Yes! ROOTS Foundation Poetry Slam is back. This year we’re taking things to a higher level. The competition is going to be fierce. Do you have what it takes to rise to the top? Come speak your most powerful words and give us your strongest performance.

Here are the Rules and Regulations. Download and have a thorough read through.

Also, here is the Rubric. These are the criteria by which each participant will be judged. Take a look to understand each item and its importance to your score. A clear understanding of what we’re looking for is essential to achieve a high score. Please pay careful attention.

Applicants will be required to sign the Mentoring Residency Agreement. The key aim of the residency is to provide opportunities for ROOTS Youth Ambassadors aged 13 – 18 to develop their skills in making live performances, working with young people as artistic collaborators, positively engaging Opportunity Youth and vulnerable youth in at-risk circumstances, participating in community outreach programmes and learning about the role of a Residency Programme from an international Mentor.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us and we will get back to you ASAP.


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You ready to sign up and show us what you’ve got? Registration is OPEN!!

Sign up below…



Here are the judges for the auditions and preliminary phases of the competition:-

Dwayne Morgan [#investinchange]

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Dwayne Morgan began his career as a spoken word artist in 1993. In 1994, he founded Up From The Roots entertainment, to promote the positive artistic contributions of African Canadian and urban influenced artists. Morgan is a 2017 finalist for the Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Spoken Word, and a 2016 finalist for the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. In 2014, he was the recipient of the Renaissance Planet Africa Award for Career Achievement, and was acknowledged by the Ontario Black History Society as a Community Trailblazer. In 2013, Morgan was inducted into the Scarborough Walk of Fame.

Morgan is a member of the Writers Union of Canada, a 2012 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word National Poetry Slam Champion, and has received both the African Canadian Achievement Award, and the Harry Jerome Award for Excellence in the Arts. Morgan is the winner of 3 Canadian Urban Music Awards (2001, 2003, 2005). In 2005, Morgan was recognized as Poet of Honour at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Vancouver, and in 2008 his contribution to the Arts and Canadian society were recognized on the Legacy Black History Month poster.

Dwayne Morgan is the author of ten books and has performed for the former Governor General of Canada, The Honourable Michaelle Jean, the late leader of the NDP, Jack Layton, and has shared the stage with many of Canada’s top artists including Russell Peters, Kardinal Offishal, Jully Black, and Nelly Furtado, while opening for international artists Alicia Keys, and recording with Canadian artists, including Drake.

Dwayne’s work ethic and emphasis on quality has driven his success and has earned him respect in the music and spoken word scene globally. These qualities have taken him to Africa, North America, Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean, including his parent’s birth place Jamaica. He has been featured at the inaugural annual Cascadoo Spoken Word Festival in Trinidad and Tobago in 2013 and at the 5th anniversary edition in 2017. Currently Dwayne Morgan is a candidate for Scarborough North with the Ontario New Democratic Party – #investinchange.

“ROOTS Poetry Slam is a great way to engage new voices and stories coming out of Trinidad and Tobago, and being broadcast across the world” – Dwayne Morgan, Canada.


Randy McLaren [I am Bresheh]

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Randy McLaren is an award winning Dub/Spoken Word Poet delivering thought provoking and entertaining performances. A screen, stage, voice actor and motivational facilitator, he is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper attached to the Kingston Hub. He is also a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Youth Award for Excellence in Arts and Culture as well as the Commonwealth Youth Award for Excellence in Development work.

The Branson Centre Official Entrepreneur is a Co-Founder and Managing Director of Bresheh Enterprises. At Bresheh, they design and manufacture a range of products including backpacks, duffle bags, totes, cross body bags, pencil cases and so on. They have serous plans of expanding into other areas in the future.

Randy believes in the transformative power of the arts using his talents and skills to empower. This belief has seen him travel the globe performing and conducting workshops across the African continent, Europe, North America and the Caribbean including Trinidad and Tobago for the Cascadoo Spoken Word Festival in 2014 and at the 5th anniversary edition in 2017.

“The voice is a powerful tool which can inspire change and help individuals and groups to accomplish dreams; that is why I endorse the ROOTS Poetry Slam!” – Randy McLaren, Jamaica.


Hayley Millington [Proud to be Trinbagonian]

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Hayley Millington a Proud to be Trini-Laventillian, immigrated to Canada in the late 1980s. Her love for the English language and words in general developed very early on in her life during her elementary school years at Belmont Girls’ R.C. School when she first began writing creatively. As a Secondary school student of St. Francois Girls’ College and later on at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, her love of language fuelled a passion for her poetry as it looks now. Hayley found that her poetry had undergone a transformation of form to where it sits today.

In her day job, she is a Public Servant who investigates fraud for a Federally run program. As well as being an involved union activist (her other passion). Hayley is the National Equity Representative for Women for the Union of National Employees as well as Human Rights Representative on her local Executive.

Hayley is an avid proponent of a living a life imagined and the strength of the power of one. To date, she has performed her poetry in small venues and written articles for her union’s online newsletter. Hayley was featured at the inaugural ROOTS Poetry Slam in 2008 and has been featured in two issues of ROOTS annual magazine.

“I wholeheartedly endorse ROOTS Poetry Slam because I am well aware of the power of spoken word and I know that self-expression is an empowering tool, one that can shift focuses and change lives” – Hayley Millington, Canada.


Mtima Solwazi [I Have Something to Say!]

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In 2008 ROOTS Foundation took a bold step and launched ROOTS Poetry Slam “I Have Something to Say!” after having published our bi-monthly newsletter and annual magazine (Reflections of Our Oral TraditionS) in 2005 which promoted local, regional and international established and emerging spoken word poets. This journey was nothing short of an experience, and a learning one at that.

ROOTS Poetry Slam was many things to many people, but for me it was an opportunity to provide a platform for youth to express themselves through the introduction of slam poetry to T&T. The four years we hosted ROOST Poetry Slam was very challenging, but also very rewarding as we made new connections that have mushroomed and stood the test of time to this day. In 2008, we co-hosted Jamaican dub poet, Charlie Bobus and we met many young emerging poets, too many to mention, who today have made a name for themselves in the local, regional and international spoken word scene.

Also in 2008, we took part in the 11th annual Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival. We continue to provide young persons with an opportunity to participate at this international Olympic-style spoken word festival (2016, 2017 and 2018). The most successful offshoot of ROOTS Poetry Slam is our annual spoken word festival, Cascadoo Caribbean New Voices International Festival of Spoken Word which was launched in 2013.

Ten years after the launch of ROOTS Poetry Slam we have decided to rebrand the slam and include it as part of our annual Cascadoo spoken word festival and to use the slam as an opportunity to send the first, second, third and people’s choice poets to participate in Brave New Voices and other regional and international spoken word festivals.

So this is our clarion call to young persons across Trinidad and Tobago. Those who have raw talent which has not yet been explored. Those who want an opportunity to voice their opinions and views on topics and issues, and at the same time share their opinions and views on solutions to those topics and issues. This is the platform for you. This is the space where your voices can be heard and your opinions and views can be used to make a positive change in society. This is where you can boldly say “I Have Something to Say!” and be heard and be appreciated and be valued.

“This competition is designed to encourage the youth, especially those who are unattached, to engage in meaningful activities designed to allow them to demonstrate a change in attitude and thinking and at the same time explore their undiscovered talent” – Mtima Solwazi, Trinidad and Tobago.