has presented his artistry throughout the African Diaspora.
The evening's host, Narubi Selah, has starred, written and co-directed in many off-Broadway productions. She won the first NJ Poetry Slam grand champion, and was featured on HBO's Def Poetry Jam, New Jersey Network (NJN) and the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans.
Taalam Acey grew up surrounded by all aspects of Black culture, and was particularly influenced by Gil Scot-Heron, The Last Poets and the work of Amiri Baraka. His parents were members of the organization, The Committee for Unified Newark (CFUN). Acey attended Rutgers University, where he later became a finance and accounting lecturer. But it was the wins of slam poet Jessica Care Moore at The Apollo Theater in the mid 90s and the movie Love Jones that inspired Acey to become a full-time poet. He took poetry reading at a club called Bogies East Orange and was presenting his work at the Nuyorican Cafe in Manhattan in 1999.
Acey's poetry has been featured on TV One, the Documentary Channel, BET and The 5ive. His poetry has appeared in Essence magazine and he's performed at The Essence Festival in New Orleans. Acey was a curator of the 2012 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival (the largest poetry gathering in North America), worked with The Congressional Black Caucus and was the first presenter for the inaugural Baltimore TEDx Talk. He also was the guest curator of the 2011 Sacred Circle Cafe at NJPAC in Newark. Acey has recorded 17 CDs, and authored seven books including Excellent Exposure, Essays and Poems. His two most well-known poems are, "God's Work" and "She Conjurez."
For Acey, this homecoming provides him with a chance to showcase what makes spoken word poetry the dynamic artform it is. "I have always held that spoken word is among the most spiritual and impactful of art forms, " Acey recently said to NJNarts.net. "The best performance poets can move you to
laughter and/or tears, and help you find a new lease on life. At the highest level, it's not recitation or performance. It's energy transfer."
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