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KEYNOTE SPEAKERS & PERFORMERS

Whether she has started her own business from an at-home hobby, started over while traveling through trials and tribulations, or simply changed her mind in her career or lifestyle choices; our speakers & performers have been selected on the basis of their willingness to tell their stories. She is not afraid to reveal her flaws or failings, because she understands that there is a difference between arriving at a destination and taking steps towards a divinely inspired destiny. She appreciates the journey.
You’ll get a glimpse of them on this page, and when you meet them in person, you’ll be even more impressed. Stay tuned for continuous updates.

DOLL #1 - Vo.

Tiffany Bacon - More about Tiffany coming soon, stay tuned.

Stephanie Renee - No stranger to the music world, Stephanie's voice has been featured on several commercial recordings, including Who Is Jill Scott and Patti LaBelle's When A Woman Loves. A respected promoter and rising media mogul, Stephanie's latest endeavors find her pouring her dynamic energies into the expansion of her non-profit arts education foundation Soul Sanctuary and promoting her numerous recorded releases: Tuning Forked Tongue, her first solo project; Creations from production team Steal Vybe (Little Angel Records); Love Is Key, a house music collection from Marlon D (Jellybean Soul/Sony); Unheralded, a compilation of new soul artists from around the globe compiled by DJ Come of Age; and a handful of other singles and EPs released on SpaceKat Records (CAN), Zedd Records (UK), Steal Vybe Music and King Street Sounds (US). When she's not taking over stages and speakers as a performer, Stephanie serves as the Chief Creative Catalyst for Creator's Child Productions, a creative services and artist management agency. She also hosts and produces the Soul Sanctuary Radio show and has made strong, supportive friendships with some of the world's best talent while promoting their music and spoken word to thousands of listeners worldwide (see their new MySpace page for more info). Stephanie's first documentary film, NO SUCH THING AS NEOSOUL, was named an Official Selection for the 2005 STARZ Denver Pan African Film Festival, and screened on Washington DC cable network DCTV in conjunction with the CAN A SISTA ROCK A FILM festival in June in celebration of Black Music Month. She is currently editing a second documentary titled UNSUNG, featuring interviews and performance footage of such notables as Mint Condition, Lalah Hathaway, Eric Roberson, Rahsaan Patterson and Will Downing, scheduled for release in late 2006. More info...


RhapsodE - In August 2003 RHAPSODE moved to Philadelphia to pursue her graduate degree in African American Studies....but she didnt stay away from the stage long and soon began to perform at local venues in the city...
RHAPSODE wears many hats as poet, vocalist, radio co-host, educator and entrepreneur. She currently balances her time between poetry and music performance and working with high school students preparing them for college. She also serves as founder and consultant of a creative consulting business...
PERFORMANCE VENUES/EVENTS....The Five Spot (Sidegig Black Lily and Soul Power), The October Gallery, Dowlings Palace, The Womb, The African American Museum in Philadelphia, Tritone, The Clef Club, The Rotunda, World Cafe Live, The Vegas Lounge (B-more), The Improv (NYC), The Sugar Bar (NYC), The Sugar Shack (NYC), African American Extravaganza (Philadelphia), Black Women Arts Festival (Philadelphia), Calvary Baptist Church Summerfest (Philadelphia), Katrina Aid Benefit Concert (West Chester University), Philadelphia International Art Expo, Philly Spoken Soul Tour, Toronto Urban Music Festival, 2005 West Oak Lane Jazz Festival (Philadelphia).... More info...


Kanene Holder - Former NYC Public School Teacher turned writer/actress; Kanene discovered her lust for the stage purely by accident. Fulfilling a senior elective at Howard University, she took acting due to peer pressure. Before the class was over, she made her acting debut in front of 1200 people including Spike Lee.
Always a poet, she moonlighted as an English teacher for 2 years in the South Bronx before finally committing to follow her bliss. As a result she melded her poetry and acting into SITCHAASSDOWN. She calls her one-woman theatrical experiment “Shock and Awe with an Intellectual Aftertaste”, due to its amalgamation of farce and socio-political truth. Kanene has also appeared in commercials for BET and Comedy Central and various independent films and educational cartoons.
She currently teaches acting at Harlem Children Zone and is proud of her grant from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council to facilitate a monologue lab for middle school aged youth focusing on socio-political issues. Kanene is also proud to be a published writer and has received awards from Editor’s Choice in Who’s Who in Poetry 2004, and Sony Queen In Waiting Honorable Mention Recipient

More info...

B. Victoria Durham is a poet, writer and a graduate of Temple University where she studied both Film and Media Arts and African-American Studies. It was at Temple that B. Victoria developed a passion for cultural and human rights and began her activism as a volunteer tutor to “at risk” youth with the Summer Bridge Program. She has since continued to serve the community by working with such organizations as Big Brothers Big Sisters and Amnesty International. These days, B. Victoria resides in the DC/Metro area where she works as a Community Service Coordinator at a local middle school. Still, B. Victoria’s passion for the arts will always equal that of her love for helping others. As an actress and spoken word artist, she has lent her poetic voice to such organizations as the BBC, WXPN radio, and Black Entertainment Television. To date, B. Victoria continues to share her talents as an artist throughout the east coast. Upcoming projects include spoken word performances at the Annual Locks Conference in Philadelphia and The Black Business Professionals Seminar in Boston.
More info...

Dr. Angelia D. Nelson author of "THE GHETTO IS NOT MY FINAL DESTINATION," who grew up in Garysburg, N.C. said as a child she was determined not to let the ghetto be her final destination. She said the world is full of drugs and violence and not many role models, at least not in N.C., hence, ''this book transpired as a motivational guide for children up to 19 years of age.'' She continued, I was working with kids in an after-school program and was a basketball coach at Tuskegee University, and watched the kids struggle to beat the odds. Emotionally and physically and I thought this would be a good tool to help them get motivated. She said she heard a voice that told her that the ghetto was not her final destination, and became a vessel for enlightenment.
Some noted chapters in the book include: Recognize and embrace your greatness; Believe that you deserve the best; OPP-get down with only positive people and more. Dr. Nelson is a motivational speaker and youth advocate. She is also the director of The Dawn Staley Foundation. Dawn Staley came out to support the signing and to inspire other youth that they too can get out the ghetto.

U-Meleni Mhlaba, M. Ed - She has written and produced a CD of poetry & music (in English and Shona) entitled “Soul Psalms, Birth, Death, and Resurrection”. “Talk about atoms in a cyclotron. We became a magnetic field taking in her images…." Kay Bourne, Bay state Banner. Her work is featured in a LIVE spoken word CD entitled, “Cipherspace”. Most recently, she was an honored writer for her poem” Feelings are only temporary” featured in the University of Maine The Binnacle Literary Arts Magazine in the fall of 2005. U-Meleni has acted, written the narration and performed her poetry in the independent film “In My Mother’s House”, directed by Andrew Millington shown at the Roxbury Film Festival in Boston, Massachuset. U-Meleni also served as a consultant for the award-winning feature film, “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” directed by Thato Mwosa, a film-maker from Botswana. Fashion-wise- she served as a model and opening Act for the Haitian Brothers Networking Nationwide (HBNN). Theatre performances include acting in several plays, and working with Our Place Theatre Company performing in The African-American Theatre Festival held annually at the Calderwood More info...

Taina Asili - is a Puertorriquena mother, teacher, poet, singer and visual artist, and recent winner of the Leeway Foundation's 2005 Transformation Award. Taina has featured at open mics, festivals and educational events across the country. she weaves resistance, love, identity, reclamation of the body, ancestral remembrance and more into a unique "story-telling" style of poetry. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Women's Studies from Binhamton University. Taina has collaborate with numerous artists such as renowned musician Stephen Wise, afro-modern dancers The Nzinga Arts Collective, and puppeteer Morgan Fitzpatrick. She has shared the stage with such prominent artists as Ursula Rucker, Sonia Sanchez, and most recently, Ryrone Hill of the Sun Ra Arkestra. He most recept artistic work includes her spoken-word multimedia performance Bend With The Wind. Taina has since taught poetry writing workshops for various age groups, including the co-facilitation of a bi-weekly poetry workshop in a women's correctional facility. More info...

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PASCEP Founder, Annie D. Hyman, Enstooled as Queen Mother In July 2003 a PASCEP delegation of 9 members visited Ghana, West Africa to attend the official enstoolment of Annie D. Hyman, PASCEP Founder. On Monday, 21 July 2003, Annie D. Hyman and Dr. William Ankobea of New York were enstooled as Nkosuohemaa and Nkosuohene of the Bekwai Traditional Area, respectively. Dr. Ankobea is a physician who is originally from Bekwai. He has a medical practice in New York. Ms. Hyman received the royal name of Nana Konadu Yiadom III at a celebration of over 1000 Ghanaians. Nana Hyman, as Queen Mother of Development, is responsible for overseeing the development of the town of Bekwai. She is responsible for acquiring resources and networking with individuals and groups who have an interest in promoting trade and growth in Bekwai. In February 2004, Nana Hyman hosted an open house that garnered financial support and a van load of goods and products for Bekwai.


Tanya Walters As a Registered Nurse and Self-Care Care Consultant, Tanya Walters’ passion is to share self-care & wellness tips to individuals, utilizing her home-based business, Warm Spirit as a vehicle. Warms Spirit consists of a collection of simple yet effective preparations for the skin and body, luxurious indulgences for an invigorating at-home spa experience, therapeutic homeopathic remedies, and herbal supplements for the entire family. She has developed a substantial customer base as well as a large team of Warm Spirit consultants who are pursuing their dreams of personal and financial empowerment. For wellness workshops, pamper parties, and business inquiries
Ms. Walters may be reached at tanya@warmspirit.org or 215-866-3316 (pin#8200).

Moncia Dillon Monica Dillon is a New Orleans native singer, pianist, composer, and producer. Her smooth sultry sounds have captivated those around the globe. Monica’s CD, “All I Have is a Moment” has gotten worldwide attention reaching those in the USA, Germany, London, Japan, Spain, Greece, France, Hungary and Croatia. Often compared to the likes of Nina Simone, Cassandra Wilson, Brenda Russell, Patrice Rushen, and even Joe Sample, Monica’s sound blends jazz, blues, funk, and folk. Telling stories and painting pictures is Monica’s claim to fame through her heartfelt and powerful original compositions and performances.
In spite of the painful reality that she lost everything during Hurricane Katrina, Monica is one of the very fortunate ones who was able to stay in New Orleans and rebuild most of what was lost. In spite of everything, she has still been performing post Katrina. In February 2006, she completed a German tour with a sold out concert in Potsdam as an invited guest at the Nikolaisaal “The Voice” Concert Series. Additionally, in the spring of 2006, she toured the East Coast of the United States with performances in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington, DC and New York. And in the fall, Monica opened for legendary blues/folk singer Odetta as part of the Hilltown Folk Concert Series in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts.
Monica’s music now appears in the feature length documentary by award winning documentary film-maker Aishah Shahidah Simmons. Simmons' groundbreaking documentary on intra-racial rape and sexual assault in the African-American community features Monica’s original song “No” in the end credits. Currently Monica is composing the score for the post Hurricane Katrina documentary, “Belly of the Basin,” led by the production company in Philadelphia called Sisters’ Eye On Media, co-founded and operated by award-winning filmmakers and scholars Professors Roxanna Walker-Canton and Tina Morton.
Monica calls herself the product of the many teachers and mentors who have shared wisdom with her throughout her travels. She credits her first piano teacher, Rose Marchand for having instilled in her a driving spirit and a dreaming heart. You can do whatever you want to do is her mantra and message every time she takes the stage.
A graduate of Vanderbilt University, with a degree in Electrical Engineering, Monica merges various genres of music in her repertoire including jazz, gospel, R & B, and adult contemporary. Among her list of accomplishments include the pleasure and privilege of opening for vocalist Lalah Hathaway, Odetta, as well as legendary local New Orleans artists such as Irma Thomas, Betty Shirley, Sharon Martin, violinist Michael Ward, and performing with Paul Batiste of the legendary Batiste Brothers & original member of War percussionist Harold Brown. More info...


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