Elevating the power of poetry
Sekou Andrews to open GAC with words of inspiration and innovation.
One of Sekou Andrews’ greatest honors was traveling with Norman Lear when the TV and comedy legend purchased an original copy of the Declaration of Independence and toured the U.S. with it to inspire youth to vote.
Andrews was among the celebrity guests with whom Lear chose to share his message.
For Andrews, it was an opportunity display a category of public speaking he calls “poetic voice,” which “seamlessly blends inspirational speaking with spoken word poetry.”
Just as Andrews once urged young adults to turn out the vote with the Declaration of Independence in the foreground, he’ll urge credit union leaders to make the most of their advocacy opportunities in the nation’s capital during the opening Ed (Filene) Talk at the 2023 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference, which will be held Feb. 26 to March 2 in Washington, D.C.
“The best reactions I have are when someone is hesitant to commit to something but then they tell me my voice inspired them to green light the project,” Andrews says. “The other reaction I get is when people tell me they called their son, wife, or husband to establish a more human connection. The same goes for advocacy. You have to step forward and embrace those moments in Washington to make those human connections.”
Andrews began his career as musician and hip-hop artist but transitioned to poetry to focus more on the poetical aspect of his art.
“Hip-hop helped me discover my love for words, and for the stage,” he says. “Recording executives told me they liked my work but it just didn’t follow that hip-hop formula; the sometimes violent narrative of the music.”
Andrews built a following at poetry slams and, with entrepreneurial spirit and hard work, developed a space for this poetic voice approach. His accomplishments include two National Poetry Slam championships, two national poetry tours, two Independent Music Awards, three Helen Hayes Awards, the most “Just Plain Folks” music awards in history, and the first Best Spoken Word Album Grammy nomination for a poet in 30 years.
He wants his poetic voice style to transcend the “entertainment” label attendees may unconsciously assign to him. “Just when they think it’s about comedy and entertainment, they’ll find themselves texting a list of things they’ve learned to their team at home.”
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