(My camerawoman started the tape a few seconds too late, so the first few words are cut off. My apologies.)
|New York City poet Jahnilli Akbar.|
Jahnilli Akbar is a 22-year-old poet and activist, born in Chicago and raised in northern Mississippi. Currently he splits his time between Harlem and Brooklyn, N.Y.
Akbar’s poetry is best defined as an artistic mesh of alternative black, Semitic and queer life in America.
Akbar won the 2010 Rookie of the Year award at the Wade-Lewis Invitational, the second largest colligate slam in the country with more than 100 participants, held at the State University of New York at New Paltz.
Akbar is also the recipient of the 2011 Fresh Fruit Festival Queer Poet of the Year Award. He is a known face on the underground New York City art scene, as part of a movement called the Bushwick Renaissance, and as a member of Ground- Floor Collective, a leftist, African diaspora-based, predominately lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer group of artists. The Ground-Floor Collective, the Brecht Forum & Malcolm X Grassroots Movement curates the annual Black August art show, a fundraiser for political prisoners abroad.
Many stages, venues and spaces have hosted Akbar’s poetry, including Nuyorican Poets’ Café, Bowery Poetry Club, Louder Arts, NYC Intangible Poetry Slam, SUNY New Paltz and the Brooklyn Museum, all in New York, the Seattle Poetry Slam, Chicago’s Mental Graffiti Slam and Wordplay Chicago.
In early November, Akbar published his first book, “Chronicles of a Contemporary Alternative American Negro,” and headed out on tour.