Theater’s Rashida Z. Shaw ’99 discusses spoken word artist Javon Johnson (Feb. 23)

Javon Johnson

As a member of the Outside the Box Theater Series planning committee, Assistant Professor of Theater Rashida Z. Shaw ’99 said this campus needs to see Javon Johnson.  She and Dr. Johnson were Ph.D. students together at Northwestern University, he in Performance Studies and she in Theater and Drama. Because these are sister programs, they had a number of classes together and became friends.

Javon, a spoken word artist and scholar, is now based in Los Angeles, where he has a huge following.  He has performed at major venues around the country and has been featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, among other television programs. Next week, he’ll be in residence visiting classes and meeting with members of WeSLAM and other poets and theater students on campus.  And on Thursday evening, February 23, he performs in Crowell Concert Hall , as a part of this year’s Theater Department/Center for the Arts “Outside the Box Theater Series”.

“I used to have Javon come and perform in all of my political theater courses and in classes that dealt with solo performance.  He has the ability to integrate popular culture with scholarship and political critique – all in a humorous package. Spoken word artists straddle the line between poetry and theater. What I remember most about Javon is his captivating energy – he has a vocal dexterity and a physical range that make his performances interesting not only on a textual level, but you also get caught up in how he is delivering his poems, and that makes you want to know more about who he is,” said Dr. Shaw. “Not all spoken word artists can hit all of these levels.”  Dr. Shaw and Dr. Johnson were reunited at Northwestern when they both graduated last June, and Dr. Shaw looks forward to welcoming him to Wesleyan and to Middletown next week.

An Evening of Spoken Word with Javon Johnson
Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 8pm
Crowell Concert Hall
$15 general public; $12 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff, non-Wesleyan students; $6 Wesleyan students

1 thought on “Theater’s Rashida Z. Shaw ’99 discusses spoken word artist Javon Johnson (Feb. 23)”

  1. Powerful. Personal. Often Poignant and at times Brilliant both in the content of his words and his execution and delivery in performance. Only regret would be that more people were not at the performance.

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