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OMAI’s Passing the Mic Tribute Showcase - Chinaka Hodge, Dasha Kelly - <span class="date-display-single">10/18/2014 - 8:00pm</span>

OMAI’s Passing the Mic Tribute Showcase

10/18/2014 - 8:00pm

Overture Center for the Arts - Promenade Hall

This special evening will celebrate the life of a great spirit who has passed and many more spirits that are alive and deserve our love and solidarity. Nakila Robinson was the self-proclaimed “gatekeeper of all things fierce.” A young womyn representing those who are proud and loud about who they are, she was an inspiration to all of those around her to be better humans. Although on this world too briefly, her impact was vast and her life will be celebrated this evening by spoken word and hip hop arts pieces from those that were impacted by her ferocity including a special performance by the 8th cohort of First Wave. 



OMAI’s Associate Artistic Director Rain Wilson will close out the event with a special tribute performance to the life of Maya Angelou that also addresses the challenges facing our own community outlined in the Race to Equity Report. 



As a social justice warrior, Nakila would have fought for the rights of the defenseless and desperate young Central American refugees who have arrived to the United States with nothing but hope for a better future in their minds. Guillermo Anderson, one of Central America’s most important artistic leaders and stars hailing from Honduras will showcase, through his music, the beauty and majesty of Central American culture and arts and provide a message about what can be done to support the next generation of youth arriving to our nation.

Chinaka Hodge

About Presenter Chinaka Hodge


Chinaka Hodge is a poet, educator, playwright and screenwriter. Originally from Oakland, California, she graduated from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in May of 2006, and was honored to be the student speaker at the 174th Commencement exercise. In 2010, Chinaka received USC’s prestigious Annenberg Fellowship to continue her studies at its School of Cinematic Arts. She received her MFA in Writing for Film and TV in 2012. In the fall of that year, she received the SF Foundation’s Phelan Literary Award for emerging Bay Area talent. Chinaka was also a 2012 Artist in Residence at The Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin, CA. In January 2013, Hodge was a Sundance Feature Film lab Fellow for her script, 700th&Int’l.  In June of 2013 Chinaka began as a first year fellow at Cave Canem’s prestigious summer retreat.


For over a decade, Hodge has worked in various capacities at Youth Speaks/The Living Word Project, the nation’s leading literary arts non-profit.  During her tenure there, Chinaka served as Program Director, Associate Artistic Director, and worked directly with Youth Speaks’ core population as a teaching artist and poet mentor. She has acted in comparable capacities in New York and Los Angeles at Urban Word NYC and Get Lit: Words Ignite.  When not educating or writing for the page, Chinaka rocks mics as a founding member of a collaborative Hip Hop ensemble, The Getback. Her poems, editorials, interviews and prose have been featured in Newsweek, San Francisco Magazine, Believer Magazine, PBSNPR, CNN, C-Span, and in two seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry.

Dasha Kelly

About Presenter Dasha Kelly


Dasha Kelly wields her words and wonder as tools for building inspiration and communities.  An accomplished writer, artist and social entrepreneur, Dasha travels the country as a keynote speaker, teaching artist, workshop facilitator and performance artist. She founded an arts program called Still Waters Collective, which utilizes creative writing and spoken word to shape confidence and leadership with youth across southeastern Wisconsin. Dasha has performed on HBO's Def Poetry Jam, in Opium Magazine's Literary Death Match, at the National Performers Network Conference and with Grammy-nominated Angie Stone, to name a few. Her writings have appeared in anthologies, textbooks, magazines and online. she has been featured as a freelance writer for Upscale, Black Enterprise and Milwaukee magazines.  Dasha's first novel, All Fall Down (Syntax 2003), earned her a position on Written Word Magazine's Top Ten List of Up-and-Coming Writers of the Midwest. A featured story from her collection, Hershey Eats Peanuts (Penmanship Books 2009), was a finalist in the Abbey Hill Literary Awards.  She recently released her second collection, Call It Forth, and her second novel, Almost Crimson, will be published by Curbside Splendor in spring 2015.


Dasha holds an MFA in Creative Writing and a masters' degree in Marketing Communications. She traveled to Botswana as an Arts Envoy for the U.S. Embassy. She served as the fourth writer-in-residence for the prestigious Pfister Hotel. Two years in a row, she was included on OnMilwaukee.com's list of "Top 100 Coolest Milwaukeeans," where she lives with her two daughters and a cat named Shkoobi.

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