Finding a Voice Through Hip Hop and Poetry: Dahlak Brathwaite Tours Iowa This Week

Mar 7, 2016

Hip-hop artist Dahlak Brathwaite was arrested after being caught with magic mushrooms as a youth.  During a show he calls Spiritrials, he raps about his arrest and how he was treated by the criminal justice system. 

"The way the criminal justice system is set up, if you are caught with drugs, you are labeled as a drug addict who needs help," he says.

"I decided to write about it. And in my writing, addiction, religion and the law all intersect in this drug recovery program. And as the main narrator, I embody four different program participants to really understand my own place in what really is a right of passage as a young, black man through the criminal justice system."

Brathwaite is in Iowa this week and will be performing Spiritrials this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at CSPS in Cedar Rapids at 8:00 p.m. During this Talk of Iowa interview, he talks with host Charity Nebbe about his writing, his music, and about how he uses spoken word poetry to help youth find their voices and reflect on racial profiling.  

"We all are young and dumb at some point. We all do stupid things and cross the line. But if you are under surveillance so much and harassed so much, you’re going to get caught more often."