The Haraka Writers are a collective of student and community writers committed to literary expression of the Black experience. Through essays, prose, poetry recitals and short stories, the Haraka Writers strive to reinforce the essential bonds that give hope and strength to people and emphasize the role of emotion in day to day life.
This Black Cultural Center ensemble began under the name Creative Writers Workshop in 1973. Five years later the name was changed to Haraka, a Swahili word meaning "expression." Throughout the years, Haraka has attracted and debuted the work of some of the finest "Black" writers at Purdue University. Much of their credit, four publications of the Haraka Writers are currently in print: "Ebony Thoughts", "Black Expression of Life and Love", "Poems for a Sun Lady", and the 1987 "Haraka Reader" containing selections from the writers workshop was published. The most recent publication in which the Haraka Writers appear is entitled, "Eclipsing a Nappy New Millennium-An Anthology of Contemporary Midwestern Poetry."
The diversity within the workshop is attributed to Haraka’s basic belief that all serious writing expresses self. Therefore, the Haraka Writers workshop functions broadly as a writing and discussion forum where experimentation and openness is a key attitude. This unique workshop offers participants a chance to try out different writing and delivery styles and provides moral support for the creation of new works. Members serve as motivation for writing in a variety of forms and continuously challenge you to do more.
“Truth tellers are not always palatable. There is a preference for candybars.” Gwendolyn Brooks
He is fire. In a warm, cleansing, purifying sense. Defying any simple definition, spoken word soul artist Discopoet Khari B. has brought his unique blend of kinetics, music, and truth to burn up national stages, forums, and classrooms for a number of years. Feeding his audiences verbal “soul food,” whether socially arousing or enticingly erotic, Khari’s explosive energy nourishes the ears, minds, and souls of all colors and ages while keeping them wanting more. He is a definitive “Edutainer,” a fusion of educator and entertainer.
Khari B. has been performing poetry since 1992 where he stumbled upon an appetite for using his life long talent for poetry to reach, teach, and entertain willing ears. Donning the name Discopoet (a combination of his two favorite therapeutic releases), he went on to build a poetic notoriety throughout the country through open-mics and featured performances. Since then his presence is requested and hailed internationally while broadening his work to include educational instruction and motivational speaking.
He’s been personally recognized for his talents by the late, great Gwendolyn Brooks and performed with the renowned Last Poets via a personal invitation. He’s had his own column with the Chicago Defender and presently hosts his own radio show, “the People’s Vocal…Undiluted” on WKKC 89.3-FM. He’s self-produced nine specialty shows at Chicago’s HotHouse bringing young and old audiences together exposing various minority businesses, and a host of local and world-class artists in keeping with his belief of positively strengthening his community in addition to several other such events. A member of the AACM Jazz organization, he’s been featured in the Illinois Arts Council’s “Meet the Composer” program, twice at Sons d’Hiver Festival in Paris, France and once in Le Labbra Nude in Rome, four annual Crepuscules with Douglas Ewart, Prince’s Xenophobia festival at Paisley Park, and three “Neo-Soul Explosions” at Chicago’s Navy Pier and DuSable Museum. On the cusp of nationally releasing his sophomore project, “Imma Bad Mutha…!!!” with his debut CD already available on Apple’s I-Tunes internet network, he can be heard on two live recording with Ernest Dawkins’ Capetown Shuffle featuring New Horizons ensemble and Misconception of a Delusion, Shades of a Charade with the Chicago 12 available at www.Chi-creates.tv
Beyond performances Khari B. consistently reaches youth through varying educational programs. He is known for his candid, open discussions in upper elementary and high school classes around the city. His writing workshops have been received by Ravinia Festival Program, Verizon, and Purdue University working as their A.I.R. for the last three years. He has developed his own non-profit organization that caters to the literary, educational, and artistic needs in his own community and works to mentor promising youth in to grand adults. His general philosophy and theme behind his programming is simply “Make it happen.”
Discopoet Khari B. is available for performances, appearances, and speaking engagements throughout the year. For bookings, please direct all inquiries to Cedrick Love at (773) 429-6133 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info visit www.Disco-poetry.com or www.myspace.com/kharib. Please support the arts.
The Purdue Haraka Writers is sponsored by the Black Cultural Center. They are available for appearances for schools, churches and civic organizations. A performance fee is required to cover expenses. Persons interested in engaging the Haraka Writers are encouraged to confirm arrangements at least three months in advance. As a reminder, the Haraka Writers is available in October, November, February and March.
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