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a poem by Jaleesa Davis

Still, after seven years, I can’t say that my heart still feels no pain, before that day it was sunshine and afterward it was just rain.

No one ever told me my story wouldn’t be goofy or fun, and as far as stories are concerned, I wish I didn’t have one.

They say you always have a choice in life, that is until someone takes that right from you leaving you with only the choice they make, the one thing I thought I was able to give who knew you’d take.

I told you I forgave you because I did, but I still cry about it and I still mourn over it because I was just a kid.

And maybe I never used word of mouth to say no or that I didn’t want to continue with the actions being introduced, but I can tell you right now that I wasn’t seduced, and that I shouldn’t have been with you.

I’ll always blame myself for what happened to me because what good would it do if I continued to blame you, I’d still be unhappy.

It’s been seven years since you took the one thing I was allowed to give, and sometimes I wonder how I live with that memory in the back of my brain, there is sunshine and yet there’s still rain.

I’ll never yell that dirty R word because I know it’s not real, and that’s not what it was, but I’ll always loathe you because it was supposed to be my choice and it never was.

You were an adult and I wish I could tell you that I am now too, and yet I still sometimes think about you.

I’ve repressed that day so much in my mind. It feels like it’s been loads of time, between then and now, and it still affects me and I don’t know how.


published in Genre: Urban Arts First Edition

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Muslim Bomber

by Roomana Shaikh 

Laila hated Saturdays. She hated going to Queens and having to transfer three different trains. She hated every aspect of the travel. She hated having to wear the long black abaya that flowed and also brought a lot of attention. She hated the cream white hijab she had to wear with it and how it had to be pinned all the way,  and wrapped around her monstrous curls. More than anything Laila hated coming back. She hated the anxiety she had when coming back from Queens. She tried to find any way to avoid the kids at her block, avoid any of the kids around her school. All the Muslim kids had heard she wore the abaya but no one really saw her.  Today seemed different though. As she walked down the steps with her mom, she noticed how crowded the streets were. The weather was getting warmer which meant more people, which meant people she knew, which meant her secret was about to be spilled. The sucky thing was that either way she went back to her house, she was going to be seen.

“Beta, remember to be confident. Look the sun is shining but I’m not hot. I know people bother with these questions, but you need to speak up.” Her mom said as they walked down the sidewalk. This was going to be a weekly lecture. Laila’s mom wore an all-black abaya and hijab. She had her mouth covered as well, so the only thing you could see was her large brown eyes peeking through.

“Ammi I know. I get it. But wearing all black isn’t fun either. We look like the people on tv. Look at us. Why do you think that guy was yelling at us on the train? We do look weird!” Laila argued back. She hated the abaya. It made her feel so out of place. Most of all it reminded her of how un-American she was.

“So what?! This dress should be just as acceptable as jeans and a t-shirt. Who cares if someone thinks we look like criminals.  We’re educated, civilized  people.  You need to accept that.

The more you listen to the ignorance, the more you’re going to lose your roots. Look at me?! My own people mock me for covering up. But I don’t care. I believe in my religion and I believe in my choices. Your own father is against my niqab. Beta you need to be brave. I was so brave then and I still am.” She replied in a much harsher tone. When Laila’s mom spoke, it sounded like thunder yelling from the sky. Even though the strangers passing by didn’t understand what she was saying, they knew it was something important.

“Well, I can’t be brave. Everyone bullies me. Everyone mocks me. No one wants to be my friend.” Laila complained. Oh, how she wished she was like her mom. Oh, how she wished her mom understood her.

“YOOO LAILA?! YO you look the Taliban! Your mom- ma’s a ninja bro. Salam ninja. Got any bombs under there.” Yelled Daniel and Ryan. They stood on the bench- es hollering at Laila and her mom as they walked by. She noticed Tommy in the back just laughing.

“See, now speak up Laila. I know how you feel” Laila’s mom said. She started walking towards the boys. Laila wanted to hide and cry. Her secret was exposed. It was over. It was all over. She wanted to burn her clothes. She wanted to leave her mom.

“Yes yes, I’m a ninja! But you are rude! This is my culture. This is my religion. How dare you say I have bombs with me? Have some shame!” Her mom yelled at the three boys. They stood quietly and then started to snicker. Laila’s mom turned and started walking towards her building. In front of the building were all the aunties just staring at her astonishingly. Laila saw Mohammed and Ali stare as well, stopping their basketball game below the fire escape. Laila felt her cheeks getting hot and red. Her hands trembled and she just wanted to hide.


first published in June 2017 in Genre: Urban Arts

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Flash Fiction Anthology— Genre: Urban Arts in partnership with Still Waters Collectives

A group of residents gathered to talk about social issues affecting their lives and their communities. This was part of an experimental social conversations project and pop-up survey called Soapbox, organized by Still Waters Collective. From these discussions, Genre: Urban Arts is partnering with Still Waters Collective to invite all writers to submit flash fiction for an upcoming anthology.
Starting from October 1, 2018, we will share one anonymous response/comment on a social issue daily, and writers are invited to submit flash fiction pieces based on the social issue addressed in the comment. The comments we will use to inspire flash fiction stories will cover issues such as Intersectionality, Incarceration, Generations/Generational Gap, Privilege, Mental Health, and Gender.
  • Read each comment and submit your flash fiction story based on the social issue addressed in the comment. You can choose from a list of 20 different comments and six social issues posted daily. So, remember to check Genre: Urban Arts every day to see our social issue comment post for the day.
  • Your flash fiction story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end.
  • It should include conflict or an incident which creates some conflict for your character(s).
  • The ending of your story should show readers that the incident or conflict, which happened to your character(s), affected or changed your character(s) world or worldview.
  • We are accepting original unpublished work for this flash fiction anthology.
  • Word count is 1000 or less.
  • All flash fiction submissions should be in Microsoft Word doc. or .docx formats.
  • Submission Deadline: November 20, 2018.
  • Submit your story to us on Submittable.
Flash Fiction


Project Editors Mercy Ananeh-Frempong and Ralvell Rogers II.


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Epic Shit: The Carter V

There are so many moments on The Carter V. I am three listens in, and I know that this is a forever album that I will be playing at socially unacceptable levels at least into my 90s, into the PhD program and out of it. #DrKeysha

I can’t even front. My life has been hella nuts lately. I have lost two of my closest people. I watched my momma kick cancer’s ass while holding my own tears back because we don’t cry. I left jobs and took jobs. Watched people lie to my face. This week, I just dealt with the impact of someone else’s “good intentions” that devastated my world.

All of this, my business is going ham, but I can’t even focus on it because my world is virtually falling apart like a fucking dream in Inception, and I ain’t even waking up.

All of that I got to forget for a while I pressed play because my love dropped The Carter V. *imagine heart eye emoji* I was off of work today. I danced with my dog. *Imagine shrug emoji* I have loved Wayne since some point in the mid-90s and that shit ain’t changed now. I am lost in his music and I am dancing and I am listening for his clever wordplay and I am thankful for escapism.

I need to get lost in bass and words. #urbanarts


More Weezy from

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No. 5 GUA Print

Cop a copy of Genre: Urban Arts No. 5 Print that will begin being shipped out on September 24th. We have a host of contemporary visual art and writing that needs to be in your hands. Our cover artist for No. 5 is Nadine Mbaka. Read more about her in an article written by Vianca Fuster.

We are a small print magazine. Copies are limited. Purchase your copy now! Continue reading No. 5 GUA Print

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RSVP for A Day of Art with Genre: Urban Arts and Harlem 2020

GENRE: Urban Arts & Harlem2020 present GUA Open Mic at International Print Center New York in collaboration with Newark Arts | M&T Bank Murals and Martinis™ Public Art Tour and The Mile Long Opera

We also have a limited supply of tickets to the Mile Long Opera for attendees of our event!

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Newark Arts presentsM&T Bank Murals and Martinis™ Public Art Tour

Come to join Nakeysha of Genre: Urban Arts and Richard of Harlem 2020 for Murals and Martinis!

Starting at 10:30 AM Meet at Newark Happening, 58 Park Place, Newark, NJ 07102 Check in: 10:30 AM | DEPART 11:00 AM

Reception to Follow: 1:00 PM All Points West Distillery,  73 Tichenor Street, Historic Ironbound, Newark, NJ 07105

An Annual VIP Tour of Newark’s Public Art & Historic Neighborhoods featuring stunning public art, conversations with the muralists, post-tour cocktail reception at All Points West Distillery catered by Catas and complimentary swag bag. Co-sponsored by City of Newark, Prudential Financial, Rutgers University-Newark, New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism, Newark Happening, Catas, All Points West Distillery, Radio 103.9 FM.

Click here for the complete list of events on the Newark Art’s Festival. 

Ticket Price $40.00 (MUST RSVP and Reserve Tickets)

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Genre: Urban Arts Open Mic at International Print Center New York

GenreUrban Arts as a community partner with The Mile Long Opera and International Print Center New York presents a night of spokenword and art. Local NYC spokenword performers and local organizations that include Umar Siddiqui, Roomana Shaikh, Cheyenne Jacobs, Nia Mora, Astrid Ferg, Nakeysha Roberts, Ricardo Hanley, Jr., Shanice Ariel, Richard E. Pelzer II of Harlem 2020, and Sarah & Nene of Black Girls Blues. 

Location: International Print Center New York, 508 W 26th St, Suite 5A New York, NY 10001
October 6th, 205:00 PM00PM -7:00PM.

On view at International Print Center New York (IPCNY) is Edge of Visibility. The exhibition was curated in conjunction with the September-October issue of the journal Art in Print by its editor-in-chief Susan Tallman and focuses on low-visibility strategies in printmaking. Exhibiting artists include Fiona Banner, Barbara Bloom, Jacques Callot, Megan Foster, Levi David van Gelder, Samuel Levi Jones, William Kentridge, Matthew Kenyon & Douglas Easterly, Glenn Ligon, Christian Marclay, Boris Margo, Kerry James Marshall, Chris Ofili, Philippe Parreno, William Pratt, Johann Michael Püchler, Walid Raad, Ad Reinhardt, Art Spiegelman & Françoise Mouly, Timorous Beasties (Alistair McAuley & Paul Simmons), and Susan York.
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@Bowery Poetry: Astrid Ferguson

My name is Astrid Ferguson. I am the momma of the book Molt. I am a mom of two boys and a wife to an emerging Philly artist. Aside from poetry, I blog and work full time in the pharma industry. I began performing poetry as a way to market my book, but I’m finding I’m connecting with people like never before. I’m also outgrowing my shell of quiet Astrid who hardly spoke up. Through my poetry, my objective is to promote awareness of social and emotional issues revolving Afro-Latinas and women in general, including but not limited to domestic violence, abuse, and feminism. I also want to promote healing. I became serious about my journey after battling postpartum and this is what helped me overcome it.

A friend of mine Evany Martinez put me on Genre. I also decided to apply and Genre is the first place outside of my book where my work will be published. I also follow you guys on social media.

I have several YouTube and IGTV of my spoken word relating to my experience with domestic violence, Afro-Latina cultural issues, relationships as well as mental health awareness. I’m more of a poet who likes to speak about subjects that are thought-provoking by inviting the audience into my reality. I make great use of imagery because I want the audience to paint a picture and envision the emotion I’m trying to portray. Sometimes, I will also speak about the natural human behavior of rejecting what is not considered a norm like mental health.

I am mostly excited to perform alongside great performers in NY. I have never performed in NY before so this will be a great experience.

Genre: Urban Arts will be at Bowery Poetry in NYC October 28th, 2018, 6- 7:30 pm. We will have spoken-word, live music, and other performance arts. Click the button to purchase tickets.

Bowery Poetry
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Bring The Beat Back

A Music, Drama and Dance Party 

By Derek Lee McPhatter

Bring the Beat Back is a queer, black, sci-fi music-theater experience, set in a funky futuristic, groove-centered alternative reality.  Inspired by Afrofuturism, house music and the underground ball scene, the show follows a young man struggling to reconcile his sexuality with his faith.

The hero journeys towards spiritual affirmation and self-discovery as conservative religious authorities and an ostentatious queer subculture clash over the music at the center of his world.

Bring the Beat Back is the brainchild of playwright Derek Lee McPhatter, who explored the tradition of sci-fi themes in black popular music as he developed the world of the show. McPhatter explains further: “the story reflects some of my own challenges growing up as a black gay male. I struggled to overcome the homophobia I internalized from church, school and in our culture. I found hope in music, particularly artists like Parliament Funkadelic, Sun Ra, and Meshell Ndegeocello. That journey at the core of Bring the Beat Back.”

McPhatter explains further: “the story reflects some of my own challenges growing up as a black gay male. I struggled to overcome the homophobia I internalized from church, school and in our culture. I found hope in music, particularly artists like Parliament Funkadelic, Sun Ra, and Meshell Ndegeocello. That journey at the core of Bring the Beat Back.” 

Executive Producer Bryan E. Glover explains: “April will be the first time we present the show with a live audience – part performance, part dance party. There aren’t very many queer, black, sci-fi, music-theater projects out there for us to learn from, so we’re definitely charting our own path.”     


The April presentations at JACK are the next phase of the show’s evolution, building on music workshops in Chicago in 2016. Executive Producer Bryan E. Glover explains: “April will be the first time we present the show with a live audience – part performance, part dance party. There aren’t very many queer, black, sci-fi, music-theater projects out there for us to learn from, so we’re definitely charting our own path.” 

The show is poised to even more opportunities following the April presentations. Director Christopher Burris has been awarded a residency with The Drama League to support show development, and an exciting roster of producers and collaborators are providing a solid foundation for next steps. Derek reflects, “we’ve got big dreams for the project – a dance workshop, a touring production and more. But we can’t do that without more help, and I’m thrilled about the amazing support that has mobilized to make this a success.”

His enthusiasm is shared by many members of the team, some black, some queer, some sci-fi fans, and some are none of the above. But all of them have found something resonant about Bring the Beat Back, and audiences are in for a treat: a funky example of what becomes possible when we celebrate the diversity of our experiences. 

Continue reading Bring The Beat Back

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A look inside of Genre: Urban Arts: Nakeysha

Nakeysha Roberts Washington, M.S. Ed is the Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director of Genre: Urban Arts (GUA), a platform where artists can become published digitally and in print. Genre: Urban Arts also provides exhibiting and performing opportunities for visual and performance artists via pop-up galleries. Nakeysha has been published in Routledge, other literary journals, and anthologies. In Spring 2018, she was honored with having a monologue performed in Brooklyn, New York, at the Billie Holiday Theater as part of a showcase entitled 50 in 50: What Place Do We Have in this Movement?  In June of 2018, a piece of creative nonfiction entitled, “No Cream” was published in Wisconsin’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Nonfiction. Nakeysha’s writing focuses on social justice issues because she believes that it is a creative’s responsibility to interrogate and reveal the intricacies of social constructs through art.

Nakeysha spends much of her time preparing opportunities for creatives to share their art as part of the necessity for inclusion. All of this with the knowledge that working in the space of developing yourself as a creative is often seen as a privilege and the connections with a plethora of artists who work jobs that they do not love as a means to support their art. Pop-up galleries and performances organized by Nakeysha via Gene: Urban Arts allows everyone in the creative community the ability to develop themselves as artists, become published and showcase their art through performance and exhibition. GUA is now a playground for 60+ creatives, all who have their own medium in which they create— Their own Genre.

Genre: Urban Arts is turning the intangible into the tangible. GUA pop-up galleries uniquely organize and support artists who have an appetite to share art with the community. Genre: Urban Arts is a true friend to the creative, a support for the artist in a world that wants us to end our dance with our connection to divinity- end our connection with the most innate part of ourselves. Here we are protected & freed from the societal pressures of mundanity.

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@BoweryPoetry: Nia Mora

About me: Nia Mora is a Harlem based poet and writer. she’s come undone is Nia’s debut poetry collection. Nia holds an MA in Creative Writing but credits her 8th grade English teacher, David Ivesoli and high school creative writing teacher, Francine Witte for turning her into a professional. In addition to birthing books, Nia is the mother of two girls and the wife of one husband.



About my writing: My body of work is much like the city I come from good vibes that intersect with breaks, sharp turns, yet there is a softness to it like the sun setting over the Hudson. There are rises and falls like the hills of Harlem. I write about what I feel and the things that need to heal in me and in you.


#GenreFam: I learned about Genre on Instagram just seeing a post someone shared and then I started following Genre. I submitted and now I’m here!

I decided I wanted to be a writer at four. Fell in love with poetry after reading a June Jordan poem, “Alla Thas’ All Right” so much so that I never returned the anthology– it was featured in the library. Fast Forward to me writing poetry throughout high school and college, doing readings, hosting shows, and all of that and then I stopped. I just stopped for 10 years and returned again April of 2018. Now my debut collection of poetry, she’s come undone is about to be released and I’m in Genre (yay).

I am most excited about performing in the historic Bowery Poetry Club. Back in high school, I wrote a poem that a friend of mine still talks about and performing at a place like the Bowery, so I would be living a dream I wrote down for myself 20 years ago. I am happy that despite the fact I abandoned my dream it never abandoned me.


Genre: Urban Arts will be at Bowery Poetry in NYC October 28th, 2018, 6- 7:30 pm. We will have spoken-word, live music, and other performance arts. Click the button to purchase tickets.

Bowery Poetry




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My True Colors Festival

My True Colors Festival in association with Harlem 2020 present Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami. This electrifying journey through the public and private worlds of mega-icon Grace Jones contrasts musical sequences with intimate personal footage. Sophie Fiennes’s documentary goes beyond the traditional music biography, offering a portrait as stylish and unconventional as the larger-than-life, androgynous glam-pop culture diva.

Join us for a pre-screening Cocktail Hour plus a post-screening Book Signing and Panel Discussion: “The Power of Black Style On Fashion and Culture Worldwide” with industry experts, including Essence Editor-At-Large Mikki Taylor, Fashion Bomb Daily Founder and leading style blogger Claire Sulmers, legendary black supermodel Pat Cleveland, and Christian Ruart, a renown fashion guru and celebrity stylist who discovered and worked with models like Tyra Banks, Tyson Beckford, Naomi Campbell, and Claudia Schiffer. Join us for an insightful conversation led by My True Colors Co-Founder and Executive Producer Tai Chunn on the ins and outs of black style, its important contribution to fashion and its influence on culture worldwide. The panel also will discuss the industry influence of Grace Jones. While Beyoncé and Rihanna are among today’s major style icons, Grace Jones remains one of the most referenced fashion icons of all time.

Mikki Taylor will be on hand to sign her book, Editor in Chic: How to Style and Be Your Most Empowered Self, shares uplifting advice for women who want to cultivate their beauty both inside and out. As will Claire Sulmers, whose book The Bomb Life: My Brand. My Terms, is part memoir, part self-help with tips for aspiring bloggers;
and Pat Cleveland, whose memoir Walking With The Muses covers fifty years of fashion from the intersection of the Civil Rights Movement, the disco era’s decadence, and the grandeur of Hollywood’s late 70s renaissance

Film Running Time: 116 Minutes

Cocktail Hour begins at 6:00pm in the Media Gallery;

Film Screening starts 7:00pm in the Screening Room


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Become a Contributor

Contributorship with Genre: Urban Arts provides creatives with a platform to publish art digitally and in print.

Perks of being a contributor to Genre: Urban Arts:

  • publish to a digitally
  • publish in the Quarterly print magazine
  • be featured on social media accounts
  • become part of a global community of creatives

Requirements for contributors:

  • construct a post 2-4 times a month
  • promote content from the site
Contribute to the Site
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Exposing Politics

FREE Theater for disadvantaged youth and communities around the country!

Well, Oscar Sanders’ traveling political social justice spoken word play Exposing Politics: A Play of Acts Tour, is a New York Foundation for the Arts Fiscally Sponsored project that seeks donations and contributions to provide free theater to economically disadvantaged children and youth at college venues. Click the button to make a generous donation to our effort to put smiles on faces that haven’t experienced the joy of theater:

Exposing Politics


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naive secrets

Poetry Lonnie Monka 

snow-soiled feet trailed between alcohol & drugs incubating that suburban winter-break assembly

of conversations forgotten upon being spoken

with golden strands fanning those shoulders

her untouchable frame stirred as the last one

awake & cleaning the house–alone–with me

somehow we snuck into the master-bedroom

stretching across some other family’s bedspread

where too long awake now dream-lost lips touched

hands & fingers caressing curves through clothing tongues trading a mosaic of unspoken secrets

till I awoke alone–smiling & never to see her again

& lightning struck in the storm of friends calling because she had died a sudden death

which precipitated void-driven conversation

& conversation after conversation after conversation all I could think was that I had kissed her

& never told a single soul what I then wanted to scream