NORTH ADAMS -- Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will hold the Third Annual Sekou Sundiata Evening of Spoken Word and Poetry on Wednesday at 7 p.m. as part of its MCLA Presents! performance series.

This event will be dedicated to the life and work of the great poet and performer Sekou Sundiata, an African American activist internationally known for his poetry, performance, music and theater.

The night will reflect Sundiata's life work by starting off with some videos of his performance. Then, MCLA and Williams College students will read their own poetry in dedication to him.

MCLA students who will participate in this event include Candice Crow, Chris Hauntman, Edward McCormick and Chris Tate. From Williams, members of the campus' "SpeakFree club" also will participate. They are Ali Tafreshi, Shaan Amin and Tirhakah Love.

Aurora Cooper and Jason Peabody, both MCLA alumni, will be back to perform, as well as Skye Sweeney and Jennette lambert from the Teen Writing Workshop.

The UNITY Teen Writing Workshop, a free, mixed-genre writing series, take place at the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition at 61 Main St. in North Adams. Since 1999, this writing program has brought teen writers together in a safe environment to create and share their writing under the guidance of a professional writer.

"Writing poetry in the vein of Sekou Sundiata made his work relevant to my own," said Aurora Cooper ‘12.


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"Celebrating his words with others brought his spirit to life. During this tribute to the influential Sekou, the diverse voices of student poets complemented each other, from soft and somber to rhythmic and musical. Poet or not, anyone with soul could honor Sekou Sundiata by attending and find this event meaningful, powerful, and uplifting."

Sundiata became a teacher at The New School in New York City, where he taught famous musicians, such as Ani DiFranco and Mike Doughty. He was known for his iconic voice, ability to understand the human soul and his honesty.

Sundiata was a Sundance Institute Screenwriting Fellow, a Columbia University Revson Fellow and the recipient of a Lambent Fellowship in the Arts. He appeared in the Bill Moyers' PBS series on poetry, "The Language of Life," and as part of Russell Simmons' "Def Poetry Jam" on HBO.

Tickets are $10 general admission, $5 for MCLA faculty and staff and non-MCLA students with valid id, and free for MCLA and Williams students and members. Call the box office at (413) 662-5204 for reservations. For more information, visit www.mcla.edu/presents or call (413) 664-8718.