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Poet, writer, performer and activist Brad Walrond was born in Brooklyn New York to first generation Caribbean parents from Barbados. Brad began writing and performing at the age of 24 when asked to participate in a theatrical production curated by the legendary entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte.
Brad soon discovered the Sunday Tea Party—a thriving community of artists, writers and performers at Frank’s Lounge in Brooklyn. The Tea Party was an instrumental incubator as Brad honed his craft soon becoming one of the foremost writers and performers of the 1990s Black Arts Movement. Brad has had the pleasure of collaborating with and sharing the stage with renowned writers, poets and artists including Abiodun Oyewole of the Last Poets, legendary actress/writer Ruby Dee, Erykah Badu, Saul Williams, Jessica Care Moore, Mike Ladd, Mos Def, Tish Benson, Universes (Then: Mildred Ruiz, Stephen Sapp, Flaco Navaja and Lemon Anderson) and Craig “muMs” Grant. His first recording is Underneath the Metal on the breakout spoken word compilation album Eargasms: Crucial Poetics Vol. 1.
Brad received his BA at the City College of New York and MA in Political Science from Columbia University. Brad’s battle with major depression upended his doctoral studies and he chose to pursue an alternate career in the culinary arts. Brad has had the privilege to cook at some of the finest world-class kitchens in New York City.
For nearly a decade, due to a demanding work schedule, and a persistent depression Brad became disconnected from his creative voice. Fortunately with what he attributes to much prayer, perseverance and professional medical care Brad has found his way back to the rich echoes of his creative voice. The voice is to a poet what point of view is to a visual artist. It is your signature footprint on the creative landscape. Brad has returned with fervor to his prodigious creative terrain and is claiming his rightful place in it. He has been missed. He is more then just a poet or a speaker of words; he is a weaver of spells and bringer of passion and light.
Shanna T. Melton is a Poet, Painter and Art Consultant from Bridgeport, CT. She currently serves as The Ambassador of Poetry at Housatonic Community College. Shanna has performed in poetry venues from Atlanta through Canada. Her work carries the essence of women, men, people of color, and poetry. As the Ambassador of Poetry, Shanna curates many poetry events which present local and international artistry to the Bridgeport, CT Community. The Writer’s Group is created and presented by Shanna. It is sponsored and hosted by City Lights Gallery. This group gathers on the first and second Saturday of each month to use writing prompts which inspire the creative writing process. Shanna is the founder of Lyrical Voices Night of Poetry & Arts and co-founder of Verses a night of poetry at the Nuyorican Poets Café presented by Urbintel Productions. She is also the author of a collection of poetry titled “A Voice in the Symphony”. In January 2011, Shanna was presented with a citation from The State of Connecticut through Bridgeport’s Black Pride with their Woman to Know Award which is given to people who create positive change in their community in line with the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Shanna has exhibited her paintings in many poetry venues throughout the tri-state area She had solo exhibitions in venues which include The Barnum Museum, Bridgeport, CT.
Her art is featured in “A Silent Genocide”, and “Soldier Blues” a documentary and play created by Tantra~Zawadi. She was among many talented artists exhibiting in The Margaret E. Morton City Hall Annex, Bridgeport, CT for the 2014 Black History Month Celebration. She is also on exhibit for the 2014 Beautiful Crime exhibit at The Ground Floor Gallery in the Read’s Art Space, Bridgeport, CT. Fairfield University’s Dogwood Journal of Poetry & Prose chose Shanna’s “Esperanza Falling In” painting to grace the cover of their spring 2015 journal. This painting was also chosen by Southern Connecticut State University’s 365 Days of Non Violence, 2015.
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