For the first time in the history of the Women of the World Poetry Slam, we have two poets that tied for first place!
Congratulations to Imani Cezanne and Emi Mahmoud for bringing their poems from their homes into our hearts and sharing the first place title.
A little more about our champions:
Born and raised in San Diego, CA, Imani Cezanne is a passionate poet, workshop facilitator, community organizer and slam coach. She just recently returned home from taking 2nd place at the Women of the World Poetry Slam in Austin, Texas.
In the past four years Imani Cezanne has been on four National Poetry Slam teams (San Diego (2), Oakland and Da Poetry Lounge), three of which placed in the top six at the National Poetry Slam. Last season, along with two of her team members, she was invited to perform on the TV One network’s Verses and Flow, a cable television show dedicated to showcasing performance poets from around the country, all while obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Africana Studies from San Francisco State University. Imani has continued to grow as an artist while working with some of the country’s leading poets including Rudy Francisco, Ant Black, and Natasha Miller and been coached by San Diego’s Chris Wilson (San Diego Slam Team) and Da Poetry Lounge’s Shihan Van Clief (Da Poetry Lounge Slam Team).
Imani is also the founding President of S.P.E.A.K. (Spoken Poetry Expressed by All Kinds), San Francisco State University’s first poetry-centered organization. She organized and hosted S.P.E.A.K.’s bi-monthly open mics which has showcased nationally known artists such as Rudy Francisco, Prentice Powell, Marshall Jones and more. She facilitates their monthly writing workshops and coached SFSU’s first ever poetry slam team to 5th in the nation at the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational this year.
A poet and activist originating from the war-town region of Darfur, Emi Mahmoud is the reigning Individual World Poetry Slam Champion of 2015—the number one poet in the world this year. Currently a senior at Yale University, a Leonore Annenberg Scholar, and Global Health Fellow, Emi studies Anthropology and Molecular Biology at Yale in the hopes of one day alleviating structural disparities on maternal and child health in disadvantaged communities the world over. Outside of academics, Emi is involved in the Yale Refugee Project, contributes to an international research initiative, and teaches spoken word poetry on campus and through ConnCAT in order to empower youth with the power of voice in various communities. In recent years, Emi has participated in and co-coached the Yale CUPSI slam team. As a child and adolescent, Emi was a public speaker presenting poetry across the country as part of the Darfur Alert Coalition and raising awareness and aid to address the often blood-relative victims of genocide in Darfur, her homeland. A member of the Loser Slam NPS 2015 National team and 2015 World Champion, Emi has and continues to collaborate with various artists in an attempt to use poetry and other art forms to celebrate the full extent of human expression.