Born and raised in Alaska, National Slam Poetry Champion Noël Jones moved to New York City in 1994 to become a jazz vocalist. Upon discovering slam poetry in 1997, she battled her way to a national championship with Team NYC-Urbana at the NPS championship in Providence, Rhode Island, in 2000. Featured on 60 Minutes and in The New York Times, Jones was elected to be part of an all-woman tour introducing slam poetry to Denmark, where she won the Amazon Mermaid Slam in Copenhagen and performed on Danish radio and television.
Slam Poetry as a Tool for Empowering Girls & Young Women
Jones uses her powerful command of language to provide young women with an understanding of their true potential and place in society. Says Jones, "These programs are critical as the latest wave of feminism seeks to empower girls and young women who often still lack the confidence to stand up and speak in public. It is important for them to see female role models not just standing up, not just speaking, but speaking fearlessly and powerfully in the company of men."
Spoken Word as a Means of Reducing Violence in Our Community
Violence, especially among our youth, is often a result of feeling powerless, unheard and alone. Living in a culture, and educational system, where the self-expression of strife that our youth are often experiencing is regularly punished, slam poetry provides a forum and a creative outlet for all that energy which will be championed and applauded.
In this inspiring keynote speech, Jones highlights how our young people can find creative outlets to not only express themselves, but empower themselves in their daily lives.
Spoken Word as a Call to Activism in Our Communities
As an activist in her community, Jones finds it rewarding to see how her ability to stand up at City Council and Town Hall meetings to take on elected officials emboldens other citizens to do the same. In this keynote presentation, Jones details her own experiences using spoken word as a call to activism in her own community, and expresses how others can do the same.
Jones details the transformation of her friends, family and neighbors from politically disenfranchised and silent citizens to an engaged electorate excited about their role in democracy.
Teaching Slam Poetry in Schools
There are two major challenges to consider when teaching spoken word performance in our public schools. First, we must get kids to write their own poetry—that's the easy part, because they virtually brim with talent. Second, we must establish a sense of confidence in them that they can not only get up and speak, but master the attention of an auditorium full of their high-energy peers.