Two poets. Two souls speaking from the heart. Two cities: Asheville, North Carolina, and Columbia, South Carolina. One male. One female.
Shanita and Tavis will speak to us using the power of poetry in their chosen style.
“I write for the same reason I breathe — because if I didn’t, I would die.” This quote by Isaac Asimov explains the healing qualities of writing poetry, and it’s a favorite quote for Tavis, who has been using poetry (writing and performing) to heal the parts of his life where hardship had left painful wounds. Tavis has this description of himself on Twitter: “The love child of cracked asphalt and the Book of Psalms.” This kind of thinking and positive path have brought Tavis much success, including being an active member of many winning poetry slam teams and this video for Billy Graham Ministries.
Shanita is a writer and an Afro-enthusiast. She’s been writing poetry since the 7th grade, having had her initial dose of poetry-inspiration through her now-mentor, 2012 TEDxGreenville speaker Glenis Redmond. Shanita has thought about the effect that her performance with Tavis might have on the TEDxGreenville community. She says, “My hope for our audience is that they become uncomfortably aware of current race relations to the point of craving radical change. I aspire for something as simple as a re-direction in conversation. I want America to recognize the things we shy away from. I want more discussions on privilege, systematic racism and gentrification. I want people to recognize the absurdity of even having to justify the validity of black life. Most importantly, I want people to realize that we do not live in a contrived post-racial society.”
Chiccy Baritone (a.k.a. Charlene Evans), Tavis & Shanita’s program team guide throughout the TEDxGreenville nomination and selection process, shares her insight.
“They are not just poets,” she asserts. “They are ARTISTS with the gift of spoken word poetry. I’m not talking about ‘Roses are Red, Violets are Blue.’ These two have graced many stages, individually, all around the U.S., speaking on various topics poetically, leaving their audiences in a snap-and-clap frenzy! They both command the attention of any room.
“This dynamic duo will be using their voices to address a multitude of topics from social change and awareness to relations in humanity,” Chiccy continues. “Travis is a hilarious guy with a big personality. His performance will grip you with inspiration and challenge the way you look at any subject matter! Shanita is a powerful, youthful voice with a poised presence. This poet is no stranger to the stage. With multi-talented uses of her voice, she is also an actress and known in the realm of theatre.
“Hold on to your seats. These two are about to take you on a headVROOM ride!”