As professional women from across the country gather for Black Enterprise’s 7th Annual Women of Power Summit, lyricists gear up to showcase their talents in this year’s poetry jam. The poets will use words to uplift and inspire, culminating the first day of networking and entertainment for attendees. Here’s a look at the wordsmiths who will be performing.
Taalam Acey’s work has been featured frequently on TV One, BET, and in the pages of Essence magazine. The Newark, New Jersey native has performed at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, for the Congressional Black Caucus,’ and on the campuses of many colleges and universities across the nation, including the Graduate School of Education at UC Berkeley. Acey has recorded more than a dozen CDs and written four books. Additionally, films that include his work have garnered an Audience Award (2002) and a Special Jury Prize (2006) at the Sundance Film Festival.
Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Shanelle Gabriel has toured both nationally and internationally, having competed in both the National and Individual World Poetry Slams. She was famously featured on the 6th season of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, sharing the stage with the likes of Jill Scott and DMX. In 2007, she recorded a nationally televised promo for the NFL Draft, and has performed among artists including Nas, Q-Tip, Les Nubians, Talib Kweli, Erick Sermon, and more. Her debut album, Start Something, fused Shanelle’s skill at spoken word poetry with her soulful, sultry singing, and was winner of the 2008 Atlantic City Alternative Soul Best CD Award. Gabriel is currently working on her sophomore album, while promoting Lupus awareness.
As a writer and producer, this Tony award-winning lyricist has worked on Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry Jam on HBO and Broadway. He has also written and/or appeared on over 150 commercials for clients including Nike, NFL Films, BET and Arby’s. Poetri’s resume includes collaborations with Curtis Mayfield, Bootsy Collins and Nona Hendrix, as well as Tyler Perry, LL Cool J, Rosario Dawson and ?uestlove. Diversifying his talents and portfolio, he serves as the voice of Channel 7 radio on Delta Airlines, and hosts Da’ Poetry Lounge, a venue for young performers and poets in Los Angeles.
With a passion for acting, he’s appeared in films Blades of Glory and Yes Man, and made TV appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show and Tyler Perry’s House of Payne. He also has conquered the Web with record-breaking Snickers digisodes “Instant Def,” alongside the Black Eyed Peas.
Mariposa is an award-winning poet raised in the Bronx, New York. Her poetry has been featured on the HBO Latino series, “Habla Ya!” and the critically acclaimed HBO documentary “Americanos: Latino Life in the U.S.,” as well as additional features on BET and Lifetime. An international phenom, Mariposa has performed at universities and major venues throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and South Africa.
Winner at last year’s Women of Power Summit, Lisa “Lava” M. Rogers is a multi-talented woman who was born and raised on Chicago’s South Side. The wife and mother of two has been writing since age 10, putting her words into print via her diary she named Pinky. Her life experiences became the catalyst of many poems she began writing for family members, close friends and eventually, her church.
In 2008, Lisa wrote a poem called “How In the World Did We Ever Get Here?” for an African American History Month program. This piece summarized the journey of Africans to the White House. It caught the ear of a business client who later arranged for Lisa to read for a local jazz artist. Thereafter, Rogers continued sharing her gift to new audiences performing as Lava.
Rogers aspires to recite her poetry for President Barack Obama, meet Maya Angelou and to continue sharing her poetry worldwide.