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Poetry Pause

POETRY PAUSE: Harmless Observations With Jon Goode

Photo Credit: E. M. Pio Roda / CNN

Hailing from Richmond, Virginia, Jon Goode is an acclaimed poet and writer. His portfolio includes CNN’s Black In America, HBO’s Def Poetry, BET’s Lyric Cafe, commercials and interstitials for TVLand/Nick @ Nite and radio commercials for McDonalds. He has also done print work for Nike and Rolling Out Urban Style Weekly. He has toured the country extensively with his work and received rave reviews from the litany of venues, festivals, colleges and universities he’s appeared at. He has shared the stage with: Mos Def, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Common, Jamie Foxx, Musiq Soul Child, Will Downing, Ledisi, The Last Poets, Amiri Baraka, and a host of other amazing poets, comedians and entertainers. Jon’s work strikes a balance between comedy and levity that will have you laughing hysterically one minute and reflecting deeply upon statements made the next. He has been described as being somewhere between Gil Scott Heron and Bill Cosby, which is rarefied air and a wonderful place to be.

This is one of his harmless observations…

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Spoken Word & Music Fanatics: Verbal Slick “Live” Is The Place To Be

Verbal Slick Creator and Host Spinxx

On Friday night I got the opportunity to check out a really cool event called Verbal Slick “Live”. Verbal Slick is the brain child of Spinxx, who not only created the concept, but hosts the show as well. He is also a great spoken word artist. The concept of Verbal Slick is that of a variety show, but there is always a main feature.  Spinxx handpicks prominent and local comedians, poets, hip-hop artists and pop/neo soul singers to bless the mic. Verbal Slick is more than a show; it is a movement to bring quality entertainment back to Atlanta.

I had a great time at the show especially when my favorite poets, Cola Rum and Jon Goode, hit

Jon Goode

the stage.  I also laughed out of my seat when comedian Corwin O performed.  He was so funny and I absolutely loved his impromptu comedic style. Not many comedians can do that.

But the main feature, Ms. Julie Dexter, was simply amazing.  She is from Birmingham, England but now lives right here in Atlanta. Her style of music is jazzy with hints of funk looped throughout her main sound. Julie’s music is like magic, and she is super talented.  Before the show, we had a little chat (watch the video below) and I noticed that her aura was so peaceful. Ms. Dexter is not only a wonderful singer; she is also a beautiful spirit. We had a great interview and she even gave me an autographed CD. 🙂 You should check her at www.juliedexter.com. Purchase her CD, New Again. You will not be disappointed.

AOM's T. Monet and Rita, Owner of Soo Soo Tasty

Also, what I love about Verbal Slick is that Spinxx always has great vendors at his shows.  And at Friday night’s show, I met this amazing lady named Rita who has a cake/cupcake business, called Soo Soo Tasty.   She has some equally amazing cupcakes such as the lemon pound cake, Velvet Red made with Italian wine and my favorite, the Soo Soo Rita.  Rita says the Soo Soo Rita cupcake is her version of a Margarita drink, but in the form of a cupcake. It is made with real tequila, and it is yummy!  Check her out at www.soosootasty.com.

I highly recommend Verbal Slick for a girl’s night out, a date night, or if you just want to chill and see a good show.  You can get everything you need here:  food, desserts, entertainment, great people and good vibes!  For more information on the next event, you can friend Verbal Slick on Facebook!  Also, check out my backstage interview with Julie Dexter below.

Poet Cola Rum and T. Monet

Now, go live your life and meet some new people! This city is filled with wonderful events…all you need to do is show up! Follow me on twitter @tmonet and @aspireonline! View more photos here.

-T. Monet is Special Correspondent for AOM and The “HIGH UP”


Southern Fried Poetry Slam Sizzles

Queen Sheba

The 19th annual Southern Fried Poetry Slam 2011 brought the verbal heat to Atlanta this weekend. The Castbleberry Hill district was on fire with the baddest poets from across the south.  This is the largest poetry slam in the south and Atlanta was honored to be the host city this year for the first time ever!  To put it all into perspective, think of it this event like the “Olympics” of poetry. Everyone deserved a medal.

Thirty-six teams and eighteen independent poets, who are called indies, traveled to Atlanta to compete for the slam champion crown!  And it was well worth the trip, because there was over 7,500 dollars in cash and prizes to claim in exchange for verbal talent. And guess what the prizes were? Moon pies and RC colas! It is a southern fried tradition, but one of the organizers, Queen Sheba is calling for a change for the 20th  annual slam and suggests they use  snickers to replace the moon pies.  Sheba, Sheba, the rule breaker.  🙂

So, here is how it worked.  A little slam education:  In order to qualify for the finals, the teams and individual poets had to compete in at least three bouts from June 8th to June 10th.  The four teams and the four indies with the highest overall score went on to the finals.  The four teams with the highest scores were Chaos Theory, Sacred Sounds, Slam Charlotte and Java Monkey. The four indie poets were Bluz, Cuban, Reggie and G.

With such an intense competition, there were other activities on the agenda for the poets and other participants to do so they could relax and enjoy. They could choose from a long list of fun activities like a cookout, workshops, community service, Zumba, yoga, morning jogs, and late night open mics. This was truly more than an event; it was an experience!

Okay, I won’t make you wait any longer! The Saturday night battle was bananas, and the atmosphere was charged with so much positive and intellectual energy. I could feel it the moment I walked into the room.  The ballroom was packed from wall to wall, and there was only standing room, all for the love of poetry!   I have never seen anything like it!  The poet’s words owned the room and for that moment, it was you, the poets and the stage.  Everybody else disappeared. All the poets poured their hearts and souls onto the stage. You could feel their words, their pain, their fear, their happiness and their joy as the ink from their pen came to life.  I am so serious when I say that I literally experienced every emotion humanly possible that night!  And then, just like that, we were down to the final two poems.  The battle was intense until the very end and then it was over!  The winners were announced. The 2011 team slam champions are Java Monkey from Atlanta, Georgia and the indie poet winner is, G  (George Ya Mazawa) from Durham, NorthCarolina.  Congrats to all the poets, it was well deserved!

T. Monet poses with Java Monkey

My final thoughts:  This event was very well organized, and well thought out. It takes a lot to be able to handle such an event of this magnitude and the Atlanta team pulled it off.  They were very professional, as well as all the volunteers.   Shouts out to the Atlanta organizers; Queen Sheba, Dorian (Paul D) Rogers, Akinbiyi (Shadow) Sawyer, Walter (Wally B) Jennings and Keith (Keboi) Rodgers, founder of Black on Black Rhyme. Job well done, my friends!

The next annual Southern Fried Poetry Slam will be held in Tampa, Florida next year. Tampa will have big shoes to fill, but I am confident the torch of excellence will be passed on.  I give this event 4 ½ stilettos!

Also, look out for my exclusive interviews with some of the teams!  Follow me on twitter @tmonet and @aspireonline!

See photos of the entire event at southernfriedpoetryslam.com.

-T. Monet is Special Correspondent for AOM and The “HIGH UP”. 


It’s Goin’ Down at the 19th Annual Southern Fried Poetry Slam

As I am typing, I can’t even contain my excitement! And after you read what is about to go down in the “A” this weekend, you will be excited too! This weekend marks the first time ever, one of the hottest poetry slams will  hit the ATL. That’s right people the 19th Annual Southern Fried Poetry Slam is in the building!

So, last night,  I hung with a few of the organizers and poets at the kick off mixer for Southern Fried Poetry Slam in Castleberry Hill, and let me just say, you all are in for a treat. One of the organizers and rock star poet, Queen Sheba, says that they are expecting about 2000 people here from all over the southern region for the slam.  And you, my friend, might want to be in that number. In Queen Sheba ’s words: “You have never seen anything like this before, and you never will again if you miss!” And this is from a person who has traveled the world and has been to tons of slams, so listen up!

Here is how it works:  36 teams will be competing to be one of the four final groups that will hit the stage on Saturday night to compete for $7,500 dollas. Nope, not a typo; I said dollas! So, starting today through Friday, each team will have to compete in at least three bouts, and the four teams out of the 36 with the highest score will be on the final stage! And I will be there, front and center to witness it all. I included a link at the bottom of this post that lists the schedule, times, places and prices for this awesome event!

So, it’s settled. I will see you there!  Also, I will be reporting live from the pink carpet, interviewing guests and performers. I want your feedback, so stop by and see me!

Learn more about the slam here!

-T. Monet is Special Correspondent for AOM and The “HIGH UP”


Verbal Slick…Not Your Average Poetry Slam

So I walked up to this building that resembles a historic church and I asked the greeters waiting outside if the landmark I am standing in front is Blue Mark Studios. They both chimed in “Yes it is!” and directed me to the double doors. I hastily climbed the stairs and once inside it felt as though I had literally stepped into another world. The lighting was hypnotic and created the perfect atmosphere for what was about to take place. I saw T-shirts and gift bags bearing the logo of one of the most talked about events in Atlanta. 9:15pm…showtime! Spinxx takes to the stage after his band opens with a selection of familiar tunes. The audience was entranced as each artist belted out pop and neo style songs while the comedians had the guests crying with laughter. I didn’t know the people sitting on either side of me but we were all in agreement that the entertainment was on point. The spoken word artists showed no mercy as they covered every social topic from race to sexuality to growing up in the hood.

It was a beautiful sight to behold – so much talent under one roof. The downstairs portion of the venue crawled with guests who took a few minutes to shop with vendors and couples who posed for their photo. There was this amazing energy that if you happened to be a first timer, made you wonder why you hadn’t known about this regal affair before. The entire evening and its success is credited to Spinxx¸ a well respected spoken word artist and creator of Verbal Slick. The showcase has been an Atlanta craze for over ten years and is expected to become one of the largest events in the south. Read more about the man behind this “Lyrical Phenomenom” in our AOM Exclusive!

-N. Renee