Jessicah Kean is the top female spoken word artist in Charlotte, NC. She is a writer and performer, pastry chef, visual artist, and mother of four small humans. A true Gemini, she is always running full speed in two (or more) directions. When she is not creating art or raising children she is advocating for fathers rights, autism awareness, and working with survivors of childhood sexual trauma. Jessicah was a member of the 2006 and 2007 Columbia Slam Teams, the 2009 and 2010 Verseworks Slam Teams, and the 2012 Respect Da Mic Slam Team. She won the 2012 Arkansas Ekphrastic Slam, and represented SlamCharlotte in the 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam. In 2012 she published a book of art and poetry titled The Long Way. Jessicah is an inspiration to every poet in the Charlotte area.
J. Ward is one of the best writers and instructors in Charlotte and we are lucky to have him working with our BreatheINK youth poets. His life as a poet began very early when he was influenced heavily by the burgeoning success of hip hop music and the timeless writings of Langston Hughes and other Harlem Renaissance writers. He would spend much of his time as a youth writing either rap songs or poems. J. Ward has fused hip hop rhythms with his work in the same way that Langston Hughes was known for infuzing jazz into his work. He has had the great pleasure of speaking at Hofstra University to educators about methods to get students more interested in poetry, giving him the opportunity to influence a younger generation in the same way he was influenced.
Terry Creech is our Executive Director and founder of breatheINK Youth Poetry Initiative. He has been working with students throughout North and South Carolina for the past 11 years. He is the founder of SlamCharlotte, two-time National Poetry Slam Champions and listed by Huffington Post as one of the best poetry venues in the country. Terry has also performed at several colleges and universities, featured as one of only two Native Americans to perform on HBO's Def Poetry, conducted two national spoken word tours, and has been a Tournament Director for the Southern Fried Southeastern Regional Poetry Slam and the Individual World Poetry Slam.
BreatheINK is a volunteer, community-based organization that seeks to expose all Mecklenburg area youth to the knowledge and power of spoken word. Through workshops, poetry slams, school clubs and organizations, and other activities we will allow youth in our community to enhance personal and social growth through self-expression, build stronger creative writing and comprehension techniques, increase self-confidence through personal presentations, and develop teamwork skills through group poetry.
We are an organization created to help students of all ages find the young artists hidden within themselves. It is our belief that creativity in any form, especially performance poetry, expressed from the minds and hearts of our younger community members should be displayed in any way possible for the benefit of us all. It is our goal to create positive opportunities for young poets to increase their writing skills, learn the art of poetic performance, practice group poetry, craft poetry slam strategies, and discover all ways to use their art for positive and professional purposes.