Urban Thoughts: PHOENIX PROJECT & TWH RETREAT
GREAT NEWS: I received an email from THE WATERING HOLE from Co- Founders: Candace Wiley and Monifa Lemons that said, “…that my work was strong.” I applied and have been on pins and needles wondering if I would be accepted. What is The Watering Hole? It is a highly competitive writer’s retreat created from fellows of the Cave Canem South Workshop and Callaloo Writing Workshops. The “living rooms at the cabins are pushed to recreate the atmosphere of the down-home sit-downs that Harlem Renaissance artists and Black Arts writers hosted in their living rooms. Fellows learn at the feet of each other just as much as they learn from our renown facilitators and speakers–who are winners of the National Book Award, MacArthur Genius, NAACP Image Award, American Book Award, Whiting Writer’s Award, National Slam Championship, among other international and national writers.
VALUE: As a man of color from Memphis, I will be the first to go from Memphis and to my knowledge from the State of TN. This will secure me among national and international poets that have been highly successful around the world. This will allow a bigger platform for Memphis artist while highlighting some of the art that we have here. It will offer new links to different areas of poetry previously that have not had bridges from Memphis. The messages of The Phoenix Project will expand and create a deeper value for the release of the book by adding editing, workshopping, and high level valued recommendations from respected members of the community.
PROBLEM: The cost of travel and lodging is $1000.00. The window is tight with a first payment by November 30th, 2018 which is roughly 11 DAYS AWAY and final payment in full by December 15, 2018. I am going to drive myself or if I can find a cheap plane ticket- go by plane. The Phoenix Project will be extended past the original funding goal by $1000.00 for those who have asked how do I HELP? If you would like to get this poet to THE WATERING HOLE then please consider this project.
It is a tight window and I have been pouring into my community, fighting this illness, and preparing the final details for the JANUARY 26, 2019 release of the Spoken Word ALBUM: Kaleidoscope.
I am striving to put quality products out that address mental illness and issues that affect boys and men of color. This writer’s retreat is a BIG DEAL but I seriously need your help to get there.
For more information: check out www.twhpoetry.org Thank-you for believing and supporting a poet that is trying to make a difference.
CONCERNS: I did not complete a separate GoFundMe or Crowd funder because 1. I wanted to be transparent about the work that I am doing and 2. All funders deserve to know what their money helps fund. Anything else ask me and I will be glad to answer how you helping me will help Memphis.
WHAT HAVE WE DONE FOR THE COMMUNITY? Update 11/1/2018
I am now at $0.00 balance. I want you to know that every single crowd-funded dollar that you invested in me been utilized with fidelity- I have placed every single cent back into the African-American community through the use of 100% People of color for production, original music tracks, studio time, recording, distribution, copyrighting, graphics, mix/mastering and feature artists including: Leah Williamson of CreARTive Designz who designed my cover. Not only that but we have raised and distributed approaching $3,200.00 for the youth, domestic violence prevention and suicide awareness projects that has been distributed over 2017-2018 from marketing shows, volunteer charity shows, fundraisers and focused youth workshops where 100% of profits were donated to the youth. As promised, a portion of the profits from the sales of Kaleidoscope will now go toward funding centers and programs that help with the focus areas of educating our community on mental illness and the dangers of domestic violence. I am proud of the progress we have made through art and am even more aware of how far we have to go.
In essence, what you provided me has been multiplied two fold into our community. If in your GoFundMe donation there was a CD reward then your CD will be made available either digitally or physical copy-whichever you prefer. If not get ready to buy a copy or three. I promise you that it has been vetted through writing circles, two writing group reads, four listening parties and a critical analysis by local and national columnists to ensure a certain quality was present.
The original Campaign is below:
In Mythology and Ancient Egyptian roots, the Phoenix (Bennu) name represents a long-lived bird that is cyclically regenerated or reborn. Associated with the sun, the phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor.
EVERY DOLLAR matters. No amount is too small to donate. There will be random giveaways available to everyone that donates or makes a purchase. STAY TUNED.
THE PHOENIX PROJECT:
- Is a CONCEPT OF REDEMPTION captured in art that will have three major components that need funding now to bring this PROJECT to Completion.
-There will be two videos, a book and a spoken word CD.
-Includes a give-back donation program for a portion of the proceeds from every sale to be given to two separate charities that focuses on mental illness that advocate for the youth and provides domestic violence recovery programming for young ladies and men.
THE PROJECT INCLUDES:
-Video one: "Just Beautiful" : Focuses on the relationship between a Male's viewpoint of a Woman's natural beauty and the proposed idea of the changing societal standards of beauty. Check it out the finished video on Youtube at: https://Youtu.be/UpE-SEo8rkA
-Video two:"Dear Son" : Focuses on the internal struggles of a father lamenting his child's abortion and the emotions that come with youthful decisions. Check it out the finished video on Youtube at: https://youtu.be/aTx6ofBogtc
-Chronicles the issues of my life from depression, suicide, marriage, divorce, education, love, redemption and a plethora of Barbershop talk issues. Kaleidoscope will be released on JAN. 26, 2019 in Memphis, TN.
Beautifully Broken (Tentative Title)
-Captures the stories, poems, blogs of Urban Thoughts into page format to share and spark dialogue for the revitalization and education of our community to dream bigger
- Beautifully Broken is the ending and resurrection of Urban Thoughts to tell the tale of what happened between the journey from man to poet to educator and everything between that is seen through brown eyes and skin
I have been accepted into THE WATERING HOLE. Please donate to ensure that I am able to attend. I love you all. Thank-you!
THE PHOENIX RISES:
-To complete the filming of the videos with an award-winning filmmaker that has provided a written guarantee to film the project at a discounted rate per fundraising expectations and visibility of fanbase
-Release and Distribute the book nationally for the public
- Have all tracks engineered and released in a listening party of the PHOENIX PROJECT.
As you can see, this isn't just a project, it is THE PROJECT to rebuild what was broken: ME and my Community.
I am not asking for the full price of the project. I have saved and secured an Angel who will match 40% of the raised funds to help meet the goal, plus my personal investments into my art. I am asking that you JOIN me in this opportunity to allow this PHOENIX to RISE.
The funds needed is critical to completing the licensing, packaging, and studio time. EVERY SINGLE DOLLAR is NEEDED.
My pledge to you:
I will post photos of this campaign and some audio/video linking my website: www.urbanthoughtspoetry.com into a continous feed for communication until the completion of the project. You will get to journey along this mission side by side with me. I encourage you to share this info, spread the word by sharing this project so that we can impact the community of Memphis through ART.
WHAT DO YOU GET?
Well, you get to not only help me, but others like me who have endured suffering from depression. Each sale will result in a portion of the proceeds being donated directly to two charities: one that deals in-depth with the treatment of the mentally ill and one that deals with female domestic violence victims.
Also: cool gear, merchandise, and personalized products!
The THINKERS PHOENIX REWARD PROGRAM offers fantastic options for my THINKERS, including live POETRY EVENTS to the final products of the PHOENIX PROJECT and exclusive parties.
I've fundraised for others: scholars to go to GHANA, fellow poets, poetry teams, Tuskegee, my community, the arts, Memphis, other peers and for various causes raising tens of thousands of dollars for my community, but never myself personally.
Life is interesting and it has brought me a dream-like opportunity with a major ally in an international marketing firm that believes in my vision, national venues that want high-quality visuals and acts-pending requests for proof of visibility, so I NEED YOU. This is bigger than me and I need my community and friends.
I have worked diligently over my life span, fighting through a dark four-year depression after a divorce, heartache, and a pain killer addiction to overcome all obstacles to win the 2014 Mtenzi Best Spoken Word Artist, 2015 Best In Black Spoken Word Artist, Memphis Gospel Humanitarian of the Year, 2016 WREG TN Lottery Educator of the Week Awards for this opportunity to expand Nationally and Internationally as an artist.
I am now a leading educator spreading the message of love, redemption, and perseverance to all of my scholars to have a chance to win at life. This project is so personal and revealing to a community that hides mental illness and its effects/affects on our loved ones and community. It is a blueprint of hope for others to overcome the scars of "CRAZY" "Cray Cray" or "Retarded" to embrace their power to overcome and be successful citizens. Time is pressing for these opportunities and a strict timeline is in place to complete these tasks. I have used the training in receiving my Master's Degree in Instruction Curriculum Design to construct a tight schedule to be successful.
Every donation (at Phoenix SILVER) gets a physical copy of the book and sneak peeks at both videos and the soundtrack "Beautifully Broken" before release.
Please join THE Phoenix Project. I have a lot of friends but together we have even more and I need you all to JOIN in a chance to support MEMPHIS and an artist set to change the atmosphere for those trying to rise up from their ashes.
Questions? Feel free to contact me.
You can look at this as a "pre-order purchase," instead of a donation, because the work that will be returned to you will be worth every last cent. The impact that the collective purchases will make to create revenue to donate to the non-profits will have a ripple effect of positivity into those programs and into my life to pursuit my dreams further.
I thank-you for everything that you have done and will do. I realize that this Project is bigger than me and only because of you. Most of all THANK-YOU for your time, your love, and your encouragement.
Lyons Group Entertainment
Mia & Tammy
Speak Life Society
The P.E.O.P.L.E Slam Team
Unspoken Youth Slam Team
You all made this possible! Each dollar is being invested in creating positive images for our community and programming to help mental illness and domestic violence prevention. I submit to you who believed in me the first video "JUST BEAUTIFUL" of The Phoenix Project.
This year I accomplished all my goals with Two Months to spare!!!!
2015 WREG and TN Lottery Educator of the Week
2015 Best in Black Awards: Best In Black Spoken Word Artist of the Year
2016 Memphis Juneteenth: Juneteenth Urban Music Festival Spoken Word Artist of the Year
2016 Best in Black Awards: Best In Black Spoken Word Artist of the Year
2016 Mtenzi Awards Mtenzi Spoken Word Artist of the Year
2016 Shelby County Board of Commissioners: Commodore C Primous Outstanding Male Educator
2016 Congressional Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for Outstanding Service in Education and Community Service
250 hours of PAID Poetry shows
300 hours of COMMUNITY SERVICE
100 hours of PAID WORKSHOPS
Mentored @Quiet Storm & @Kyla Lewis
Founded a Youth Team that is ranked #2 in the Mid-South and qualified Nationally
Spent more time with my daughter and family
Spent 50 hours directly to Suicide Prevention
Spent 50 hours directly to Domestic Violence Prevention
Coached a District Champion Ladies Softball and Playoff winning Ladies Basketball Team
Reached out to various poets around Memphis to build
Took 50 hours of Acting classes. I graduate this weekend.
Joined a Church but not to know GOD but to assist others with building Hope in this community. I already Knew GOD. He lives in EVERY poem.
Became a better poet.
Became a better man.
Became a better father.
Today, I am filming the #JUST BEAUTIFUL video.
If you interested, Come celebrate with me.
I'm popping bottles today for everyone in attendance.
I want to be the best.
I want to unapologetically be the best.
You should want to be the best, too.
I am seeking those who have THAT attitude to be around me.
Mediocre won't do anymore for me or those around me.
I love you.
I love you.
I love you and I mean that.
P.S. I'm setting new goals for 2017 right now!
I will be sending a special behind the scenes update to everyone that donated to the Phoenix Project and the first single of the video.