Eric Thompson

LB ( lyrically blessed) is a multi-talented writer and lyricist that hails from the city of Wilson NC. LB is an N.C.A&T alum where he was a part of the spoken word group Couture Word. He has been writing for roughly 6 years, and fueled his writing passion into the starting of the spoken word group S.B.E (separate but equal).LB’s first love is slam poetry and has been slamming for 5 years. Some of his inspirations are Buddy Wakefield, Black Ice, Stefan Mekos, Bluz, and Dasan Ahanu. LB major accomplishments include, winning or placing in top 2 at over 20 poetry slam competitions across the southeastern area, winning grand slam champion at Bull City Slam in Durham NC, winning a spot on the Bull City Slam team from 2012-14, winning the Southern Fried Regional Poetry Slam, and placing in a top ranking at the National Poetry Slam in Oakland California. LB is known for being one of the hardest working poets in the south! He is the coach and mentor of the UNCG collegiate poetry team, and hosts writing workshops for budding poets on a regular basis. His poetry is gripping, edgy, passionate, moving, and spiritual. In his down time, he organizes poetry slams and open mics in his local city, and proves to be a witty, charming host. With his broad range of subject matters, from humor, to family, to race, to violence, self-esteem & confidence, to tragedy and loss, LB is a well-rounded writer with an uncanny ability to move people. He is currently working on his first cd and chapbook project entitled, “Voices in My Head”.

Khalisa Rae

Khalisa Rae is an award-winning author, activist, and storyteller. As a queer rights advocate and community builder, she seeks to uplift Black queer voices. She is the author of the poetry collection, Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat and the sold-out play production, Seven Deadly Sins of Being a Woman. An accomplished performer, journalist, and playwright, her writing has been featured in countless literary journals and magazines, including Pinch, PANK, Autumn House, Jezebel, Blavity, and NBC-BLK. Her impactful work has received an Appalachian Arts and Entertainment Award, a Gwendolyn Brooks Prize, and multiple Pushcart nominations, among others.

She is the founder of Think in Ink Literary Collective, the WOC Speak reading series, and a co-founder of the Griot and Grey Owl Black Southern Writers Conference. Khalisa Rae’s YA novel in verse, Unlearning Eden is forthcoming.