Featured Presenter& Performers Bio’s for the Urban Creative Arts Healing and Creative Arts Symposium

“But…. I’m an Artist”: Cultivating Joy during the 9 to 5 by Barbara Fant

Barbara Fant has been writing and performing poetry for 13 years. She has represented Columbus, OH in 9 National Poetry Slam competitions and placed 8th out of 96 poets in the 2017 Women of the World Poetry Slam. She is a TEDx speaker, a Columbus Makes Art Campaign artist, and was named a 2017 Columbus Alive People to Watch. Her first poetry collection, Paint, Inside Out, was published by Penmanship Books in 2010 when she was awarded the Cora Craig Award for Young Authors. She is the author of several chapbooks, the co-author of two stage productions, and has been commissioned by over ten national organizations. She has received residencies from Idyllwild Arts in Idyllwild, California and Connect Arts in Havana, Cuba. She holds an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles and a Master of Theology from the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. Her work has been featured by Button Poetry and Def Poetry Jam, and published in Electric Literature, Harness Magazine, and The Ohio State University Press. Installations of her work can be found in the Columbus Museum of Art and The Columbus Foundation. The founder of Bloom Barb Fant, LLC., she teaches poetry in correctional institutions and schools. Currently, she is the Artistic Director for Harmony Project, the Replication and Training Manager for the Arts for Healing and Justice Network, a teaching artist at Transit Arts, and co-curator of the reading series Paging Columbus. Barbara believes in the transformative power of art and considers poetry her ministry.

Storytelling is Content Creation by Mama “O, Omope” Carter Daboiku

Known affectionately as Mama O, Omope Carter Daboiku is a 2012 migrant to the Miami Valley. Originally from Ironton, in southern Ohio, she identifies as an Appalachian of mixed ancestry. Trained as a cultural geographer, Mama O has 30 years of experience as an international performance artist, educator, fiber artist, and published writer. Commissions include batik fabric masks for master quilter Carolyn Mazloomi and“storyweaving” scripts for Dr. Catherine Roma. Founder of Dayton’s Dunbar Literary Circle, Omope’s stories are included in Dayton Metro Library’s new Dial-a-Story service, and she works with arts and culture organizations to produce storytelling workshops, writing and theater resources for virtual learning. Acknowledged as an OAC Traditional Artist in 2019, Mama O was inducted into OAC’s arts education program in 1990. Her community work on Dayton’s west-side has shifted to restoring agriculture as an African American heritage craft, supporting access to healthy food, and inspiring cross-town civic engagement through science, education and the arts.

The Healing Power of Science and Art by Moriba Jah

Moriba Kemessia Jah is an American space scientist and aerospace engineer known for his contributions to orbit determination and prediction, especially as related to space situational awareness and space traffic monitoring. He is currently an associate professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at the University of Texas at Austin. Jah previously worked as a spacecraft navigator at the NASAJet Propulsion Laboratory, where he was a navigator for the Mars Global SurveyorMars OdysseyMars ExpressMars Exploration Rover, and his last mission was the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. He is a Fellow of the American Astronautical Society, the Air Force Research Laboratory,[1] the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety and, the Royal Astronomical Society. Jah was also selected into the 10th anniversary class of TED Fellows. He also was selected into the AIAA class of Fellows and Honorary Fellows in the year of the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11. The AIAA “confers the distinction of Fellow upon individuals in recognition of their notable and valuable contributions to the arts, sciences or technology of aeronautics and astronautics.

Music for Healing and Dialogue by Shaw Pong Liu

Violinist, erhu player and composer Shaw Pong Liu activates dialogue, community-building and healing through multidisciplinary creative collaborations centered on listening. From playing in wintry bus shelters, to inviting people to share their “songs from home” and migration stories, Liu seeks to connect people to one another through music and dialogue. As 2016 City of Boston Artist-in-Residence she created Code Listen, an ongoing project which uses music to support healing and dialogue around policing, racism and community violence. Other projects include Sing Home, a community songsharing project in Boston’s Chinatown; Traces, an oral history- based composition exploring residents’ stories in Providence, RI; and composing music for Anikaya Dance Theatre’s Conference of the Birds. Liu performs with the Silkroad Ensemble, Soul Yatra Trio, and Castle of Our Skins and her compositions have been commissioned by Silkroad Ensemble, A Far Cry, Lorelei Ensemble, Anikaya Dance Theatre, Community MusicWorks, Hub New Music and the Celebrity Series of Boston. A 2018 Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow, and a 2020 Boston Celtics’ “Heroes Among Us” honoree, Liu has a Bachelor’s degree from U. C. Berkeley and a Masters in Violin Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music.

The Art of a Movement by Daj’za Demmings

2020’s Class of 40 under 40, Daj’za Demmings knows first hand the importance of community and the impact of giving back. As a native of Dayton, OH Demmings has taken pride in her hometown and makes a point to consistently support local initiatives and businesses, especially within the African American community. Demmings studied Manufacturing Engineering & Business Management at Central State University and Management Information Systems & Organizational Management at Wilberforce University, the only two Historically Black College/Universities (HBCUs) in the state of Ohio. Through her collegiate tenure, Demmings was able to cultivate a range of skills and credits that contribute to her professional development in leadership, education, activism, empowerment, and service. Demmings is the Executive Director of Dayton Young  Black Professionals. Through this role she has worked to create a network that is a safe haven for young, African American career men and women to unite, network, cultivate their resources and thrive, together. Demmings is committed to a life of service and philanthropy for minority groups and marginalized people everywhere.

Entrepreneurship Hacks & Tips by KeAnna Daniels

 KeAnna M. Daniels, also known as Ke, is a proud Dayton native and a boomeran transplant. Ke is also an Entrepreneur, Empowerment Coach, Change Agent, Super Connector, Ecosystem Builder and a Servant Leader in her community. KeAnna is a Project Manager at Parallax Advanced Research, an innovation and research hub. In her role, KeAnna creates and develops programs, events and resources to support aspiring and existing entrepreneurs looking to grow and scale their business with an emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion and eliminating barriers to entry for black and brown founders.

Radio: Talking The Listener Through A Pandemic by Faith Daniels

Faith Daniels, Radio and Television Personality has been living her dream  for the last 37 years! Faith began her radio career at just 14 years old, after college Faith furthered her knowledge while working all over the country at 1350AM WLOU, 1370 AM WABD, WQQK 92Q,  KALA 88.5, WPXR 98.9, 1480AM WCIN, WVMX 94.1, WKFS 107.1, WIZF 100.9, WMOJ 94.9, WARM 98.5 and WMOJ “Mojo” 100.3 and is in her 10th year at 92.1 WROU Dayton’s R&B Leader.  Faith is Program Director/Music Director/ Community Affairs Liaison and On-Air Personality 10-7pm. Faith is also a Professional Voiceover Artist, Concert Hostess/Mistress of Ceremonies, Event Producer and Licensed Minister. Faith and her husband Kent have been married 23 years and have 3 beautiful children, Trinity 18, Matthew 20, and Brandon 32.

Verb, Pure Verb by Dave Lucas

Dave Lucas is the author of Weather (VQR / Georgia, 2011), which received the 2012 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry.  From 2018—19, he served as the Poet Laureate of the State of Ohio.  A co-founder of Cleveland Book Week and Brews + Prose at Market Garden Brewery, he lives in Cleveland, where he was born and raised.

Dave Lucas was born and raised in Cleveland.  He studied literature and poetry at John Carroll University (BA, 2002), the University of Virginia (MFA, 2004), and the University of Michigan (PhD, 2014).  His first book of poems, Weather (VQR / Georgia, 2011), received the 2012 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry.  Named by Rita Dove as one of thirteen “young poets to watch,” he has also received a “Discovery/The Nation Prize and a Cleveland Arts Prize.  From 2018—19, he served as the Poet Laureate of the State of Ohio. A co-founder of Cleveland Book Week and Brews + Prose at Market Garden Brewery, he lives in Cleveland, where he teaches at Case Western Reserve University.

UCA 2021 Symposium: DJ Basim Blunt

 Basim has worked in the media for over twenty years, as an A&R rep with Capitol Records and as a morning drive show producer. He is a filmmaker, media arts adjunct, and also a digital editing teacher in the Dayton Metro area. His work has earned him a “New Voices” Scholar award by (AIR) Association of Independents in Radio. Basim has produced the award-winning documentary Boogie Nights: A History of Funk Music in Dayton. He also served as Project Manager for ReInvention Stories, a multimedia docu-series produced by Oscar-winning filmmakers Steve Bognar and Julia Reichert. In 2020, Blunt received a PMJA (Public Media Journalists Association) award for his WYSO series Dayton Youth Radio, for which he is the founding producer and instructor. Basim spins an eclectic mix of funk, soul, and classic R&B every Friday night from 10:00 pm to midnight, as host of the 91.3 FM music show Behind the Groove.

Songwriting 101: A Fantastic Voyage Umvikeli G. Scott Jones

Umvikeli G. Scott Jones is an educator, performer, and creative. He serves as Director of Bands at Thurgood Marshall S.T.E.M. High School and Wogaman Middle School  in Dayton Public Schools. He teaches music courses at Central State University. Jones is also an endorsed XO Brass artist. Dr. Jones’ compositions blend Jazz, Gospel, Classical, and Funk. He performs with the Nasty Nati Brass Band, Soul Pocket, and his Quartet, “Speaking of Peace.” Additionally, Jones has performed and recorded with artists including Kim Kelly  Orchestra, Eddie Brookshire Big Band, Colour of Music Orchestra, Miami  Valley Symphony Orchestra, Steve Arrington, The Funk Brothers, and more. Jones is passionate about providing high quality fine arts education to underrepresented youth. Internationally, he has contributed to Wright State University’s Wright-LEAD Youth Leadership Institute in  Durban, South Africa for four years. 

Stage Your Story by Michelle Hayford

Michelle Hayford, Ph.D. is the Director of the Theatre, Dance, and Performance Technology Program and Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of Dayton. Michelle holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies  from Northwestern University. Her original creative scholarship combines her passions of creating live plays with utilizing the craft of theatre as a necessary response to community and civic engagement.  Michelle’s passion for progressive leadership in academic theatre prompted her to write the forthcoming Undergraduate Research in Theatre, published by Routledge (2021). Previous original works include Spectacle (with Nick Cardilino, 2018), Sustenance (2016) created in collaboration with the Hanley Sustainability Institute, Dog Wish (2013) commissioned by The Humane Society of the United States and Suit My Heart (2011) created in collaboration with Footsteps to the Future, a foster youth non-profit. She is co-author and co-editor (with Susan Kattwinkel) of Performing Arts as High-Impact Practice, published by Palgrave MacMillan (2018) and Arts and Humanities Division editor of the journal SPUR: Scholarship and Practice of Undergraduate Research.

You Gotta Do Some Work – Funding Opportunities for Community Artists by Chiquita Mullins Lee

Chiquita Mullins Lee won individual artist/excellence awards in fiction, non-fiction, and playwriting from the Greater Columbus Arts Council and from the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). She serves as an arts learning coordinator for the OAC and oversees
Ohio’s Poetry Out Loud and Arts Partnership programs. Published in literary anthologies including Fifth Wednesday, Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, and Falling Star Magazine, Chiquita was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, is featured on
Columbus’ Long Street Cultural Wall, and hosted the Emmy award-winning program, Traditions – Ohio Heritage Fellows. She writes and performs with Wild Women Writing and Word Warriors creative writing ministry at New Covenant Believers
Church. Her critically acclaimed play, Pierce to the Soul, premiered at CATCO, toured Ohio with A Portable Theatre Company, and appeared in the 2019 History in ACTion Playwright’s Festival, along with her dramatic monologue, Ms. Morrison
Speaks to Pilate from Song of Solomon.

Self-Healing, Conditioning and History by Jonathan Pattiwael

Join Jonathan Pattiwael to investigate movement practices based on your body materials. This workshop begins with a 15 minute guided Qi Gong practice, tapping into the Chi energy that makes us, surrounds us and binds us together. We will then explore methods of movement creation inspired by street dance forms such as Hip-Hop and we will round out the course by practicing a 10 minute guided meditation to center our breath, bodies, and mind to the present moment. We’ll use imagery, hands-on work, and structured movement explorations as starting points. No dance or movement experience necessary, just need a little bit of standing and sitting space to participate.

Creative Yoga Flow by Jennifer Turpin Stanfield

Jennifer Turpin Stanfield, is a professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. She received her master’s degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from The Ohio State University and is a certified Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. Jennifer is a Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 200) and a continuing education provider through Yoga Alliance. She is also a yoga faculty member and fitness presenter for NETA – The National Exercise Trainers Association. Jennifer is passionate about helping others live healthier lives through the adoption and maintenance of positive health behaviors and believes that yoga is for everyone.

Conscious Parenting: Healing Students in a Pandemic by Nate Leone

Playwright and Clarity Coach Nate Leone’ became a fixture of the Midwestern revival of the Black Arts Movement and Urban Creative arts, thanks to productions like Livingroom of the Mind and critically acclaimed works like “The Corner.” He is also an outstanding Educator and Speaker who recorded transformational education, as illustrated by his book Success You. Upon receiving the 2018 Ohio Governor’s Award for the arts, Leone’ has worked diligently to eliminate the limited artistic box Black plays and musicals are placed. Nate Leone’ is an innovative creative regarded as a highly insightful playwright with works like Eunice: Star Shine and Clay. Through his company OFP Theatre and Productions he continues to be an arts advocate in Dayton, Ohio and throughout the country. Nate obtained his B.S. degree in Special Ed, from The Central State University. He taught for 10 years and worked with at-risk youth in corrections, treatment, and chemical dependency for 12 years. He also holds a M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction from Wright State University, with over 15 years’ of experience as a trained facilitator.

Building Our Temples for Tomorrow by Furaha Henry-Jones

Furaha Henry-Jones has enjoyed sharing her work with audiences domestically and abroad for over twenty years. In recent years, she was presented the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for Poetry in 2018 and she is currently the Poet Laureate at Sinclair College. Her travels, study abroad at the University of Salamanca in Spain and her teaching experience with the international program Wright Lead Youth Leadership Institute in Durban, South Africa have led her to enthusiastically connect students to global experiences. She was proud to co-found the Ubuntu South Africa Study Abroad program and to present her reflections on visiting South Africa in Shea Butter Epiphanies at TEDxDayton’s inaugural session. Her favorite performances in recent years have included Four Women: A Tribute to Nina Simone and the Black Arts Movement, Sundowners at the Durban Playhouse, Harriet: Navigation, Live and Thrive and her role in the play A Song for Coretta.

The Medicinal Creativity of Crochet Arts by Erin Morgan Smith Glenn

Erin Morgan Smith Glenn is an assistant professor of art, advisor of the Visual Arts Club and proud alum of Central State University. She holds an M.F.A. from the University of Cincinnati with a concentration in 2D drawing and painting, working in a variety of media. Erin has exhibited works in Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and Illinois, respectively, including numerous solo exhibitions, with three solos in 2019 alone. Among her lifelong pursuits is to continually practice her artwork and overall creative experiences, vowing never to stop “growing as an artist and individual”, while always striving to instill this concept in her students and her three children, as she does within herself.

The House of Healing Arts Panel Darsheel Kaur, Shon Curtis, Mariah J., and Leroy Bean

Darsheel Kaur

(she/they) As a child of diaspora and citizen of mother Earth, Darsheel Kaur lives her life as a lifelong student of the natural elements and of Sikhi. She is a cultural worker who infuses radical healing and revolutionary love into being an educator, coach, creative writer, community builder, and circle keeper. As a wellness practitioner, she centers in mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual work and guidance for her intergenerational and multicultural community. She offers community healing circles sharing tools and practices to support us in healing ourselves individually and collectively from isolation, toxic stress, cycles of violence, and legacies of trauma.

Shon Curtis

BIO: Shon Curtis is a photographer born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. Focusing on academics and family, Shon attended Sinclair Community College majoring in English with the aptitude of being an educator. Working, studying, and teaching, Curtis was laid off in 2017 shortly after changing his degree field to Visual Communications. Having gone to the preeminent Stivers School For the Arts for six years before attending college, the seed that was planted in art burst forth when Shon secured his first grant-based project with Ohio Student Association and Midwest Culture Lab as a lead photographer in Issue One campaign throughout the Midwest Area. Shon went on to attend The Art Institute of Pittsburgh studying Digital Photography before he ended his program to pursue full-time freelance photography. Creating images for commercial corporations and both local and national organizations such as Gem City Market, Five Rivers Metro Parks, and The Wilderness Agency to name a few, Curtis developed a sense for portraiture and storytelling. Focusing on the exploration of culture and society, Shon’s portraits are intended to be an earnest experience between two people. He currently works and resides in Dayton, Ohio.

Mariah J 

BIO: Mariah J is an artist disrupter, cultural strategist, dancer, singer/songwriter, poet, music producer and spiritual herbalist apprentice under the direction of Karen Rose.

Mariah released her debut EP, When You Call On Freedom’s Name, in December of 2019 now available on Soundcloud.  Mariah can be found showing her love and support for all mediums of art and healing, often helping to cultivate peace, culture, and love through organizing artists and activists via creative projects.  She has a deep and passionate love for Afro-indigenous culture and history and consistently uses her platform to address issues affecting our society, especially those concerning black, indigenous and of color women. Mariah is an artist disrupter who helps co-create the world we all deserve through art, culture, healing, and enlightenment.

Leroy Bean

BIO: Leroy Bean is an author, poet, and co-founder of Underdog Academy and Baldwin Cafe Bookstore from Dayton, Ohio. For 4 years he has taught an original creative writing workshop suitable for elementary to adult for the purpose of healing, emotional intelligence, development of one’s writing process and exercise for the creative muscle


Artist. Educator. Entrepreneur. Activist. Virtual Healing and Performance Symposium April 16-17, 2021

For immediate release March 16, 2021 Contact information Sierra Leone, Co-Founder, OFP Productions 937-241-4957 urbancreativeartsohio@gmail.com Artist. Educator. Innovator. Entrepreneur. Activist. What does it mean to embody these roles and elevate the work of an artist beyond entertainment?  To examine, honor, … Continue reading

What’s Going On! OFP Productions Urban Creative Arts, Education, and Healing!

In order to thrive, urban creative artists and entrepreneurs must learn to live within and navigate. For OFP Productions, overcoming that particular struggle is nothing new, but the entire world now finds itself collectively facing an entirely new struggle.

“I woke up with 10 messages that said ‘your gig/workshops are canceled’” says Sierra Leone, recalling a morning only a few weeks ago as Ohio began implementing measures to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

In-person opportunities are, of course, the lifeblood of the artist, sustaining the spirit and the very practical monetary concerns of our world. They also offer artist and audience a chance to commune, to heal, and to create something new. And so, Nate and Sierra Leone decided to create something new to contribute to their community’s continued health and healing.

Pray Play Praise 2020 v2Acacia Health and Wellness joins OFP Productions, Signature Educational Solutions and I Am Moon Power as a new innovative brand leveraging the creativity, wisdom and reliance of Leone and Owens’ work thus far.


“These unchartered waters enable us to launch this new organization because we’ve already spent many days being uncertain,” says Sierra Leone. “Everything we’ve done thus far has primed us for doing this work. We see the need for healing, for inner peace amidst struggle, and we want to stand with our community in this time of need wherever each individual might be on their journey.”

The work of Acacia Health and Wellness will manifest through products, services and apparel with careful links and connections to its sister brands. Cleansing sage, aromatherapy and essential oils, virtual workshops on conscious parenting, arts healing workshops, and educational opportunities in the digital space serve the community and the whole person in a way that’s new, yet familiar.

“Everything we’ve done so far, prepares us to step up and serve our community in the way that’s needed and to sustain ourselves so that we can be there to create more art and perform when we can all gather in person,” says Leone who is still looking forward to in-person events further on the horizon.

1-The Signature - QuarantineFans and friends of The Signature can gather in the digital space more immediately, however. OFP Productions will host a live Signature show on Facebook in celebration of National Poetry Month on Friday, April 3, 2020, beginning at 8pm. This virtual event will feature a variety of performers and artists from all over the US, and Radio Basim, host of WYSO’s Behind the Groove will DJ! The Show will be live on Facebook  Tonight at 8:00pm!

Of this very different reality, Leone says, “All these years of hustle and bustle and leaning on our faith and making art has prepared us for this challenge.”

If you missed the April 3, 2020 show.  We received unified feedback that the show was  “medicine to the soul”. The 2nd installation is on the way- Stay tuned!  Stay Home! Stay Safe! Stay Healthy!


                                                          We are also excited to introduce-

Pray Play Praise 2020 v2

The Home of Urban Creative Arts comes to Life at the Levitt Pavilion & PNC Arts Annex this summer!

Artistic evolution is ongoing, sometimes happening in big, bold endeavors. Other times forward motion happens slowly, quietly, the act of rest creating revolution in its own way.

For OFP Theatre and Productions, it was the act of allowing The Signature: A Poetic Medley to rest after a decade that gave way to new projects and new focus for this important art event.

The Signature returns to Dayton this summer for two shows. The first is a more traditional event, on July 28, the Signature will present a free, open-to-the public pop-up performance at the Levitt Pavilion Dayton in the heart of downtown Dayton, as part of the venue’s part of the 2019 Eichelberger Concert Series. Internationally known performance artist and educator Sunni Patterson and two-time Grammy winner Timothy Bloom will headline.


“To have a free pop-up at the Levitt Pavilion Dayton allows us to serve our local community in a new and different way to celebrate urban creative arts in the heart of the city. And, hopefully, to expose a curious community to something they don’t even know they’re interested in,” says Sierra Leone,

The second performance brings The Signature to the new PNC Arts Annex on August 16. This event will combine literary poets with spoken word artists for a presentation of poetry, including state poet laureate Dave Lucas.

August 16th Signature Arts Annex v6

“We hope to bring in students, young people, writers and performing artists of all ages from different communities in support of poetry and the literary arts,” says Leone. “You’ll experience modern, urban spoken word, griot and heritage methods of poetry right next to poets who work in very traditional meter and rhythm – these are people and forms who don’t often get the opportunity to inhabit the same space, but events like this aim to close the gap so poets feel more comfortable standing side by side.”

This performance is the culminating event of a three-phase initiative supported by the Ohio Arts Council that aims to help poets hone and develop their skills as arts practitioners and professionals, going beyond the simple currency of applause and exploring viable options for poets and other artists to live as professionals in the state.

“For so long, our currency has been applause,” says Leone who lead this effort. “We want our currency to be actual value. We want people in our community to see actual value in poetry and for poets to feel empowered to work as professional artists.”

Leone says that the opportunity to step away from The Signature, to develop the original Poetic musical Eunice Star Shine and Clay and return to The Signature has allowed the OFP team to refocus.

“We realized that we had two or three audiences within one experience. We can now do the work and figure out how to pinpoint and create impact within those audiences with work that resonates with them.”

August 16th Signature Arts Annex v6

Printing supported by Oregon printing




From The Page to The Stage…

From the page to the stage, the process of becoming continues for Eunice: Star Shine and Clay, Oral Funk Poetry Theatre and Productions’ poetic drama co-written by Sierra and Nate Leone.

After casting the show in late September, the collaborative team of OFP Theatre & Productions and the University of Dayton Theater, Dance, and Performance Technology Program lead by Michelle Hayford have been in rehearsals ahead of a November 30 opening night.

“Everyone knows that if you’re interacting with Nina Simone in any form; it’s empowering and inspiring and challenges you in the moment you’re in,” says co-writer Sierra Leone of the play’s namesake Eunice Waymon, known internationally as Nina Simone. “She’s intense, her work is intense, but our goal is to do her justice and make her legacy, both her triumphs and tumult, real.”

Leone first encountered Simone in a 2003 article in Essence Magazine after the artist, Black activist, and High Priestess of Soul had died, “I went and bought all of her music that I could and spent at least two years straight listening to it.”

To watch members of the cast have that same experience with Simone as an artist is magical for Sierra Leone.

“For young artists to see her sacrificing everything to be involved in the Black Arts Movement with Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and pay the price for her art and activism, and having to embody that, that’s something I couldn’t do so Nate and I wrote it.”

The responsibility of embodying Simone’s story falls to a talented cast with all principle roles being portrayed by African Americans, which, Leone notes, is still a rarity in mainstream theater.

OFP Theatre & Productions’ theatrical debut is being directed by Michelle Hayford with support from her University of Dayton team, who are experts in the courageous task of bringing new work to the stage.

“We call Michelle ‘Dreamcatcher’ because of her willingness to stretch her staff and herself to make work that challenges both the audience and the cast/crew.”

Patrons and friends of The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show are invited to witness the world premiere of Eunice: Star Shine and Clay on November 30 and December 1 at the University of Dayton’s Boll Theatre. Join OFP Theatre & Productions for a night of theater that will inspire, empower, and challenge through music, poetry, and our current moment.

Purchase Tix Today!

Auditions! Eunice Starshine and Clay

Sometimes the muse demands more, and as artists, we must answer that call.

After 2016’s Four Women: A Tribute to Nina Simone & the Black Arts Movement, Oral Funk Poetry Theatre and Productions’ Sierra Leone says, “Nina Simone wouldn’t let us go.”Nina

Two years later, OFP Theatre & Productions and the University of Dayton Theater, Dance, and Performance Technology Program are announcing auditions for Eunice: Star Shine and Clay on September 24 in anticipation of the production’s premiere on November 30 and December 1 in Dayton, Ohio.

The road to creating this new theatrical work was not an easy one; although well versed in presenting music, art and poetry through The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show, Leone says that after months of conversations with arts colleagues it became clear it was time to write a play.

Eunice: Star Shine and Clay is a poetic drama about the life of Eunice Waymon, known internationally as Nina Simone, artist, Black activist, and High Priestess of Soul. The work represents a shift for Sierra and Nate Leone of OFP Theatre & Productions, who co-wrote the play.  Audition details click here

“Usually we each have our roles in creating a production, but to write something together required a whole different type of collaboration and energy,” says Sierra Leone. “We’re shaping the experience completely based on our history as artists.”

That history came into play in 2017 as OFP Theatre & Productions celebrated its 10th anniversary and produced its decade season of The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show, which will return in 2019 after a year off for its “Beyond the Decade” season.

Sierra Leone says that a decade of The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show has lead directly to the creation of Eunice: Star Shine and Clay, “Every single moment leading to this moment is what made this piece possible. Every artist, every sponsor and supporter, every patron, every glitch, every success and failure lead us here. Nina Simone’s energy and spirit carried us here, and after 10 years of standing on our own, we called on our community for support.”

Support came in form of Michelle Hayford and the University of Dayton Theater, Dance, and Performance Technology Program, who were also collaborators on Four Women: A Tribute to Nina Simone & the Black Arts Movement. Victoria Theatre Association Team and VP of Education/ Engagement Gary Minyard. sparked our playwright energy, our home theatre and co-partners, The Human Race Theatre Company, WYSO General Manager Neenah Ellis, Crystal Perkins, poet and educator Furaha Henry-Jones, musician and educator G. Scott Jones, Lisa Wagner and the Ohio Arts Council who honored Leone and OFP Theatre & Productions with a 2018 Ohio Governor’s Award for the Arts.

Heading into auditions, Sierra Leone says she feels excited, joy-filled, nervous, and protected in this opportunity to grow as an artist, “Becoming a playwright is totally different. This is legacy work.”

This is just the beginning.


Click Here For More Details

Eunice Audition Flyer v3

The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show Closes the 10th Season of Urban Creative Arts with “BEYOND THE DECADE”

For More Information:
Sierra Leone, 937-241-4957

Decade Season of The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show

Closes with Beyond The Decade December 1 Show

Dayton, Ohio (November 8, 2017) – Oral Funk Poetry Productions will close its decade season with the dynamic Off-Broadway-inspired “Beyond The Decade,” an evening starring Jessica Care Moore, Georgia Me, and Queen Sheba. The production will be held Friday, December 1, 2017 from 8 to 11 p.m. at The Loft Theatre, 126 N. Main St. from 8 to 11 p.m. Friday, Dec 1, 2017.

Advance tickets for the December 1 season finale are $25, available by calling 937-228-3630 or visiting The Signature’s page at  www.ticketcenterstage.com. The Signature Lounge and full bar will be open pre-and post-show. 

Sierra Leone, Co-founder and Creative Director of Oral Funk Poetry Productions explains, “This high-energy evening will close the decade season with the same fiery authentic energy that has carried OFP through the season.  Live rollercoaster ride performances by three fierce and prolific spoken word artists will close out this 10-year milestone. She continues, “Having the opportunity to partner and host our productions at The Loft Theatre, collaborate with the Cincinnati Arts Association, host our first Signature Improv collaboration at the Black Box Improv Theatre and now returning to our home theatre to close out the season featuring three legendary Poets.” Has come a decade season to remember.

NNBB_500x500since 2012, the Nasty Nati Brass Band has fired up the Ohio landscape, performing at the Columbus Jazz & Rib Fest, Cincinnati Jazz& BBQ Fest, the Greenwich, Cleveland’s Bop Stop, BluJazz in Akron, and Blues Alley in Washington, DC. NNBB embodies traditions from New Orleans, Ohio Funk, Jazz, R&B, and Historically Black College and University Bands. The nine-member ensemble always leaves audiences wanting more.

JESS1Jessica Care Moore the Founder, Black WOMEN Rock and a Detroit Native. She is the winner of the Alain Locke Award. Featured poet on Karriem Riggins Headnod Suite & Jeezy’ s Church in these streets, Black Tea -The legend of Jessi James-signed music artist on Talib Kweli’s Javotti Label. CEO, Moore Black Press, Author of Sunlight Through Bullet Holes and the forthcoming, We Want Our Bodies Back and Apollo Theatre Legend.

DSC_2641Georgia Me is an Atlanta native and resident who has propelled her love of poetry into a mighty heralded career! Anointed as the Queen of Spoken Word.  She has appeared 7x on Russel Simmons HBO DEF POETRY also starring in the Broadway adaptation earning a TONY AWARD. She has won numerous awards domestic and international, including an EMMY AWARD and PEABODY. Georgia Me has appeared on Verses and Flow, Lyric Cafe, The Today Show, Carson Daly, the Monique Show and so many others!  Recently completed a 2017 Tour with 2xGrammy award winning Miss Jill Scott.


Queen Sheba is an Int’l 4 Countries Slam Champion, two-time National Poetry Slam Champ. Sheba is also a featured performer on season two of Verses and Flow, brought to you by Lexus on TV One. Sheba has a Masters in Poetry from Queens University Spoken Word artist, Sheba tours internationally six albums, two of which were up for a Grammy under the Spoken Word category and she is a two-time NAACP Image Award Nominee. Queen Sheba has two books: From Foster Care to Fame short stories and poems too long for three minutes and Run Ugly!

23167949_10155253139473867_261924217773220136_nErin Smith-Glenn is the featured Visual Artist. She is an assistant professor of art, advisor of the Visual Arts Club and proud alum of Central State University. She holds an M.F.A. from the University of Cincinnati with a concentration in 2D drawing and painting. Erin has exhibited works in Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Illinois, respectively. 

For the last decade, Oral Funk Poetry Productions has been devoted to providing a platform for the authenticity of spoken word to meet the prestige of live theater. The Signature has earned a reputation in the Midwest for being edgy, thought provoking, groundbreaking, funny, engaging, sexy, diverse and spontaneous. More information is available online at www.tripplecroxxent.org, Home of Urban Creative Arts

The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show is sponsored by our seven-year partner, The Human Race Theater Company, our Leading Sponsor-University of Dayton IACT, along with Oregon Express, WYSO – 91.3, Delish Café, Signature Educational Solutions and Tripple Croxx Entertainment 

Tix Link: www.tripplecroxxent.org/event.html

Tix Link:  https://youtu.be/vV2s3xluW_k

The Signature Celebrates “The Decade” with Improv & Razzle Dazzle Fun

Sierra Leone, 937-241-4957                                                                                                           ofpproductionsusa@gmail.com

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The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show celebrates 10 Years with Razzle Dazzle

DAYTON, OH – Oral Funk Poetry Productions and The Human Race Theatre Company will present What’s Your Razzle Dazzle, the third and penultimate show of The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show’s 10th season, from 5 – 7 p.m. on Saturday, October 14 at the Black Box Improv Theater (518 E. 3rd St., Dayton). Doors will open at 5 p.m., with savory hors- d’oeuvre and “Razzle Dazzle” drinks.  Tickets are $40, and are available at  TicketCenterStage.com.

What’s Your Razzle Dazzle will showcase both the visual and performing arts during an evening featuring spoken word, improv, and atmospheric music including features  from Justin Howard, Sierra Leone & Black Box Theatre Improv Performers.

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Visual Artist Harry Sanchez will be creating a live interactive experience. His border city roots has made Harry keenly aware of boundaries everywhere and in response has developed a practice of reacting against rules and limits. His work strives to be the counter-balance in a world of conformity and is an exploration into identities based on inner and outer perceptions as well as the perceptions of identity that are created by people’s actions or inactions. He recently attained his MFA from DAAP at the University of Cincinnati and his BFA from the University of Texas at El Paso. He is originally from El Paso, Texas but currently lives and works out of Dayton, Kentucky.

“This is a real landmark for us,” said Sierra Leone of Oral Funk Poetry Productions (OFP). “It’s amazing that in this region, and now beyond, we’ve been able to create and sustain a professional showcase of urban creative arts. That is not an easy accomplishment, but it has been so rewarding, and this event is a time to breathe together, give thanks, show love, and be one in the joy of artistic freedom.” The event will ask audience members the question, What’s your razzle dazzle?  “Your muse, your inspiration, that passion and creative spark deep within that drives you to create,” Leone said in definition. “Artists don’t create because they want to, we create because there’s something inside us that has to get out. It is not always comfortable, but when expression is desired it always find a way to come forth!

“That razzle dazzle energy burns inside all of us,” she said. “Everyone’s is different, but everyone has it. At this event, we will reveal ours, but we will also involve the audience so dress comfortable and come prepared to have fun.
“The Signature has allowed us to bring nationally recognized names to work with artists here in Dayton for a Decade. Razzle Dazzle is centered in celebrating the joys of the past ten years and also what is Beyond The Decade.

Leone will also make a special announcement at the event regarding her future and the future of their family of brands at the October 14, 2017 celebration.

The Decade Season is supported by Black Box Improv Theatre, Oral Funk Poetry Productions, Human Race Theatre Company, University of Dayton IACT, Oregon Printing, Signature Educational Solutions, Delish Café, & Tripple Croxx.

OFP Productions is known across the U.S for producing and co-presenting The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show. The shows spontaneous, edgy, thought provoking and engaging design creates the experience of a New York Off-Broadway Theatrical Revue. During the DECADE season, OFP Productions will continue to use ingenious expressions of vibrant sexy, racy, and diverse varieties of performance in one incredible two-hour experience. More information on OFP and The Signature events can be found at triplecroxxent.org, home of urban creative arts.

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Sponsorship opportunities are still available for local businesses interested in increasing their visibility while investing in the arts in the greater Dayton region. For sponsorship information, contact Oral Funk Poetry Productions at (937) 241-4957.

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Who is Jasmine Brown 2017?

Since its inception in 2014, De’Lish Cafe has been a leading sponsor and supporter of Last Poet Standing.  Owner Jasmine Brown gives an inside look at her current life experiences as a female entrepreneur of color and supporter of the arts.  As a longtime supporter of TCE, we sat down to chat about how live has been post Spring of 2016.

Q:  How did it all start for you?

A: DeLish was a concept from my husband and myself. The menu is compiled of dishes we’ve had from restaurants we’ve visited in other states. My husband loved spicy foods so that’s why our menu has a somewhat New Orleans style to it.

Q:  Tell me about a time that it was  hard to be a business owner . How did you handle it?”

A: The hardest time I had being a business owner was when my husband passed. Things were really rough in the first few months. The strength of my children, a lot of prayers and hard work was what helped me get through that rough time. The hardest time I had being a business owner was when my husband passed. Things were really rough in the first few months. The strength of my children, a lot of prayers and hard work was what helped me get through that rough time.

Q:  Why do you love the ARTS, Specifically Spoken Word and self-expression?   

A: I’ve always had a LOVE for the arts. I feel like someone that is able to get up on the microphone in front of people and share their most intimate thoughts and feelings to an audience is AMAZING! Its a beautiful gift. I love watching someone on stage pour out their life in words. It’s really unexplainable sometimes!


 Q:  What is a normal day like for you? 

A:  A normal day for me would consist of checking emails and returning phone calls in the morning. Running errands for the restaurant and making sure my kids are good. Taking calls throughout the day.. maybe a quick meeting with a friend. Trying to find something to eat in between time. Eventually making my way back to the restaurant to make sure my guests are getting taken care of. Depending on what day it is I may not get home until after midnight.



Q:  What is something that people do not know about you?

A:  I really wish I could take ballet classes. I love the way dancers move so gracefully and how their bodies are in tune with the music that is being played. Dance is just a beautiful form of art to me!

Q:  Currently, what are two joys and two challenges about being a entrepreneur?

A: Not having to answer to anyone…. you are your own boss.

Knowing that I’ve created jobs that’s helping people take care of their family is one of the greatest feelings in the world! 2) You are your own boss, if you don’t do it, sometimes it will not get done.  Learning that you can’t please everyone can be such a terrible thing to battle with. Especially when you’re a people pleaser!

Q:  What is your favorite movie; last three years?

A:   My favorite movie… of all times would be Carlitos Way!  It’s such a beautiful love story played throughout the movie.  The last three years… 12 Years A Slave! Epic movie!

Q:  Why is supporting Local – State important to here?

A:   Being a entrepreneur myself, I know the cliche blood, the sweat, the tears that’s put into owning a business. I know that when I support a local business I support my community a family that I can interact with. A voice and a face that most of the time I can touch and see. It’s a great feeling knowing that I’m helping provide the means to someone’s dream!