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Biography and Booking information

{Michael Reyes }
Spoken Word Poet, Performer and Educator

Reyes is both an innovative and inspiring performer and educator. He has a wide range of workshops and topics, which he uses to engage youth and adults alike. He is most notably known for his ability to combine history, current events and performance, into a fusion of education and entertainment.

His workshops, keynotes and performances are a combination of interactive discussion, and spoken word performance. Audiences are motivated to create solutions and actively discuss issues of self-esteem, social justice and cultural identity.

Unique and at the vanguard of spoken-word and poetry, Reyes brings to life what it means to be Latino in the United States. Hailing from the Windy City, he draws musical inspiration from fellow Chicago artist such as Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco and Common while following and adding to the poetry traditions of Corkey Gonzales, Miguel Piñero, Nikki Giovanni and The Last Poets.

As a Chicano activist, poet and hip-hop artist, Reyes is constantly pushing the limits. His latest book, entitled We Are, is precisely penned, fusing together spoken word, myth, history and contemporary politics.

We Are tackles a wide range of topics, ranging from Mexican/Chican@ identity to the colonial reality of the Puerto Rican people. The book pays homage to several political and cultural icons including Lolita Lebrón, Elvira Arellano, and Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, as well as radical political movements such the Zapatistas of Mexico to the Independence movement of Puerto Rico.  

Created from Reyes’s own experiences as an activist and artist, We Are aspires to educate and challenge its readers into becoming active agents of change, while critically examining what it means to be Latino@ in the 21st Century.

Reyes is currently touring his workshop and keynote entitled “We Are” which focuses on the cultural and historical identity of Latinos in the United States, while also dealing with contemporary themes such as immigration, multiculturalism and higher education.

Other keynotes/workshops include:

  • "Dream Bigger Reach Higher" which engages participants to become critical thinkers and encourages them to be agents of change
  • "Mexican/ Chican@ Identity and History: Spoken Word" which examines contemporary Chicano identity.
  • "Puerto Rican Poems of Solidarity" which examines the current state of Puerto Rico and the connection with the United States and Latin America
  • "Take It Higher Than Just Higher Education" which examines the characteristics of a critical thinker

As a performer, Reyes combines hip-hop, poetry and spoken word to create a unique blend of narratives, rhymes, and songs. As a hip hop artist his work is a fusion of radical soul, raw lyrical hip-hop, fresh beats and poetic style.

Reyes has shared the stage nationally and internationally with many poets, artists and activists such as historical figures Lolita Lebrón and Delores Huerta, poets Tato Laviera, Pedro Pietri, La Bruja, and musical artists such as Roy Brown, Dead Prez, Boca Floja, Siete Nueve, and Grammy Award winner Malik Yusef.

He has been featured on HBO Latino’s Habla Series, nationally on Latin Nation and the PBS documentary Dream Makers. He has released three chapter books of poetry and 3 CDs. His work has also been featured nationally in many magazines, anthologies and newspapers.

His acting credits include roles in Miguel Piñero’s famed play, The Sun Always Shines for the Cool, Urban Poet, Why Are U Running?, Chicago Boricua, Public Theater’s 365 Project written by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks and the feature film Nothing Like the Holidays starring John Leguizamo and Debra Messing. He has worked directly with famed NuYorican poet Tato Laveria on three productions titled The Spark, Chupacabera and the 1977 Division Street Riots. As part of his work with Tato he has served both as an actor and a director.

"As a poet I think it is my responsibility to tell our stories through our collective experience and to tell the realities that we are confronted with when living in the largest empire in the world. It is also my responsibility not to only document our experience, but to fight and struggle day to day against racism, sexism, homophobia and the colonization of our brothers and sisters here in our communities and around the world."
- Michael Reyes
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