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UW-Madison Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives to host Wisconsin Teen Slam

February 17, 2010

Twenty-one high school spoken-word artists from southern Wisconsin will participate in a finale competition at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26, at the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Memorial Union Theater, 800 Langdon St.

Featuring internationally renowned hip-hop theater artist Queen GodIs as host and featured performer, tickets are $5 for students and $10 general admission.

The finale, culminating from competitive semifinal slams at high schools and community centers in Milwaukee and the Madison area, will decide the members of the Wisconsin Grand Slam Poetry Team. This team will represent the state at the 13th Annual Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival in Los Angeles on July 19-25. Visit to learn more.

Convening the top young poets and spoken-word artists aged 13-19 from across the United States and beyond, Brave New Voices is a one-of-a-kind arts festival presented by Youth Speaks, the leading nonprofit presenter of spoken-word performance, education and youth-development programs in the country.

“Every year the youth poetry slams draw a more impressive pool of poets and spoken word artists,” says Katrina Flores, arts in education director for the UW–Madison Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives (OMAI), which helps host the events. “The art form is growing across the region with the help of our school and community partners, along with our UW–Madison First Wave students.”

The First Wave Spoken Word and Hip Hop Pre-Collegiate Program is OMAI’s signature high-school program. The First Wave pre-collegiate clubs meet one to two times per week and are part writing circle, part freestyle cypher and part vibe session. Facilitated by a teacher and a First Wave collegiate poet-mentor, the spoken-word groups are an avenue for artistic self-expression and academic growth.

High-school poets competing in this year’s finale include:

  • Adelejah Rashad, Bradley Technical High School, Milwaukee
  • Jordan Gaines, Dominican High School, Milwaukee
  • Marcelles Brown, Milwaukee High School of the Arts
  • Nakila Robinson, Milwaukee High School of the Arts
  • Davien Alston, Milwaukee High School of the Arts
  • Alexis Humphries, Milwaukee High School of the Arts
  • Genesis, Milwaukee High School of the Arts
  • Ashley Street, Milwaukee High School of the Arts
  • Emmitt Williams, Reagan High School, Milwaukee
  • Darien Power, Madison West High School
  • Jessica Ruiz, Madison West High School
  • Elyon (Ash) McNickle, Shabazz City High School, Madison
  • Shanon Holmes, Madison La Follette High School
  • Jenna Webster, Madison La Follette High School
  • Alicia Chavous, Madison Affiliated Alternative Programs
  • Tia Gilmore, Goodman-Atwood Community Centers Open Slam, Madison