Penn student performs his poetry for the President and First Lady

Joshua Bennett, a rising College senior, performed in the East Room of the White House for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at an evening celebrating poetry, music and spoken word May 12. The lineup included legendary actor James Earl Jones, writers Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, jazz bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding, jazz pianist Eric Lewis, composer and lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda and spoken word performer Mayda Del Valle.

Bennett performed an original piece titled “Tamara’s Opus,” about his struggle to communicate with his deaf sister. Bennett, a finalist in the Youth Speaks' 2008 Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam, is featured in the HBO documentary series “Brave New Voices.”
 
Bennett, who majors in Africana Studies and English, won the BNV poetry slam in 2007. This year marks his last time at the national teen poetry competition. The veteran slam champion and MVP of the Philly team is on the verge of his 20th birthday. You can tune in to HBO for the series finale May 17 at 10 p.m.

To watch a clip of Bennett perform his poem, “Carbon Copy,” click here.

Originally published on May 13, 2009

Originally published on May 13, 2009