“In Paris, she walked out onto the stage, opened her mouth and spoke. At the first utterance I heard that rare something that said this is special and knew immediately that Aja Monet was one of the Ones who will mark the sound of the ages. She brings depth of voice to the voiceless, and through her we sing a powerful song.” — Carrie Mae Weems
On Saturday, November 11, Aja reads works from her newly published book, 'My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter' at Oakland's Matatu Festival of Stories 2017.
Aja Monet: My Mother Was a Freedom Writer
November 10 • Alena Museum
Harry Belafonte has called Aja Monet “The true definition of an artist.” Of Cuban-Jamaican descent, Aja Monet is an internationally established poet, performer, and educator. Her craft is an in-depth reflection of emotional wisdom, skill, and activism. In both Aja Monet’s poetry and songs, she poses questions about the power of the imagination and metaphor in how we engage with local and global issues. As a Teaching Artist for Urban Word NYC as well as Urban Arts Partnership in NYC, she uses poetry as a therapeutic tool with at-risk inner city kids, showing how words can empower and encourage holistic healing in youth education. She teaches her students to harness meaning in the world and to transform the world by transforming selves.
The youngest individual to win the legendary Nuyorican Poet’s Café Grand Slam title—at the age of 19—she is recognized for combining her spellbound voice and powerful imagery on stage, captivating audiences in the United States, France, the UK, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Bermuda, and Cuba. She has showcased at world-renowned venues including New York City’s Town Hall Theater and Apollo Theater, and the Paradiso in Amsterdam. By request of the UN Youth Delegates, she has performed for ambassadors, national politicians, diplomats, and directors of various agencies at the United Nation.
Co-founder of Smoke Signals Studio, Aja Monet currently lives in Little Haiti, Miami and dedicates her time merging arts & culture in community organizing with the Dream Defenders and Community Justice Project. She spearheads an arts & activism initiative, “Voices: Poetry for the People” that provides free poetry workshops for grassroots leaders & organizers in South Florida. As well she continues to organize artist delegations, cultural, and political exchanges with communities at home and abroad. Aja Monet was a featured speaker at the Women’s March on Washington, D.C. in 2017 where she delivered the title poem, my mother was a freedom fighter from her first book, a collection of poems available of Haymarket Books.
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We are fiscally sponsored project of Intersection for the Arts, and supported by KQED, East Bay Express, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Learn more about us at matatu.co