Dasan Ahanu is a North Carolina-based cultural organizer, artist, and scholar, and the Piedmont Poetry Laureate, and former Harvard fellow. He serves as the coach of the Jambalaya Soul Slam team in Durham, NC, and artist in residence at the Hayti Heritage Center. In conjunction with creative arts, his academic work focuses on critical writing, creative writing, hip-hop, and popular culture. The self-described introvert with a very public profession has always enjoyed challenges. More than blending culture and academia, Dasan balances the practical with possibilities. It’s this mindset that has afforded him the opportunity to craft dreams into accolades. Dasan is a visiting professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, teaching courses on hip-hop and Black culture. He has authored four poetry collections, The Innovator (HWJW Publishing, 2010), Freedom Papers (HWJW Publishing, 2012), Everything Worth Fighting For: An exploration of being Black in America (Flowered Concrete, 2016), and Shackled Freedom: Black Living in the Modern American South (Willow Books, 2021).