Artistry: Living Out Loud
Brave Souls UNPLUGGED: Chicago Cast Bios

June 25, 2007 Print version       Other articles by this author

baron.
Born December 7, 1978, is a Man by maturity, an Artist by heart, and a Poet from experience. Growing up with his grandmother in Newark, NJ, baron.'s life has been filled with obstacles and circumstances. The loss of his uncle and mentor in 1995 prompted baron. to pursue his dreams and life through the passion of his art. A Renaissance man, baron.'s talent spans photography, graphic arts, music production, songwriting, journalism, and performance poetry. As a performance poet, baron.'s style is vivid and captivating. His brutal and heart-wrenching depiction of urban life shocks audiences again and again, yet a careful listener can quickly discerns an underlying message of love. baron.'s work is truthful, honest and passionate. He candidly speaks about the issues that divide the African American community on the subjects of love, family, community, and sexuality. For baron., our similarities as humans out weigh our differences; we are all created equal.
baron. has performed across the tri-state area including the Nuyorican Poets Cafe (NYC), One World Trade Center Benefit aired on New York Cable, Serengeti Plains (NJ), Bowery Poetry Club (NYC), Jimmy's Uptown Hottest Poets (NYC), Union County College(NJ), New Haven University (CT), Harvard Black Arts Festival (MA), 1st Annual Fruit Festival (NYC), Remote Lounge (NYC), 5th Annual Harlem Book Fair (NY), Snippets Off Broadway (NYC), and WBAI 99.5 radio and host of other venues across the U.S. baron.'s work has been performed at the 2003 Jacob Javitz Center GLBT Expo by recording artist Michael Vacarro. He is the star of "baron.unplugged, the poetic concert" directed by ButtaFlySouL and performed twice at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.
baron. debut CD "Troubled Man" involves listeners in a multi-layered experience - at once personal, political, and emotional. Marrying his unique performance style to hip-hop, house, blues, and r&b, baron.'s "Troubled Man" is one eclectic and powerful spoken-word CD. He is currently working on a follow-up album to be released later this year.

For more on baron., visit
http://www.artistbaron.com
http://www.myspace.com/baronartist


Leslie "ButtaFlySouL" Taylor -
poet/spoken word artist, host, vocalist, actor, producer and director, native of Chicago, Illinois makes his home in New York City. He is currently one of the contributing writers for the Signifying Harlem Literary Journal and featured poet for the Nubian Heritage on line magazine. He prides himself on having the distinction of being one of the esteemed members of the Peabody Award winning Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam family. Not being limited to poetry, ButtaFlySouL has been singing since the age of six with local community choirs in Chicago. Though his heart is in gospel music, he easily makes the transition into R&B and Jazz. With his melodic sound, he continues to be a sought after and respected vocalist. He most recently starred in his well-anticipated show, "TheButtaShow: A Poetic Concert." He is also the newest member of Deep Dickollective (DDC) a hip-hop group based out Oakland. Together they tour colleges and hip hop venues a like sharing their brand of in your face hip hop lyrics. Butta has also been featured in Peace Out East in New York, and Peace Out West in Oakland. He made his directorial debut at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe with "baron.unplugged" and continued to direct shows like "Snippets, Downtown Rhythm, The Underdogs, Lessons, Amusing, and The Classifieds(AD)." As a director, consultant, and coach ButtaFlySouL has worked with some of New York's Cities brightest young artists. He is currently directing HerStory and MaleEgo presented by Urbintel. ButtaFlySouL is committed to educating people on HIV/AIDS awareness especially in the African American community. During the day, he is the Assistant Director of Housing for Bailey House, Inc and not for profit agency that provides housing for people who are homeless living with HIV/AIDS. He as also shared his talents with his friends at Amnesty International and JFLAG to help raise awareness about violence against gay men and women in Jamaica. ButtaFlySouL or Butta as family and friends know him is the one artist and activist that you will never forget. He can be contacted @ thebuttashow@yahoo.com.

For more on Butta, visit:
http://www.myspace.com/1buttaflysoul

Eric Nicholson (Brian Stanton, BrotherHOODS)
joined the African-American Collective Theater in the spring of 2002 with his debut in "HeartBeats." His prior theater experience stems from his college years at Frostburg State University, where he majored in Speech Communications and Theater Arts, and appeared in a number of mainstage productions. Since that time, he has performed in a variety of venues throughout Washington, DC: the Warehouse Theater, the Kennedy Center, Studio Theater, and the H Street Playhouse. In addition to his interest in theater, he serves as a contributing writer to "Blacklight Online," a website that addresses issues relevant to the black gay community. Currently, Eric lives in Washington, DC, and serves as the Marketing Manager for a DC based credit union.

KeithRomell
Hailing from the rough but soulful streets of Chicago's South Side, KeithRomell raises the bar for truth in art. As a nationally recognized spoken work artist, poet and journalist, this no holds barred realist has fused such controversial subjects as racism, poverty, homosexuality and HIV into a body of work that reaches much deeper than his own 30 years of existence. KeithRomell has enlightened audiences with this charismatic appeal at numerous events across the country, including the United States Conference on AIDS, the African American Conference on AIDS, the Gay Games 2006, and Black GLBT Prides in Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte, Brooklyn and Washington, D.C. He is the creator and original host of Organik Phunk, a weekly spoken work and hip-hop set held in both Chicago and Charlotte, North Carolina. He is also the originator of proven effective social marketing campaigns such as "I Know. Do you know?" - an HIV awareness campaign produced in the form of a hip-hop music video - and a participant in Truth in the Music - a series of social marketing campaigns addressing common health issues among Black men who have sex with men.
Most recently, KeithRomell added the title of actor to his resume, assuming the role of Pharoah in the third installment of the GLBT cult classic, Kevin's Room. In October of 2006, he was accepted in the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program which supports individuals from populations underrepresented in academia through a terminal degree. He currently resides in Chicago and is pursing a Master's degree in Social Work at Northeastern Illinois University, while serving as associate editor for Positively Aware - the nations most widely read treatment education journal.

For more on KeithRomell, visit:
http://www.myspace.com/keithromell

Ashley Phillips
Captivating audiences with her intimately soulful and lyrical professions of love, life, and truth, Philadelphia-born Ashley Phillips is a singer/songwriter to watch out for. Influenced heavily by jazz/funk, pop, and progressive R&B, Ashley's unique blend of acoustic R&B and soul draws comparisons to such artists as Minnie Riperton, Amel Larrieux, Adriana Evans, and Dionne Farris.

For more on Ashley, visit:
http://www.myspace.com/ashleyphillipsband
ashleyphillipsmusic.com


Red Summer
is a Chicago native who was raised in a world of words. Coming from a talented and musical family, Red Summer was trained in many forms and styles of performance. She is a model, actress, filmmaker, writer and performance artist. In her latest and dearest venture as a spoken word artist, she has been able to travel the globe sharing her words and thoughts. As an educator, she has created avenues of self-expression for youth in the Chicago area. She is a poetry slam champion and has prevailed in numerous dramatic and poetic competitions. In fact, she is a former D.C. Poetry Slam champion and she co-hosted last year's Poetry Slam as well. Red Summer is the author of First Person: a Poetic Narrative of Heartbreak and Hallelujah and is set to release her CD project this November.

For more on Red Summer, visit:
http://www.myspace.com/redsummer

Monte J Wolfe
is a musician, actor, writer, activist & poet whose heart is deeply rooted in the arts. A self proclaimed 'soulchild', he has a love & appreciation for music that influences every aspect of his artistry. Originally hailing from Wisconsin, he is a graduate of the Howard University Theatre Arts Department, where he earned his BFA in Theatre Arts Administration in 1999. In addition to various local appearances in African American Collective Theatre (ACT) productions such as "Family Business", "HeartBeats", and "BrotherHoods", he also has numerous stage, film and television appearances to his credit. Past productions and programs include A Little Rebellion Now (Venus Theatre), The Blue Room (Phoenix Theatre DC), America's Most Wanted (FOX Television), and the independent film 5 LINES.
HIV+ since late November 2004, Monte courageously founded Brave Soul Collective (BSC) last year with Tim'm West & Erik Chambers. He continues to make his living as a WORKING ARTIST by acting, singing, writing, and serving as the founder/artistic director of BSC. As a writer, he has had articles published in CLIK Magazine, as well as by the Black AIDS Institute. He would like to personally thank mother/father god for the wonderful gift of being an artist, as well as his parents, friends & family. He is especially grateful to all those who have supported BSC since it's inception last year.

For more monte, visit:
http://www.myspace.com/bravesoulcollective
http://www.bravesoulcollective.org