Sunday, September 08, 2013

Opening for Saul Williams 9/12; looking back at summer 2013

(Thursday, 9/12 at Icehouse in MPLS; click the image for ticket info; image taken from the internet)

I always want to be critical of anyone who is propped up as the "best" in any given community or medium. But Saul is just too good. If you've never seen him live, get your tickets now; you won't regret it. He's one of the most powerful, most transformative live performers you will ever see. And I'm opening.

It's a great way to wrap up what has turned out to be the busiest summer of my life. A quick review:

1. Released a new album (on vinyl and free digital download) called SIFU HOTMAN. I love it.

2. Spent the summer working with the MN Brave New Voices team, some of the most brilliant young poets I've ever had the pleasure of coaching. I'm beyond excited to continue working with Tish Jones to keep building the youth poetry movement in the TC. Check TruArtSpeaks for more.

3. Wrote 11 op-eds for Opine Season; along with site founder Matt Peiken and contributors Kao Kalia Yang, Ricardo Levins Morales, Vina Kay and others, propelled the site to be a force for hard-hitting op-eds in MN. Very proud of our work building something from the ground up, outside of established channels.

4. One of my Opine Season pieces was about Trayvon Martin and white people's role in the fight against racism. The piece got a ton of attention, and I ended up talking about white privilege and calling people "jerks" on MSNBC.

5. Shot seven new videos, released five of them so far:

6. Did an extensive website overhaul. Look around. Soak it in. Particularly proud of the updated "Resources" page.

7. Played a ton of shows, including the Red Hot Art & Music Festival, the Future History Festival, the Phillips Music Festival, the Grounds & Sounds Festival, the MN State Fair, another Hip Hop Against Homophobia installment, and a bunch more. Still making a living as an artist.

8. Also did my teaching artist thing consistently all summer, which is usually downtime. Too many to name, but I had the privilege of working with hundreds of young people in workshops, classes, facilitated discussions and more, here in MN and elsewhere. We talked about social justice, activism, identity & privilege, and of course poetry & performance. I take this side of my identity very seriously, and I'll be doing more residencies, workshops and alternative education stuff all year.

I'll be real: a lot of the stuff I do doesn't even make this list; it's behind the scenes stuff-- mentoring, organizing, consulting, etc. I work very hard. So if you're reading this, I appreciate it. I may not be your favorite MC, but I damn-well should be your favorite MC/poet/writer/media personality/content creator/educator person. Stay tuned for more.

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