Program:

The Bridge Project: Finding Connection in a time of Division

Life-long friends with over a decade of collaboration in the fields of youth engagement, creative arts and community building, poets CJ Suitt and Kane Smego explore what it means to nurture cross-cultural relationships. In this captivating performance and workshop, the duo reimagine healthy masculinity and celebrate the unique perspectives that we all carry, sharing their stories in verse and guiding participants in telling their own. Beyond the poetry, this program is an invitation to dialogue, fostering social-emotional learning and leading students in building a more connected campus community.

Performance & Workshop:

-celebrating multiculturalism

-fostering social-emotional learning and development

-helping build a more inclusive campus culture

-modeling healthy masculinity, cross-cultural dialogue, and community building

-raising social justice awareness

-leading students in telling and sharing their stories through creative writing and team-building activities

Bio:

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.

CJ Suitt (he,him/they,them) is a performance poet, arts educator, and community organizer from Chapel Hill, NC, whose work is rooted in storytelling and social justice. CJ co-directed, produced, and starred in a historical reenactment of the 1947 Freedom Rides, performed at many national and local music festivals, including Gnarnia, Shakori Hills and Bonnaroo, and acted in a production of Hands Up: 6 Playwrights, 6 Testaments. His career as an educator has allowed him to work with young people awaiting trial at the Durham Youth Home, older inmates whose voices have been silenced within the Orange County Correctional Facility, and high school and college-aged men pushing to redefine masculinity in their schools and communities. Additionally, he has collaborated with organizations such as Transplanting Traditions, Benevolence Farm, and Growing Change on the intersection of storytelling and food justice. CJ most recently appointed as the first Poet Laureate of Chapel Hill. He is committed to speaking truth to power and aims to be a bridge for communities who can’t always see themselves in each other.