Spoken Word Night

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Event Information:

Notes: Two sets, with the first set starting at 8 p.m.; doors open at 7:30 p.m.
Admission: Free
Location: The Jazz & Heritage Center
1225 N. Rampart St.
New Orleans, Louisiana 70116
Phone: (504) 558-6100
Website: View Event Website

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The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation presents:
April 13th, 2019
8:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Doors at 7:30 p.m.
Free Admission

Join the Jazz & Heritage Foundation for an unforgettable show featuring top poets and performers. Attendees can expect to hear high-energy and high-impact performances that lay bare tragicomic truths through wry observation, artful wordplay, and dynamic performance. From spoken word to slam, these poets take the word from the page to the stage, incorporating elements of theatre and storytelling alongside traditional conventions of poetry: repetition, rhyme, and lyric.

The show will open with a poem from spoken word and multimedia artist, Gian Smith. Smith, known for both his work as filmmaker and poet, may be most easily recognizable to by way of the use of his poem “O Beautiful Storm” in an HBO trailer for Tremé. Smith’s spoken word poetry shines a light onto the the joys and perils of life in New Orleans and beyond.

With multi-faceted work that calls to task the hetero-patriarchy and its institutions, Sha’Condria “iCon” Sibley is sure to deliver a performance that will leave audiences inspired and empowered. Next in line is Slangston Hughes, an emcee equally at home in the worlds of slam and hip hop.

The penultimate poet will be Frederick “Wood” Delahoussaye. Alongside his prominence as a spoken word artist, Hollywood has a long legacy of uplifting New Orleans’ youth through his leadership of the Kuumba Institute at the Ashé Cultural Center and in his current role as Ashé's artistic director. His work often reflects this commitment to the next generation of New Orleans’ culture-bearers.

The show will close with a performance from Michael “Quess?” Moore. A familiar face in the realms of poetry, performance, and social justice advocacy, Quess will perform his uniquely riveting poetry informed not only by his life experiences, but also by his work as an activist and educator.

The poetry from all of these performers will be punctuated by live music from the Mario Abney Quartet. Abney describes his musical aesthetic as a fusion of his church music roots and his love of straight-ahead jazz. In music that, in his words, “reaches the audience on a human and intellectual level,” Abney offers grooves that engage the ear and prove irresistible to the body. All this amounts to the achievement of Abney’s number one goal, what he puts simply as, “a great show.”

Abney’s music plus slam and spoken word champions equal an evening of stellar performances that you won’t want to miss!


Gian Smith is a New Orleans based artist. His craft spans over several media including writing, acting, and video production, but he is most notably recognized as a spoken word poet. Gian has made several television appearances, some on local New Orleans stations, some international including VH1 and HBO His poem ‘O Beautiful Storm’ was featured in a preview for season 2 of HBO’s Treme. Smith is also well known locally for his community organization including NOYOpresents: Pass It On open mic. He and his partners have co-hosted the event since November of 2008. Smith can often be found at local High Schools and Middle Schools when asked to speak to children and aspiring poets. Gian is a proud member of the Melanated Writers Collective.

Multi-disciplinary artist Sha’Condria “iCon” Sibley is a consistent force and one of the world’s top poets in slam. She was nominated Entertainer of the Year by The Examiner, made BET’s list of Black Girls Winning, and even graced the main stage at Essence Music Festival. iCon has been in several stage productions and national television appearances including TV One's Verses and Flow as well as international platforms such as BBC World Radio. Many outlets such as Upworthy, Huffington Post, For Harriet, Marie Claire, and Teen Vogue have highly praised her work, which can also be seen in the several documentaries such as Finding Shaniqua and Taking Back the Crown. As a teaching artist, iCon helps others find their voices by conducting workshops for youth as well as the incarcerated. She uses her own voice—words/work— to speak largely on topics related Blk women's issues as well as visibility for Blk women in and from the South, and self-discovery/Love.

NOLA emcee Slangston Hughes' music is a fresh blend of sensible lyrics, head bobbing beats & unpredictably witty wordplay. A 3-time winner of the Microphone Corivalry emcee contest & winner of a NOLA Underground Hip-Hop Award for Best Group, Hughes is also founder/host of Uniquity, a monthly hiphop/jazz showcase and contributing author to the book, New Orleans: The Underground Guide (2010).

A Scribe Called Quess? is a poet, educator, and an actor in that order. His writing and work with youth as a poet led him to the classroom where he most recently spent four years as an English teacher and now teaches poetry full time. He is a founding member of Team SNO (Slam New Orleans) and a two-time national slam champion. He’s also a member of VOIC’D (Voices Organized in Creative Dissent), a collective of actors spawned by Junebug Productions with a focus on social justice, whose last production, “Lockdown,” received critical acclaim. He has produced a self-titled CD, “A Scribe Called Quess?” and his debut book of poetry, Blind Visionz, can be found at www.lulu.com.

Frederick “Wood” Delahoussaye is a New Orleans visionary who has propelled through the elements of entertainment and artistry by embracing the roles of author, poet, producer, actor, singer, songwriter, director, promoter, and MC/host. The South’s “most dangerous entertainer” has been capturing audiences with his infectious charisma for any and every occasion from concerts and poetry readings to fashion shows and festivals. Hollywood has opened and shared stages with such artists and personalities as: The Last Poets, D’Angelo, Maxwell, Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, and The Roots.

Chicago born-and-raised jazz trumpeter Mario Abney, now of New Orleans, fuses traditional and extended trumpet techniques in a most inventive way; his strikingly personal instrumental vision endows the music with an infinite array of tonal color. Recognized for his ability to create pure musical dialog, and hear music in a universally spiritual way, he is definitely one of New Orleans most pioneering young jazz musicians.

The Jazz & Heritage Concert Series is produced and presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, the nonprofit that owns the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell. The Foundation uses the proceeds from Jazz Fest, and other raised funds, for year-round programs in education, economic development and cultural enrichment. For more on what we do, please visit www.jazzandheritage.org.

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc.