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A  celebration of the one year anniversary of Shackled Freedom: Black Living in the Modern American South. Dasan Ahanu will share from the poetry collection and sit down with Omisade Burney for a conversation exploring inspiration, community and craft. With performances by guest poets Wildperfection and Sh8kes.

Registration and Attendance

We will offer seating for up to 26 in-person guests, with priority access given on a first-come-first-serve basis.  You may also view the event remotely with registration on our Crowdcast. In addition to the in-person gathering, this event will be live-streamed on and free with registration - click "Save My Spot" above or visit 

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About Our Guests: 

DASAN AHANU  is a public speaker, organizer, curator, educator, poet, spoken word artist, educator, songwriter, and emcee, and loyal Hip Hop head born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is co-founder and managing director of Black Poetry Theatre, a Durham based theatre company that creates and produces original poetry and spoken word based productions. As an active participant in poetry slam, Dasan has competed regionally and nationally as a founding member and coach of Durham, NC’s own Bull City Slam Team. In 2010 and 2014, Ahanu led the Bull City Slam Team in winning the Southern Fried Southeastern Regional Poetry Slam, the largest regional poetry slam in the country. He also led the team to a 3rd place finish at the 2010 National Poetry Slam and a 2nd place finish in Group Piece Finals at the 2012 National Poetry Slam. 

OMISADE BURNEY  is a black, Southern, feminist mother and healer with decades of experience in nonprofit leadership, philanthropy, and social justice. Grounded in an analysis of systems of oppression, she has trained extensively in identity politics, intersectionality, and liberatory organizing practices. Omisade sees herself as an Organizational Development Midwife, facilitating major transitions that social justice nonprofits and groups must make in order to remain relevant, responsive, intentional, healthy, and sustainable. As a healer, she is particularly skilled in creating safe and open spaces that facilitate people to dig down deep into their own power and create their own solutions. She is the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Advocacy for SisterSong, a women of color Reproductive Justice collective. 

Omisade is a 1989 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel. She is also a tribe member of SpiritHouse and a board member of The Beautiful Project, Village of Wisdom, and Working Films. Omi resides in Durham and is the proud mother of two sons, Che and Taj.


Shackled Freedom: Black Living in the Modern South 

The poetry collection by award-winning artist Dasan Ahanu contains poems that are inspired by, speak to, and detail the Black southern experience. Shackled Freedom is the second installment of a series dedicated to Black life. The collection attempts to push back at rigid narratives about Black living below the Mason Dixon Line. Too often we are presented with narratives and perspectives that narrow our collective understanding. In doing so, they reduce Black existence. This makes it easier for negative rhetoric and propaganda to become rooted in our societal consciousness. Dasan writes to resist this narrowing, presenting Black life as layered, nuanced, and dynamic. Through the images and stories shared in the poems, Dasan strikes a careful balance between celebrating the breadth of Black southerness and showing how Black lives are impacted by the struggles they have constantly faced. He also highlights the strength and resilience necessary to still succeed, to overcome, to find and claim joy.



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