BRAVE NEW VOICES TEAM
Brave New Voices is a festival run by former participants. Meet this year's dynamic team making our first virtual festival possible.
Acacia Salisbury (she/her/hers) is a poet hailing from Seattle, Washington. She grew up in slam poetry slam and has competed in several national poetry slams including BNV, CUPSI, and FEMS. In 2019 she coached Agnes Scott College’s CUPSI team. She believes in the importance of community and the need for us to care deeply for each other’s well being.
Ashlee Burnett (she/her) is queering, querying and carrying the Caribbean forward. The Trinbagonian-born writer and arts educator currently functions as the Assistant Slam Coordinator of the Youth Speaks International Poetry Slam Festival at Brave New Voices, a dynamic buzz of youth art and advocacy in the United States.
Ashlee has toured over 80 secondary schools in her native island, applying the performing arts to issues of gender based violence, global feminism, sexual health and reproductive rights. Ashlee has performed at several TedxPortofSpain events annually, while her literary works have appeared in Moko Magazine and Culturego Magazine. She has also been featured in a number of web-based global poetry initiatives during the quarantine season of COVID-19.
Chloe Philpot is a current sophomore at East Tennessee State University, pursuing a BA in English, with minors in legal studies and communications. She has been part of Southern Word in Nashville since 2018, competing on their BNV team in 2018 and 2019. She was also a member of OutLoud Huntsville’s slam team in both 2018 and 2019, competing at Southern Fried Poetry Slam. In 2019, Chloe was recognized as a Scholastic Art and Writing National Medalist in Poetry and was published in Scholastic’s The Best Teen Writing of 2019. She currently uses her platform to work towards building safer spaces for queer youth in rural communities, as well as spreading awareness for healthy body positivity.
Danielle Horton is a poet, workshop facilitator, and activist. She is also a Flint, Michigan native. She believes in the power of creative storytelling and its ability to transform hearts, assist in one’s healing process, and foster meaningful exchange and dialogue across society’s most pressing issues. She is a recent graduate of Central Michigan University and has earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communication, with double minors in Theater and Entrepreneurship. Danielle is also a McNair Scholar, and as such, she has been able to research on arts and prison reform in which she was able to conduct creative writing workshops and interviews at a correctional facility. She enjoys creating spaces where people can come together and share who they are via their craft. Because of this, she started an open-mic series titled D.O.P.E (Danielle’s Open-Mic Poetry & Entertainment) that happened monthly while she was at school. She is a very passionate person and hopes to live in a way that is so authentic, it inspires others to be as well.
Facebook: Poetry by Nell
Deniero Black is a rising poet from Baltimore, that has several titles that include: 2017 and 2018’s youth grand slam champion, 3 time Baltimore louder than a bomb grand slam champion, 2017’s and 2018’s pride grand slam champion, and an international grand slam champion of 2016 and 2018. His art covers topics that relate to mental illness, black pain, addiction, and rape culture. From the activism that he has showed through his poetry, he wishes that young black adults won’t be silent to the causes that affects our race.
Jax Neal (He/They) is a poet from Houston, Texas. Neal was the 2019 Houston Youth Poet Laureate and a National Youth Poet Laureate Ambassador for the Southwest United States. They have received fellowships and awards from the National YoungArts Foundation, Brooklyn Poets, the University of Houston, and elsewhere. A member of the JVN Project, Neal works to promote Hip Hop pedagogy as a tool for liberation. They are a First Wave Scholar at the University of Wisconsin- Madison where they are pursuing a BFA in English and Dance.
Insta & Twitter @jaxnealpoetry
Mandla “Kosi” Dunn is a Black artist, writer, and educator from Maryland. In 2018, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Transmedia Storytelling at the University of Maryland - College Park, a major he designed through the Individual Studies program. An alumni of the DC Youth Slam Team, Kosi has facilitated creative writing and digital media workshops in the Greater Washington area for a variety of organizations including the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, the Kennedy Center, Words Beats & Life, and Split This Rock. He likes cherry Blow Pops and ranting about Dungeons & Dragons.
@notkosi (Instagram + Twitter)
M Kamara is a third year English major, with a double minor in Creative Writing and Cinema Studies, at Virginia Commonwealth University. She was a member of the 2018 DC Youth Slam Team. She’s the third place winner of the Sonia Sanchez-Langston Hughes Poetry Prize, is published in the online magazine, The Quarry, is published in PWATEM, a VCU undergraduate magazine, and is the first place winner of the VCU Undergraduate Poetry Prize Spring 2020.
Majovah is an African American mixed media artist, with (He/Him/They Them) pronouns. His work includes, but is not limited to: poetry, acrylic and oil paint, and dance. As a poet he has competed in The Brave New Voice International Youth Poetry Slam Festival as well as assisted coaching the Saint Louis Team. Bastien has previously been a member of the Ashley Tate Dance Company, and has been published in Index Magazine as well as Em Magazine. Bastien has protested for the Black Lives Matter movement for years to create change in the communities that look like him, and bring awareness in the communities that don't. To move forward with the future.
Facebook: Majovah Bastien
Nathan R. Wallace
Nathan R. Wallace is a poet from Hinesville, Georgia . Nathan recalls his earliest start in poetry through performing poems at his local church. Nathan decided to focus on poetry full time after becoming a member of the Brave New Voices 2018 Team Atlanta and was a Semi finalist. In 2019 Nathan won a rigorous competition to become Atlanta’s Youth Poet Laureate and acquired his first book deal. He was also a member of the 2019 Team Georgia State New South Poetry Slam winner and a 2020 Georgia State Cupsi Team member. Nathan’s first published book was” I’m My Own Therapist”, a revolutionary example of vulnerability and imagery as he not only takes the reader through his life but paints a vivid picture as well. Nathan is a versatile artist who has not only made a name for himself as a performer but is also a teaching artist, and host. Nathan has done poetry workshops on numerous things from mental health to social activism on social media as well as partnered with organizations such as the Atlanta Hawks, East Atlanta Kids Club, and Georgia Broud-casting. Nathan has also performed in shows with acts such as Alysia Harris, Radi the Poet, Jasmine Mans, Jaha Bela, W.j. Lofton and many more.
Former Atlanta Youth Poet Laureate, Ninel Nekay is a Jamaican American southerner, writer, actress, and black mental health advocate. At age 15 she won her first poetry slam, shortly after Nekay also debuted in her first production at the Alliance theater. By 18 she became a 2-time nationally recognized writer and performer by way of Brave New Voices, one with over 6 awards under her belt. Before 21 Nekay had already performed at some of the country’s most historically groundbreaking venues such as The Fox Theater, The Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts, The Center For Civil And Human Rights, The War Memorial Opera House, and more. In addition to her successes, organizations such as WE Day, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and The Alliance Theater contracted her in exchange for her services as a poetry and performance coach. Immensely grateful for her beginning in the arts as a youth, as an adult Nekay has refined her approach to the craft by utilizing her content as a method to educate onlookers with the intent to de-stigmatize mental health in the black community.
Nubia Yasin is a Memphis based multidisciplinary artist and activist. She uses her craft, no matter the medium, to explore what it means to be Black in America. Nubia is committed to making and preserving space for Black womxn and BIPOC communities. She is one half of NuJas, a production house dedicated to amplifying the stories of Black womxn and queer folx of color. She also serves as community engagement director for The CLTV, a nonprofit that aims to uplift the Black community through the Black artist.
IG and Twitter: @nubiayasin
Téa Serena Johnson
Téa Serena Johnson is a rising junior at Loyola University Chicago, where she is pursuing a BA in theatre with a minor in musical theatre. She’s been doing slam poetry since she was in middle school, having competed on her middle school’s slam team. She won Portland’s citywide youth slam, Verselandia, in 2016. She attended Brave New Voices from 2016 to 2018, alongside the Portland team. When she’s not writing or performing, Téa enjoys cuddling with her cat, listening to true crime podcasts, and spending hours on Pinterest.
Sun Warrior, Thunderclaw Robinsong is a multi faceted Poet, singer, Thunder Bringer. Born and raised in Scarborough he has shared stages with Ari Lennox & Jessie Reyes and opened for the 44th US President Barack Obama at the "Future of Work & New Economy" event January 2020. He has traveled to a variety of locations across the continent to Share Light through Poems and Songs on Stages and Radio Stations and aims to use his experience to assist others in being a step closer to telling their truest story through art.FB: Thunderclaw Robinsong
Wes Matthews is a Detroit-born, Philadelphia-based poet and essayist. His work has been published in the Detroit Free Press, Scoundrel Time, Dreginald Magazine, and elsewhere. Wes served as the 2018-19 Philadelphia Youth Poet Laureate and received Congressional Recognition for “outstanding and invaluable service to the community.” A second-year student at the University of Pennsylvania, he is the recipient of Penn’s 2020 College Alumni Society Prize for his poetry and 2020 Lillian and Benjamin Levy Award for his music criticism.