Saturday, January 14, 2006 will launch its 10th Anniversary Poetry Extravaganza Gala, specifically designed for a large community following. As a sign of gratitude, Collective Voices, the hosts of the annual event, will be joined by former members, community supporters, spoken word artists of all genre, musicians, authors, poets, corporations, and politicans. Poetry Extravaganza 2006, in commemoration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is scheduled for Saturday, January 14, 2006, 2:00-5:30 p.m at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library at 901 G St. (Lower level Auditorium, Room A-5), NW, Washington, DC. Conveyed through the spoken and written word, song, dance, music, and drama by some of DC’s most powerful, positive, and provocative artisans, the 10th annual literary salute encourages everyone to bask in an afternoon of poignant, powerful, and moving presentations in an uplifting and fortifying tribute to the slain giant.
Martin Luther King once said, "Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major. Say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. Say that I was a drum major for righteousness. " In an effort to continue to beat those drums of justice, peace, and righteousness, hundreds of Washingtonians will celebrate the legacy of the man behind the words at the 10th anniversary annual tribute.
Collective Voices, a Washington, DC-based and nationally-recognized sisterhood of poets, addresses socially relevant issues and challenges of today with positive words of inspiration will “Poetry Extravaganza 2006”, a free-to-the-community event, in collaboration with CAAPA (Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts). The poetry group, founded in 1996, is comprised of J. Joy “Sistah Joy” Matthews Alford, Sylvia Dianne “Lady Di” Beverly-Patterson, and Billye Okera. Past members Carolyn Coley -Joyner and Angela Boykin-Turnull will participate in this 10th year tribute honoring Dr. King. Now deceased founding member, Margie Jones, will be posthumously honored in the form of an annual scholarship to her surviving young daughter, Terina Nicole Jones. “We strive to give back to the community, stated Alford. “Honoring Dr. King’s legacy is our major objective, one which we accomplish through the sharing of the spoken word.” she continued.
Washington, DC Poet Laureate, Delores Kendrick, will serve as this year’s “POET OF DISTINCTION”. The tribute to identify a notable literary figure began a few years ago and has included such dignitaries as Haki R. Madhubuti, Sonia Sanchez, Eloise Greenfield, and E. Ethelbert Miller. This year’s scheduled guest performers and poets from the Washington area include Jason Reynolds, 13 of Nazareth, Kanikki Jakarta, Andre Taylor aka “Brenardo,” Kim Bey, and Shana Yarborough as well as Collective Voices. Kwame Alexander, poet, playwright, and publisher, will be the Master of Ceremonies. Also featured are some of Washington’s finest musicians, including The Malcolm X Drummers and Dancers, Lorenzo Sands, Sydney March, and the C. Anthony Bush Jazz Ensemble, and (soloists and classically trained opera singers) Andraea Keene and Pamela Simonson. The poetry tribute will conclude with a brief reception and book signing, which will take place in adjoining Exhibit Hall A-2. The public is invited to meet the guest artists and sponsors at the reception.
The group made its debut at House of Ruth, a shelter for abused and homeless women. Since then, Collective Voices has presented its works at a variety of venues. They have expanded performances to include places such as the South African Embassy, the National Black Family Reunion and the Lincoln Theatre. Performances also include: The Lewisham Theater, in Brixton, London as well as the National Museum of African Art.
CAAPA (Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts), Collective Voices’ non-profit partner in the presentation of this event, dedicates its programming to galvanizing African American classical musicians with corporations, associations, organizations, audiences, and the community; while dedicating their efforts to cultural outreach, talent development, and audience awareness of classical music and performing arts of and for the African American community.
“We believe the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would consider Poetry Extravaganza’s 10th Anniversary Gala a fitting tribute to his legacy, in its presentation of dynamic poets that entertain, inform and uplift with words of power and messages of inspiration.” says CAAPA co-founder, Terri Allen.
The media can participate in the “Poetry Extravaganza 2006” program by airing audio and video public service announcements. For more information, or to arrange an interview, contact Collective Voices (Sistah Joy at (202) 246-0111, Lady Di at 301.535.5176, or Billye Okera at 202.320.4343) or CAAPA. at (301)-203-0929.
To support this event, please send your tax-deductible contribution to CAAPA, Post Office Box 54552, Washington, DC 20032. Thank you for your support.