Spoken Word Artist Dasan Ahanu Selected as 2023 Piedmont Laureate
Dasan Ahanu is an artist, educator, scholar, and cultural organizer based in Durham, North Carolina. In addition to performing across the country, Dasan has hosted or coordinated many Poetry, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Cultural Arts events. As a writing fellow with the Center for Community Change in Washington, DC, he wrote and published articles and essays about the economic struggles for families, students, and artists. His artistic work was featured on National Public Radio (NPR), where he was noted for his appearances on News and Notes with Ed Gordon and State of Things with Frank Stasio. He has been showcased on NBC 17, featured on the third season of Lexus Verses and Flow aired on TV One, and in a documentary, Poet Son, presented on WUNC-TV as a part of the North Carolina Visions film series. He has worked with a number of North Carolina Hip Hop and Jazz artists and released several spoken word recordings. As a resident artist with the St. Joseph’s Historic Foundation/Hayti Heritage Center in Durham, NC, he has developed poetry and spoken word programming for youth and adults. He has competed regionally and nationally in poetry slam as a founding member and coach of Durham, NC’s own Bull City Slam Team. He is co-founder and managing director of Black Poetry Theatre, a Durham-based theatre company that creates and produces original stage productions. Dasan is the author of four poetry collections that include The Innovator (HWJW Publishing 2010), Freedom Papers (HWJW Publishing 2012), Everything Worth Fighting For: an exploration of being Black in America (Flowered Concrete 2016), and Shackled Freedom: Black Living in the Modern American South (Willow Books 2020).
Dasan is also an alumnus of the Nasir Jones Fellowship with the Hip Hop Archive at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Research. He is a scholar whose academic work focuses on critical writing, creative writing, Hip Hop, and popular culture. Currently, Dasan is a visiting professor at UNC-Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, NC where he teaches courses on Hip Hop and Black culture and a consultant working with organizations on art-based strategies. He is also the Rothwell Mellon Program Director for Creative Futures with Carolina Performing Arts.
A schedule of the Laureate’s 2023 activities will be posted on the sponsoring agency websites and on the Piedmont Laureate website at www.piedmontlaureate.org.
For more information about the Piedmont Laureate program, visit www.piedmontlaureate.org; contact Margaret DeMott, Director of Artist Services at firstname.lastname@example.org for Durham Arts Council or contact any of the other sponsoring agencies.