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Dominique Ashaheed

Winner of 2012’s Women of the World Poetry Slam

Here in Colorado Springs(CO) there is a community of poets and artists called “Poetry 719” and they host poetry events called “Hear here”. I have been attending open mic nights and events for a few months and during each night there is a featured Poet to round off the night. Last night (04/14/2012) I was fortunate enough to experience the one of a kind work of Dominique Ashaheed (Featured Poet).

“Multi-faceted” hardly describes the celebrated talent of Dominique Ashaheed, but it’s a word that will have to do. In 1996 the volleyball star, after suffering an injury that kept her out of the Olympic games, still took center stage as a featured vocalist for the opening ceremonies.Toting double Masters degrees in English Lit and Education, Dominique has worked as an educator, cultural media director, children’s advocate, and non-profit director (currently for Peace Jam).As a poet and jazz/R&B vocalist, she has shared stages with artists like Joe Bonner, the Flobots, Dead Prez, Saul Williams, Liza Garza, and Staceyann Chin.

Dominique began slamming in February 2011 when longtime friend and nationally recognized poet, Ayinde Russell coaxed her into trying. Within a month she qualified herself for the Slam Nuba team that went on to win the title in August 2011 and then seven months later she claimed the National title again at the Women of the World Poetry Slam Championship held in Denver, Colorado March 2012. She is presently the only person to hold two national titles at the same time.

I was able to shoot video of her performance which I will now share with you. This is one of the pieces she performed for us titled “Emmett Till”. It was one of the strongest pieces I’ve ever been able to witness and im proud to be able to share it with you all. In the video Ashaheed detailed the history and motivation behind her poem “Emmett Till” and follows it with a passionate performance of the piece.
(please watch the entire video to get the full impact…if for some reason you are crunched for time the poem starts at 7:00 minutes in the video)

Enjoy!

For more poetry, and information on Dominique Ashaheed please visit her site:   www.dominiquechristina.com

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