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Liberian-born multidisciplinary artist, e.g. bailey, is an actor, spoken word artist, filmmaker, playwright and producer. Arriving in the Twin Cities in 1993, he has actively pursued acting, performing and spoken word. He is a founding member of Sirius B, a black male performance collective––with whom he performed and created and co-wrote monday morning body count, a performance work dealing with the high rate of homicide among black men; participated in a performance called a day in the life, at the Gig, an event that was broadcast via telecast to England; and in Griots Forum, a diverse collection of performance art pieces. He also is an original member of Spine: a writer’s collective developed by the Loft and the Walker Art Center. Spine produced spoken word performances at several local venues and created a performance at the Walker Art Center, entitled Spine: stripped bare, for which we created the performance piece murder’s home, concerning the psychological effects of Supermax prisons on Black men.
In 1997, he co-founded Arkology, a spoken word and music collective, which was chosen in the City Pages’ “Picked to Click” Best New Band Poll in 1998 and 1999. In addition, e. g. co-wrote and co-produced blues for nina: a poetic interpretation of the life and music of nina simone, for SASE: The Write Place and the Twin Cities Black Film Festival. He also co-founded and co-produced, for four years, Write On RaDio! (WORD!), a weekly literary radio program on KFAI Fresh Air Radio, which has received a NFCB (Nation Federation of Community Boardcasters) award. And is a co-founder of the film collaborative, dream café Xperience, with filmmaker Ayesha Adu, which produced the spoken word film village blues, which has won experimental film awards at the Worldstaff Houston International Film Festival (1999) and the Sarah Lawrence Film Festival (2001) and has been shown in several film festivals in the Twin Cities.
Also in 1997, he co-produced the opening of Jacob Lawrence and Gwendolyn Knight: Lives Connected for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and performed as a dancer in poet J. Otis Powell!’s performance work THEOLOGY: Love and Revolution. In 1999, he was commissioned by Pangea World Theater to adapt Chinua Achebe’s novel No Longer at Ease to the stage. This adaptation was produced in June 2001 at the Playwright Center, with a successful run that included 10 sold out shows in the 16 show run. He also created, with actress Shá Cage, an experimental movement/spoken word/video performance piece based on their separate journeys to Africa, called Birth Spirit Songs; and was recently in Pangea’s production of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros.
Returning from a sojurn to Africa in 1999, during which he returned home after 20 years away from his home and family, he developed the role the Mystic for Vox Medusa’s dance piece Cleopatra: Ambitious Child, in which he used fragments from the Per-em-hru (The Book of the Coming Forth Into Day, commonly known as the Egyptian Book of the Dead), the oldest book known to mankind, which describes the journey of the soul in the underworld after death––the mystic sings the praises of Khepera, the creator of the gods, and prays for the safe journey of the souls and a righteous judgment at the weighing of the heart. The same year, he also co-produced LMC & SASE’s O Black and Unknown Bards, a choral and spoken word performance celebrating the African American poetic and musical tradition from slavery to the present, which featured several of his own works and arrangements.
Currently, he produces Words Will Heal the Wound: a celebration of community through poetry, a spoken word radio series for KFAI Fresh Air Radio in celebration of National Poetry Month and in honor of the diverse poetic traditions in the Twin Cities; the series is now in its third year. The first volume of the series was released in June 2001 on his spoken word and music label, Speakeasy Records. In 2002, Speakeasy Records released its second CD, Nazirah’s Playhouse, the debut album of spoken word artist Nazirah P. Mickey. A recording from the CD was recently featured in the Urban Bush Women’s Hair Stories.
He also co-founded, and is Artistic and Executive Director of the MN Spoken Word Association, Minnesota’s first resource organization dedicated to poets and spoken word artists, and has co-produced, for two years, the first conference dedicated to spoken word and spoken word artists, Singers of Daybreak, to engage dialogue about the art of spoken word with local and nationally recognized spoken word artists. The conference has featured such artists as the Last Poets, Carl Hancock Rux, Talaam Acey, Marc Smith, David Mura, Bao Phi, i was born with two tongues, Slug (Atmosphere) and numerous others. The conference was first held in August 2001, and was conducted in partnership with the National Poetry Slam in August 2002.
He is also studying film production at MCTC, and is working, with actress Shá Cage, on their second short film, Réflection. They both manage Trú Rúts Endeavors, their non-profit arts organization that provides opportunities and avenues for artists to honor and celebrate their culture through the arts. It includes the spoken word CD label Speakeasy Records, Trú Rút Productions, Mbari Gallery and others.
For the past seven years, e.g. has documented, through video and audio, performances by the spoken word community in the Twin Cities. He also serves as video editor and technician for the Langston Hughes Project, a touring performance of Langston Hughes’ epic poem Ask Your Mama, which has had performances all over the country, including Carnegie Hall and the Langston Hughes’ 100th birthday celebration and conference in Lawrence, Kansas in 2002. He has served as videographer for a number of theatre performances including Stigmatism, a spoken word and theatre performance by esteemed spoken word artist J. Otis Powell!, and The Bi-Show, a theatre performance by female performance collective, MaMa mOsAiC. He is currently seeking funds to complete his documentary of his journey to Liberia in 1999, tentatively titled Gateway.
In February 2002, he founded a new spoken word radio show, Tehuti: The Art of Spoken Word, which aims to further the reach and understanding of the art of spoken word. Broadcast from the award winning KFAI radio station, the show features works from the history of spoken word including the Beat Movement, the Black Arts Movement, the Slam Movement and others. It features works of artists such as the Last Poets, Gil Scott Heron, Amiri Baraka, Jessica Care Moore, Saul Williams, Carl Hancock Rux, Sekou Sundiata, Mike Ladd, Nikki Giovanni, Ursula Rucker, and others too countless to list. Also in 2002, he performed at the National Poetry Slam Finals in Minneapolis. He also serves as the Spoken Word Editor for ache magazine, a literary journal for emerging writers in the Twin Cities.
His work continues to grow and expand in 2003. He teaches various workshops and residencies covering a number of artistic disciplines, including spoken word, theatre and multi-media. He recently completed a collection of poetry, Sojourney, a work that merges the various literary and historical influences with jazz, blues and spoken word. He is Executive Producing the fourth year of the Words Will Heal the Wound spoken word radio series; and is currently Executive Producing four albums for Speakeasy Records, to be released by the Fall of 2003. He has also inaugurated a new spoken word radio show, Urban Griots, presented by the MN Spoken Word Association and KMOJ radio station. In addition, he is co-producing, with his partner Shá Cage, through Trú Rúts Endeavors, the production of Zell Miller’s The Evidence of Silence Broken, co-presented by Pillsbury House Theatre, directed by Daniel Alexander Jones and featuring DJ Kitundu. He is also Assistant Director of MaMa mOsAiC’s new production Making Medea.
bailey was the winner of the Hughes Knight Diop Poetry Award at the Annual Black Writer’s Conference in 1995, and was chosen for Intermedia Art’s Exchanges artist mentoring program the same year. He has been chosen for the Powderhorn Writers’ Festival’s Broadside Project, in a collaboration with graphic artist Walter Kitundu; and several of his poems were published in their publication Solid Ground. His poems have also been published in Warpland, a publication by the Gwendolyn Brooks Center. In 1998 he received a MN State Arts Board Cultural Collaborations grant to produce a year long series of experimental spoken-word performances, called the Nu Ark Experiments. He is also a 1999 recipient of the St. Paul Companies LIN Grant, which enabled him to travel home to Africa after twenty year in the States; and is a co-recipient, with filmmaker Ayesha Adu, of the Jerome Foundation’s Media Arts grant to produce Cord, a feature length narrative film. In addition, his poem, we were not always missing, was included in the millennial issue of Drumvoices Revue, an African American literary journal.
He continues to write, teach, produce and perform throughout the Twin Cities and beyond.