Kane Smego is an international touring spoken word poet and hip hop artist, educator, and National Poetry Slam finalist. He is the Associate Director and an artist alumnus of Next Level, a cultural diplomacy program that sends American hip-hop artists around the world to use music and dance in promoting cultural exchange, artistic collaboration, and community building. Kane has performed, taught, and managed programs with youth and adults of all ages across the U.S. and abroad on five continents.

Kane’s one-man show, Temples of Lung and Air, is a work of hip hop theater that premiered at Playmakers Repertory Company in 2018, was featured at the  United Solo Theatre Festival in NYC in 2019, and will run as a full production at the Detroit Public Theater in Nov-Dec of this year.

As a recording artist, Kane has released multiple albums featuring his poetry and hip hop music. He also featured on Grammy Award-winner King Mez’s debut album My Everlasting Zeal, and topped the Spotify Viral 50 billboard in May 2017 featuring on the song North Cack with G Yamazawa. The music video for the song appeared on BET Jams, and went on to win Best Music Video at the Hip Hop Film Festival in Harlem, NY.

He has been a keynote speaker at various conferences, a TEDex presenter, and performed at the Shriver Report Live hosted by Atlantic Magazine. Kane showcased mainstage at NACA West in 2014, as a lecturer at NACA Nationals 2017, and won Best Educational Session at NACA South 2017.




Finding Your Voice in Leadership: This performance and lecture discusses the role that our identity, experiences, and stories play in developing leadership, building collaborative relationships, and designing creative ways to engage our communities. Kane recounts his own experience as a co-founder and Artistic Director of a youth arts and education nonprofit.

Temples of Lung and Air: Drawing from his one-man theater show, this dynamic performance uses poetry, storytelling, acting, and Hip Hop verse to explore issues of race, whiteness, language, and Hip Hop as a tool for community building. Kane also offers a writing workshop to help students explore their own identities and discuss the complexities of race as a social construct.

Who I Really Am: Spoken Word and Constructing Identity: This performance and lecture examines spoken word poetry and storytelling as tools for expressing and constructing identity, celebrating diversity, and building relationships across lines of difference. As a young person whose own life was changed through his introduction to the art form, Kane discusses the ways in which his work as a youth educator and nonprofit director gives young people the tools to discover and express who they are and who they wish to be.

Stories for Change: Drawing on his experiences as an international touring artist and youth educator, and his experiences growing up in the American South, this dynamic talk and performance focuses on issues of race, gender, community building, and the stories that we all carry.  From the backwoods of Alaska to a hip hop festival in Zimbabwe, Kane takes listeners on a journey exploring the role that our layered identities, experiences, and stories play in leadership, relationships building, and community engagement.

Kindly Remove your Shoes: Reflections on International Collaboration through the Arts

As Americans striving to be better global citizens, how we show up in the countries of others requires sensitivity, humility, and openness. Drawing on his experience as an international touring poet, hip hop artist, and cultural diplomat Kane shares stories from his work on five continents and in over a dozen countries. His dynamic performance both celebrates and critically examines cross-cultural community-building and collaboration.

Workshops & Breakouts:

Word Up!

We all have a story to tell, what’s yours? Drawing on the concept of intersectionality pioneered by Kimberly Crenshaw and harnessing the power of poetry, this dynamic workshop helps students tell their own stories. As they are guided through a specific process, students will explore the myriad layers that make up their social identities, and create original works that celebrate the experiential wisdom each of them wields. Whether self-identified writers or beginners attempting the art form for the first time, this workshop will provide participants with the tools and guidance they need to craft powerful narratives in their own words.

Learning Outcomes:


  • Students will be able to analyze and communicate various aspects of their unique social identity through creative writing.


  • Students will be able to brainstorm, plan, and compose their own original works of narrative poetry infused with literary devices.
  • Students will be able to articulate and discuss the ways in which various aspects of a person’s social identity interplay to affect his/her/their lived experience.
  • Students will be able to explain the basic concepts of intersectionality and how they relate to the fields of diversity, inclusion, and social justice.
  • Students will be able to describe the global legacies of oral history and how they are linked to our innate use of storytelling in understanding and engaging with the world around us.

Kane’s workshops utilize his unique YouTh ink. Curriculum and are designed to lead participants in exploring their identities and life experiences, and in utilizing literary devices to communicate their stories through powerful works of spoken word poetry. Workshops can be customized depending on the experience level or age-group involved, as well as tailored to touch on certain themes or topics of a course or event.

Standard workshops are designed to be accessible to beginner and experienced writers alike. Participants with no experience at all will be taken through a writing process and come out of a workshop with their own original piece of spoken word poetry.

For groups made up entirely of veteran poets and slammers, workshops with more advanced writing prompts and techniques are available, as well as activities to improve their performance and public speaking abilities.

"Kane was FANTASTIC! I think he has been the best artist we have contracted with so far. The way he worked with our students was simply astounding." Assistant Director for Student Life/University of South Carolina Beaufort

"Kane Smego is truly a poetry mastermind. Not only is he gifted with words but has a way with students! Our students, flock to him and clear their schedules when they hear he is performing. St. Joseph's College has hosted Kane numerous times and will continue to bring him back."
Magie Hassanin
Assistant to the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students & Multicultural Student Life
Saint Joseph's College

“Kane Smego was an exceptional presenter and a highlight of the NASW 2014 National Conference! He was inspiring, powerful, thought-provoking, and passionate, all at the same time. As the opening presenter, he very effectively set an excellent tone for the entire event that followed.”
Richard E. Loomis
Manager, Conference and Event Planning
National Association of Social Workers

"Kane is a social justice, lyrical, genius." Alex Hines - Director for Diversity, Access and Equity/University of Minnesota

Kane Smego is by far the best spoken word community developer we have had at UNH. Kane’s authenticity/genuineness wins audiences over. He not only entertains, but helps our students develop, grow, and realize their potential impact on the world around them. Kane Smego is a true community developer.

Dave Zamansky - Assistant Director Memorial Union and Student Activities - University of New Hampshire