Slam Poets Shaking Up The World

Slam Poets Shaking Up The World

There are many poets out there, but the select few on this list make it their mission to preach their truth and wake up their audience.
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Slam Poets are the revolutionary voice of this generation, not Hip-Hop artists or whatever Pop artists that get a ton of fame from music. The poets that "share their naked feelings with the world" Abiodun Oyewole said are who we have to give us the real news of current events. These poets are exuberant with their blackness and are not asking for anything, simply telling you what's going on in a different way than you've heard before.

Kearmonie

A Brooklyn native that uses her tools of poetry to tackle issues blowing away the minds all misogynistic people. Sharing her work in the slam world as a member of the 2016 Brooklyn College Slam Team, Kearmonie is a force to be reckoned with. Here's what Harriet Tubman would think about being put on the $20 bill.

Gabriel Ramirez

A phenom to slam poetry ever since the winning the Knicks Poetry Slam in 2012 Gabriel Ramirez speaks on life issues that'll make you empathize with him regardless of your age. A proud Afro-latino unapologetic with his message and continuation of being an embodiment of kindness.

Ashley August

2013 New York City Youth poet Laureate Ashley August takes the stage of the Bowery Poetry Cafe and dominates the competition(while also most nights hosting the event Monday nights). Her like the other poets on this list have been and continue to bring light to topics of life, not just as youth but challenges that effect individuals across the globe.

Timothy DuWhite

From Montclair State University to BRIC 2016 Slam Team in Brooklyn Timothy has left crowds ravving for more of his storytelling. Timothy is the definition of making a way when it seems no road has been paved for you. An activist, protestor, creative writing mentor, proud member of LGBTQ community, Timothy is a self made giant.

Crystal Valentine

Hailing from the big apple, 2016 BRIC, 2015 NYU Slam Team member is an icon all on her own. With the title of 2015 NYC Youth Poet Laureate, one competition after the other Crystal holds nothing back on her opinions of trending topics, such as Donald Trump or anything defiling black people or women. She always delivers with a sense of urgency that'll leave you wanting more.

Savon Bartley

Home to North Chi-town, Savon, this student of hip-hop cultivated his poetry to speak his mind on mulitple platforms from 2014 Urban Word Slam team to coach of 2016 Montclair State Slam team, Savon is a versitle lyracist who can manipulate his words in astounding ways.

Taylor Steele

This 2015 Team No Name/Team Eboni (Urbana Slam Team coached by Eboni Hogan) Slam team member has held her own on whichever stage she graces. Taylor has a zero tolenrance attitude towards the hatred of white America and will be heard. This woman is an advocate of self resilliance and practices what she preaches.

Steven Willis

As a Nuyorican Poets Cafe 2015 Slam Team member Steven showed the Chi-New York connection stronger than ever by delivering mind bending alliterations and metaphors to convey the meaning of what it is to be a black man in America, from the talk and walk to who we have to look up. Steven has crafted his poetry to be used as a tool in classrooms, formal and informal stages.

Anthony McPherson

Hard work, sweat and determination makes this 2016 BRIC slam poet a phenom, he's let his finished work define how much poetry matters. I call him Mc Pheezy, but he's a fresh and "woke" individual with so much power in the pen it'd be ridiculous to only call him a poet, a orchestator of words, Oklahoma city born, his talent belongs to the world now.

Cover Image Credit: knockturnalemissions

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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From The High School Athlete Who Walked Away, But Walked Away With So Much

From pep rallies to clutch game situations, we miss every second of it. But we walked away with a lot more than we could've ever asked for.

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High school was our prime time. Walking through the hall wearing your jersey or warm-ups on game day. Teachers telling you "good luck tonight, bring home the win." Getting to leave class early for away games. Going to pep rallies and being the center of attention. Practicing day in and day out. Eating, sleeping, and breathing your sport.

The endless hours of practices, the early mornings and late nights, the study groups and trying to keep up with your academics on top of prioritizing your physical shape and talent. It's what we lived for.

Two minutes left in the rivalry game at home court. Your team is up by two and it's crunch time. Coach puts you and the four kids you've grown insanely close with over the last 10 years into the game. You're told to run a man to man defense and not let number three get the ball, because if they do they're going to run the play you've studied at practice for the last week and try to score from the paint; tying the game. The ball gets passed to number three and you're guarding them harder than you've ever played defense before, a screen gets set so you have to switch with your trusty best friend, who you know has the best defense on the team. Your heart is pounding as number three goes up to take the buzzer-beating shot... but they get an offensive foul called on them, and that's the game. The crowd goes wild as the buzzer goes off and you and your teammates rush the center of the gym yelling, screaming, and rejoicing. The feeling you have in your heart is fuller than you've ever felt it before.

It's what we lived for.

It's the bottom of the 7th inning, and you're down by two runs. You've got a man on first and a man on third, with two outs. You're on deck waiting to go up to bat as your power hitter is fighting tooth and nail to get the ball on the ground. They've got two strikes and three balls. Your heart is beating out of your chest, and part of you is hoping they hit it over the fence so the pressure isn't so tough on you. The coach signals to lay a bunt down and all you can think is "why would he do that? Kiana never bunts." But you have no other choice but to trust in your coaches decisions, so when Kiana shockingly lays the bunt down you're in awe as the catcher can't get her face mask off quick enough to throw it to first base.

No runs were scored, and you know that it's up to you to win this game. You walk up to the plate and strike one flies by your face before you even have time to process it. You step out of the batter's box to try to calm your nerves, and your dad looks at you and tells you "You got this, just breathe." So you take one more practice swing and a deep breath, then you step back into the batter's box. You couldn't slow your heart rate down so now you're just running off of pride and focus. The next pitch comes and it's a ball. You knock your cleats off with your bat as the rain starts to pour down, and you're in a position to eye the next pitch.

At that moment, everything turns into slow motion.

You see coach standing at third base, giving no sign. You look back and see your dad in the bleachers, hoping and praying you can hit the base runners in. You've reminded yourself that this is one of your last high school ball games; it's your time to shine. As tingles trickle down your spine, the chaotic screams from the crowd and your teammates turn into distant sound. You smack the ball and before you realize it, you're hitting the inner corner of third base with your right foot yelling at the person in front of you to run faster because you have no idea where the ball went, and coach was just telling you to run. Everyone is waiting for you at home plate because you had just won the game. They're slapping the top of your helmet and screaming your name, while the crowd is banging on the fence.

It's what we lived for.

We lived for the three-hour long Saturday practices. We lived for two-hour bus rides. We lived for team breakfast and dinner. It fueled us to get through high school, and we loved every second of it.

Often, we reminisce. We think back to those buzzer beaters, home runs, and football games. We miss it more than you could ever imagine.

But we walked away. Not because we didn't want to continue playing, but because it was time. It was time to start our lives, but we will never forget the moments, the memories, and some of the best times we have ever had.

Being an athlete is so much more than being strong, athletic, and quick on your feet. To us, being an athlete shaped our personalities. It helped us build characteristics that we still use to this day... and sometime in the future, we will build families and use the traits we learned as athletes to build a strong, successful career, and someday raise a little ballplayer of our own.

A big thanks go out to all my coaches and mentors that I was blessed with over the years. You shaped me, my future, and the rest of the generations that will come after me.

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