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Greensboro, North Carolina, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1991 | SELF

Greensboro, North Carolina, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1991
Solo Hip Hop Spoken Word




"Gilbert-Chappell Series Announces 2020 Mentees"

January 2020

The Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poetry Series is pleased to announce this year’s 12 emerging poets. In the eastern region, Kalaiya Corbin (high school), Raleigh; Jo Ann Hoffman (adult), Beaufort; Kelly Jones (adult), Tabor City; and Leslie Sexton (adult), Winterville, will work with Distinguished Poet Anna Lena Phillips Bell. In the central region, Hausson Byrd (college), Greensboro; Adeja Cheek (high school), Durham; Valeria Macon (adult), Fuquay-Varina; and Jermaine Monroe (adult), Greensboro, will work with Distinguished Poet Dasan Ahanu. And in the western region, Jane Mary Curran (adult), Asheville; Audra Gibbs (high school), Marion; Danielle Hutchinson (high school), Sylva; and Emma Grace Stokes (middle school), Morganton, will work with Distinguished Poet Ricardo Nazario y Colón. - North Carolina Poetry Society

"Edification and Entertainment"

By Rodger Mullen
Staff writer

Posted Feb 20, 2020 at 10:01 AM
Before a recent installment of Art Meets Life at The Sweet Palette bakery and performance space in downtown Fayetteville, host LeJuane “L.J.” Bowens had some instruction for the crowd.

Or rather, a lack of instruction.

“You can clap, you can say, ‘Go ahead,’ you can make a face like you’re constipated, ...” Bowens said. “What I’m saying is, you can be yourself here.”

“Anything goes” is the order of the day at the monthly performance series, which has been a part of the downtown arts scene for about four years.

That can mean poetry or it can mean music. It always means plenty of audience interaction and a chance to get to know the artist being featured.

Held at 7:30 p.m. the first Friday of each month at the Person Street business, Art Meets Life has been attracting crowds since Bowens and Sweet Palette manager Adam Crawford came up with the concept.

Bowens said the idea was to provide something new in the local arts scene.

“We met at the now-defunct Rock Shop (club) over cupcakes and beer,” Bowens said. “We wanted to come up with an idea to do an open mic that was different from the other open mics in Fayetteville.”

At a typical Art Meets Life session, the first half of the show is given over to the audience. Anyone is invited to come to the microphone and perform a poem, song or monologue.

The atmosphere is welcoming. People of all levels of talent and experience are encouraged to do their bits.

“It’s safe,” Bowens said. “Nobody’s going to demean or say anything in a negative way.”

After that, the guest artist is introduced. Bowens conducts a question-and-answer session with the guest that he likens to what host James Lipton would do on the “Inside the Actors Studio” show.

“It’s art, but it’s also getting to know the life of the artist,” Bowens said. “You’re allowed to get a chance to meet the person behind the art.”

On a recent evening, dozens of people filtered into Sweet Palette for the monthly set. The special guest was Jermaine Monroe, a spoken-word artist who performs under the name Main Man.

The guests were a mixture of first-timers and longtime Art Meets Life participants.

Tiffanie Williams was visiting for the first time. She said she heard about the program on Facebook and came looking for “grown-up, clean adult fun.”

“It’s something different,” Williams said. “I didn’t know they had this in Fayetteville, and I’ve been here five years.”

Ed Owens is an author and spoken-word artist who performs under the name Spirit Wolf.

“The main thing I noticed when I came in the first time is how they embrace the artist,” Owens said. “The audience is welcoming. Even if they don’t know you, they welcome what you’ve got to say.”

Gwendolyn Simmins said she is a writer but calls herself “reclusive,” and said she doesn’t like being in front of a microphone.

“I enjoy people who have the guts to stand up there and do,” Simmins said.

Standing in front of a brick wall where paintings by local artists hang, Bowens welcomed the crowd.

He encouraged spectators to be vocal, whether that meant cheering, clapping or snapping fingers. The only requirement was to keep it positive.

Bowens then turned the mic over to any guest who wanted to get up and share.

One performer did a monologue about the beauty of black women’s hair. Another recited a piece about the experience of being transgender, and another spoken-word piece centered on the topic of white privilege.

Then, Bowen brought Monroe — Main Man — to the stage. He quizzed him about everything from his concept of God to how he got his start as a spoken-word artist.

“It’s therapy for me when I write it, and it’s therapy for other people when I give it away,” Monroe said in answer to a question from Bowens about his creative process.

Monroe, who lives in the Greensboro area, is a winner of spoken-word and poetry competitions. He hosts a radio show called “Radio Unfriendly” and directs M.A.D.E., a youth leadership program.

In front of the appreciative crowd, Monroe delivered animated, energetic raps that touched on the ubiquitous nature of technology, graffiti and other subjects.

Earlier in the evening, Bowen said Art Meets Life serves a dual purpose for the people who attend.

“People show up not only to get entertained but to get edified,” he said. “Edification and entertainment — that’s what it’s all about.”

Staff writer Rodger Mullen can be reached at or 910-486-3561. - The Fayetteville Observer

"Emerging Diverse Artist"

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT! December 1 at 2:00 will be here before you know it. Today, more about Main Man, our featured poet and spoken word artist. Main has emerged onto the North Carolina (and national) spoken word scene and quickly garnered widespread respect and accolades. He is: a Member of the Piedmont Triad's W.O.R.D Society, and has been named 2019 Bloc Award Poet of the Year. Additionally, he was the 2017 Wordplay Grand Slam Poetry Champion & 2019 Detour Grand Slam Champion.

Artist, mentor, radio host, and advocate for arts in our schools, Main's performances challenge, invigorate, and educate. They inspire us to be our best selves...and to elicit that in others. You can visit him online at

Sunday, 1 December, 2:00, Orange County Public Library (Main Branch, Hillsborough.) Look forward to seeing you there! - WHUP 104.7 FM

"Episode 22 - Main Man w/ T. Walker"

Spoken Stories • Aug 22, 2018 By Endlesswill

Endlesswill, 2016-2018 Hillsborough’s Poet Laureate, brings today’s stories to life through powerful music and poetry performances of contemporary artists. Spoken Stories will bring new worlds to the ear through the blending of lyrical hip-hop, R&B, and spoken word performances. Enjoy an hour filled with beats, ballads, and laughter as Endlesswill draws out how each artist began their journey, their creative process, and their relationship to music and poetry.

Our guest is Jermaine "mainMAN" Monroe is an Artist/ Activist/ Poet/ Emcee/ Painter/ Author/ Playwright/ Illustrator/ Designer, the Founder/CEO of mainATTRACTIONs, a Multimedia Marketing Firm, the Founder/EnVisioneer of mainTAINment, a production company, the Executive Director of the Greensboro School of Poetry, a Nonprofit Afterschool Collective that teaches literacy & life skills through poetry & Hip-Hop, the Program Director of M.A.D.E., a neighborhood youth leadership program that empowers teenagers to career development, a Member of W.O.R.D. Society, an artistic conglomerate of writers, the 2017 Greensboro Wordplay Grand Slam Poetry Champion and host of the Gatekeepers Slam​ With musical artists, T. Walker. - Spoken Stories

"Monday Night Poetry (near) the Park"

Monday, December 18, 2017 at 7 PM – 8:30 PM

Celebrate rhythm and rhyme every third Monday with an open mic session for all area poets. Share your own work or read your favorite poem. This month our featured poet will be Jermaine "mainMAN" Monroe. mainMAN is a spoken word artist, painter, and playwright. He has won several poetry slams along the east coast and as far as Texas and was the host of the Wordplay Slam. The location for the winter months, we will meet inside Central Library. Join us! Questions? Contact Beth Sheffield at 336-373-3617 - Greensboro Public Library

"Slam Poets Society"

Every poem by the slam champ landed a punch. - Issue TCB

"Slam Poets Face Off At The Artist Bloc"

By Lauren Barber -November 30, 2017

Soft R&B filled the intimate space as patrons filtered in, taking seats along a booth-lined wall or glossy, black-leather sofas, some with bottled beers and others with the night’s cocktail special, “Word Play,” in hand. Warm ceiling lights set the scuffed-up, raised stage and a lone mic aglow.

Events coordinator Tiana Bryant hosts Word Play, a slam-poetry competition, the last Saturday of every month at the Artist Bloc, a gallery, coffeehouse and creative meeting space in Greensboro. True to the slam tradition, the night’s emcee, Jermain “Main Man” Monroe, sought out five members of the audience new to poetry slams to serve as judges. Those with freshly anointed powers rated the three-minute performances on a zero to 10 scale on small dry-erase boards. The lowest and highest scores are scrapped in slams for a highest possible score of 30.

Decked out in blue and orange garb, Main Man sacrificed himself as a trial run for the first-time judges, performing an aptly named poem “Sacrifice” about his first slam.

Slam poetry is as physical as it is literary. Nearly every poet began with their back to the crowd facing their backdrop, a burgundy curtain, collecting themselves before turning to deliver the piece, their arms conduits for sending energy to the audience.

Donning all-black attire, Jasmine Williams crooned the opening lines of “Amazing Grace” as prelude to mourning Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice, tragic examples of black boys who “can’t outrun bullets” and questioned claims of social progress in America.

Ayanna Albertson, too, began in song. After a few lines of Etta James’ “All I Could Do Was Cry,” she recounted seeing her ex-boyfriend with another woman and shared a list of 10 truths about the healing process. She relied on everything from too much ice cream and blasting trap music to realizing that: “4. He wasn’t yours to begin with/ Faithful men cannot be stolen/ Happy homes cannot be broken.” Early on, Albertson demonstrated a masterful ability to oscillate between humor and solemnity, eliciting both laughter and empathetic “Mmh’s” from the crowd. Every poem’s final words packed a punch: “And remember — Adam needed Eve, not the other way around.”

Kisherra Day, who goes by “KD,” disclosed childhood abuse as she gently walked through the audience, compelling attendees to reckon with the trauma she still carries in her flesh, now two or three feet from their own. Though partially veiled by her baggy jeans and baseball cap, her vulnerability shone through.

Hausson Byrd started by addressing the plunder of black bodies through state violence rather than mining personal experience, but changed tacks in the second round. The death of his grandmother set him spiraling into the realization he didn’t know her well enough to write a poem for her funeral.

“The only time I can really grieve is on the stage/ The only time I feel like calling is when they’re in the grave.” Of all contestants, his delivery settled quietest on listener’s ears despite the weight of his words.

The righteously angry pulse of Jugo Alexander’s delivery matched the subject of his second poem, a eulogy of sorts from the perspective of Trayvon Martin as George Zimmerman followed him down the street before killing him. Alexander never confined himself to the stage, favoring movement throughout the room. Whether intentional or not, walking created a visceral association with the experience of his subject and Alexander’s height caused ceiling lights to illuminate his bleach-stained T-shirt and face as he gazed upward and closed with, “I am the light and I am Trayvon Martin.”

Emcee Main Man maintained a light mood between artists’ appeals to God and intimate disclosures without disrespecting the atmosphere. Between one round, he revived a jovial mood singing Guy’s “Let’s Chill” when he couldn’t get a Pandora station to work.[pullquote]Learn more about the Artist Bloc at[/pullquote]

In the third and final round, Alexander delivered yet another ode to black women which, while lovely, seemed a bit hackneyed and veered toward confining black women to pedestals rather than celebrating their humanity. Byrd, though, looked to his future, considering how he might raise a son. Instead of pushing him into what Byrd considers the slave-like conditions of a football career, he would guide him towards academia and away from unhealthy conceptions of masculinity because “he is already good enough.”

Despite admirable performances, no one’s delivery quite matched up against the elegance of Ayanna Albertson’s measured cadence or the breadth of themes she explored.

During her championship encore, Albertson flipped the evening on its head and levelled with her audience about writing poetry about saving her ex-partner from suicide — no humor this round.

“Why is it that poetry has a way of healing everyone but the person who writes it?/ Uses just enough literary devices that you overlook the cry for help/ Consider it a good concept when a poet has a breakdown on stage/… I have learned that not all pain deserves this here platform/… But today, I have chosen not to trigger myself back into trauma, into depression and into grief for the sake/ of writing/ a good/ poem.” - Triad City Beat



Besides being a dope poet, a vicious emcee and an iLL human being, mainMAN is also the 2020 NC Poetry Society Gilbert-Chappell Fellowship recipient, 2019 Bloc Awards Spoken Word Artist of the Year, a MADE Mentoring Activist and the host of the #1 Undisputed HipHop Talk Show “Radio Unfriendly” on WHUP 104.7 FM. His purpose is the preservation of dopeness in Black culture as well as the creation of intelligent leaders.

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