Trinidad-born, New York-based emcee MESSIAH has a message: words possess power. His own power was uncovered at the tender age of four, when he was encouraged to write and perform poetry by a second mother who once joined Bob Marley’s musicians and Olu Dara onstage.
From a household full of music and spirituality, to struggles with the U.S. immigration and justice systems, Messiah’s early journey culminated with recognition as Youth of the Year by the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington and Maryland. This caught the attention of media mogul Oprah Winfrey, whose $25,000 scholarship award enabled Messiah to attend prestigious Howard University where he followed in the footsteps of alumni Paul Laurence Dunbar, Stokely Carmichael and Toni Robinson to wield the power of the socially conscious pen.
Having sharpened his artistic sword, Messiah journeyed to the brighter lights of New York City where he became a three-time champion of the notoriously tough nationally-televised Apollo Theater showcase. His poem “Shareka Was A Champ” brought the Apollo crowd to their feet while illuminating the HIV crisis. The messenger was born. Messiah has gone on to release six hip-hop spoken word albums including the acclaimed Mission Statement Volume II (2014) featuring Nigerian jazz band Brave Boi. He's shared stages with a host of leading artists, including Lupe Fiasco, Styles P, Ledisi, Kelly Price, Raheem Devaughn, and Natalie Stewart a.k.a. The Floacist from Floetry. He also opened the BET Awards pre-show for Atlantic recording artist Janelle Monae, then went on to take the stage as a featured performer for the unveiling of the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Monument in Washington, DC, alongside Aretha Franklin and President of the United States Barack H. Obama.
In 2016, Messiah's new mixtape The Reminder features interpretations of tracks from Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Future, Drake, and other megastars, subverting the well known melodies to lift a message of freedom. Listen to tracks from The Reminder and book Messiah to enlighten your stage.
Venues have included the Source360 Hip-Hop Conference, New York University, Columbia University, South Carolina State University, Morgan State University, NBA All-Star Weekend, 20th Anniversary Million Man March, New York University, NBA All-Star Weekend, The Kennedy Center, Georgetown University and a host of community and educational organizations. His work has been featured by the late Tim Russert on NBC's Meet the Press, Black Enterprise magazine, BET and BET Jazz, NBC's Meet the Press and more.
Messiah's quest to engage and inspire brought him to Rikers Island jail in New York, one of just two states that still incarcerate 16-19 year olds as adults. Since 2012, he has served as a director and facilitator for Friends of Island Academy, providing creative writing coaching, mentorship, counseling and reentry services for incarcerated young men.
AVAILABLE MASTER CLASSES
- THE FACES OF BLACK YOUTH INCARCERATION
- HIP-HOP AND HEALTH
- CREATIVE WRITING AND POETRY: INTENSIVE
- CREATIVE WRITING AN POETRY FOR BEGINNERS
- CREATIVE ARTS AND ACTIVISM
- TRINIDAD TO THE USA: MY AMERICAN STORY
- SPIRITUALITY AND HIP-HOP
Messiah is the creator and curator of a monthly performance series called "Messiah & Friends," created for his fans in both New York City and Washington, DC. The result is a powerful collective of artists and messengers, converging for a night of live painting, diverse vocal performances, live band and DJ music, culinary arts, body painting and art exhibitions. Stay tuned for the upcoming Messiah & Friends Tour.