Outspoken Bean (Poet):
Emanuelee “Outspoken Bean” is a performance poet, writer, compassionate mentor, electric entertainer, and educator. Bean travels the country performing his original works and inspiring creative minds. He is a 2011 Texas Poet Laureate nominee, ranked 9th in the Individual World Poetry Slam 2013, ranked 2nd in collaborative poetry at Group Piece Finals 2013 and, is ranked 11th at National Poetry Slam 2014 (both with Houston VIP). Bean has also worked with the Harris County Department of Education, Houston’s Young Audiences: Arts for Learning and Texas Commission for the Arts, Houston Grand Opera, and coached Miami’s youth poetry slam team, Tiger-tail WordSpeak in the summer 2016. He serves as the Project Coordinator, Lead Coach, and mentor for Meta-Four Houston, a project under Writers in the Schools’ WITS Performance program. Through this program, professional slam poets encourage self expression and literacy among Houston’s youth through creative writing and performance.
Loyce Gayo (Poet):
Loyce Gayo is a Tanzanian born slam poet, singer, teaching artist and activist who is currently based in Houston, TX. Gayo is profoundly influenced by her experience in the African Diaspora and uses her craft to celebrate the journey of a people dispersed. She also uses her voice to advocate for the empowerment of marginalized people by supporting local efforts and organizations. Gayo was the slam champion of the UT Spitshine poetry slam team who won the 2014 Collegiate Union Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI). Her work has been featured on Button Poetry, Write About Now, Badilisha Poetry, and PBS. She also teaches creative writing for Writers in the Schools, Houston.
Asia Rainey (Poet):
Asia Rainey is a poet, actress, musician, visual artist, activist, community advocate, mentor to young writers, and playwright. As a spoken word artist and vocalist, she has been welcomed as a featured and guest performer at numerous events, festivals, benefits, and educational institutions around the country, including as a poet and speaker at the Amnesty International Annual General Meeting (representing the work of Howard Zinn), New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Seattle BiLocal Fest, the Emancipate Tour (NY) and many others. She was a member of the New Orleans National Poetry Slam Team in 2005. As a performance artist, she has shared stages with artists such as Sonia Sanchez, Gloria Steinem, Kerry Washington, Saul Williams, the Last Poets, Common and others, who all helped to challenge her creative goals. In August 2014, she traveled to Turkey as an ambassador for spoken word in Beyoglu, Istanbul.
Kataalyst Alcindor (Poet):
Kataalyst Alcindor is a New Orleanian poet whose work focuses on the people, culture, and history of his native city. He is a founding member of the spoken word club Slam New Orleans, a three-time National Poetry Slam Champion, and one of the Big Easy's most influential young voices. He was the only poet chosen from thousands of submissions to appear on the second season of Lexus sponsored television show Verse & Flow; a season that earned the show a NAACP Image Award nomination. He recently published a collection of poetry called ‘Marrero.’ He also performed in on PBS'S "The Tavis Smiley Show" in honor of the tenth year commemoration of Hurricane Katrina.
Ebony Stewart (Poet):
Ebony Stewart is an international touring performance arts spoken word poet and active artist from Central Texas. She has coached Austin Neo Soul and Austin Poetry Slam, finishing 1st and 5th at the National Poetry Slam and They Speak Youth Slam finishing 8th in the world at Brave New Voices. The only adult female three-time Slam Champion in Austin, Texas has shared stages with many brilliant artists including the late Amiri Baraka. In 2015, Ebony Stewart debuted her one-woman show, Hunger, which was nominated for a B. Iden Payne Award for Outstanding Original Script and won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama and the Austin Critics’ Table David Mark Cohen New Play Award for original script.
Sha'Condria "iCON" Sibley (Poet):
iCon is a nationally-acclaimed championship poet/spoken word and multi-disciplinary teaching artist. As a founding member of Slam New Orleans, she has helped the team win multiple regional and national titles, solidifying them as a “dynasty” in the world of slam poetry while going on to make a name for herself as an individual artist and one of the top-ranked female slam poets in the world. In efforts to reunite and revitalize the post-Katrina New Orleans poetry community, iCon, co-founded the Write!NOLA Festival (2011-12) with Asia Rainey. In 2014, iCon partnered with the Alexandria Museum of Art to become the host and organizer of the Rhythm & Rhymes Spoken Word Performing Arts Series, which includes open mic shows as well as poetry workshops for youth and adults. She also works as a teaching artist with Sankofa Cultural Collective and teaching poetry to inmates at a maximum security federal correctional facility.
Harrison Guy (Choreographer):
Harrison Guy is a dancer and choreographer from La Marque, TX who has captivated audiences across the nation through his inspirational and unique works of passion, beauty, and activism that’s rooted in African American culture. He studied dance at Prairie View A&M University under the artistic direction of Kenneth Epting and Paula Williams. In 2004, Harrison debuted his dance company Urban Souls Dance Company at the city-wide dance festival, Dance Houston. Since the inaugural performance, he has lead Urban Souls to win the dance Houston award and best artistic achievement honors in both 2005 and 2006. In 2008, Urban Souls was awarded best choreography at the Houston Black Dance Festival and Best Choreography and The Audience Pick Award at Dance Houston. Harrison has gained a reputation for creating soul stirring works that shifts the consciousness of the audience. He has facilitated a cultural exchange in Kigali, Rawanda and was commissioned to create a work at Vanderbilt University in the Spring of 2015 to honor one of America’s most prominent composers, John Harbison. This year he launched Houston's first African American Dance Festival and he is currently one of Houston's 12 Individual artist grant recipients.
Reginald C. Adams (Visual Artist):
Reginald C. Adams is a public artist, artrepreneur and community developer who has facilitated the design, coordination and production over 200 public art projects over the last 20 years. He is best known for his award winning tile mosaic murals, sculptures and art installations, which are strategically located in some of Houston’s most historic and under served neighborhoods. His creativity and approach to his artwork is inspired by his travels to more than 28 countries around the globe. Reginald fundamentally believes that everyone deserves access and exposure to the arts and strives to engage the general public in the design and production of his public art projects. In 2010, the Houston Press honored Reginald with their annual Mastermind Award, an honor recognizing creative professionals that are making a significant impact on the city of Houston through the arts. He was recently honored by the Houston Business Journal as one of Houston’s 2012 top 40 Under 40 business executives.
Walter Hull (Choreographer):
Over the last 12 years, Walter has strengthened his commitment to mentoring young men of color, and created the Village Responsibility Mentoring Model for the U.S. Dream Academy. His work in youth development and mentoring has earned him an appointment on the Harris County Juvenile Detention Alternative Committee (JDAI), designed to reduce the confinement of court-involved youth. He is also the Regional Program Director for the U.S. Dream Academy, overseeing ten after-school and mentoring programs across the country. Walter also assisted in the design of Urban Souls Dance Company, founded by Harrison Guy, and founded the U.R.B.A.N. Kids Initiative, which partners with a number of schools and arts organizations to expose students to the power of movement through African American culture. In 2010, Walter created a partnership with Ishyo Arts Centre in Kigali, Rwanda. Through this partners he worked with a variety of dancer artists in Rwanda and Congo. Each of Walter’s experiences and skill sets have contributed to his ongoing work in the arts and Youth Development.