Jamaal Jackson Rogers was named Ottawa's English-language Poet Laureate by Mayor Jim Watson in March. Rogers, a spoken word artist, arts educator, residential counsellor for adults with disabilities, and creative director of Origin Arts and Community Centre, will be the city's first poet laureate in over 25 years.
Jamaal Jackson Rogers is a Black Muslim Canadian Spoken Word poet in Ottawa. He has coached and supported several of the city’s up and coming Spoken Word poets. Muslim Link interviewed him about his personal journey as an artist.
Edmontonian Spoken Word poet Nasra Adem was in Ottawa in August to perform in the Artistic Showcase of the Youth Can Slam National Youth Poetry Festival. But she’s no stranger to the Nation’s Capital. “That was like 10 years of my life!” Nasra, who’s only 20, exclaimed.
Gaza, and Palestine in general, has always been portrayed through the gory images of bombings, the dead and the injured, bloodshed and tons of rubble and destruction. Although this is an ugly reality that should never be concealed from the eyes of the international audience that observe the goings-on in Palestine through the media, there is no personal connection that is made with the Palestinian people where they can be recognized for the things that make people human. What many people end up being surprised to realize is that Gaza, outside the scope of war and violence, is a beautiful city full of people that are immersed with the love for their culture, traditions, cuisine, history, and nation.
Jamaal Jackson Rogers is a Muslim poet who uses the spoken word to inspire his audiences to achieve their passions and pursuits. His mix of rhythm and poetry has been welcomed on international stages and his topics are based on spirituality, community, and family.
“I HATED English, which makes the whole poetry thing a surprise even for myself,” shared Ali Awada about his unlikely success as a rising star in Ottawa's Spoken Word scene. Ali, 23, grew up in Detroit, the son of Lebanese parents who decided to move to Canada when he was 10. Ali broke onto the scene at Capital Slam in December 2012. He placed second in his first ever competition, and then won first place the next week. Ali took the stage name ”˜Ali Islam' and “the rest is history.” He has performed at Muslim community events from high school Eid Dinners to the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) Eid Festival, and recently opened for YouTube sensation FouseyTube in Montreal during his Canadian tour. You will find Ali performing solo or in the hip hop group House of Halaal with Jae “Deen” Asare.
After Muslim Link's 10 anniversary celebration, I made a decision; I was going to have a spoken word event. At the mosque.
Yes, you heard me right. I asked Sarah Musa, a fellow spoken word artist, to embark on this task with me. I then wrote an event proposal and emailed to a contact from the mosque. Within a few days, I had the approval.