Poets representing Trinidad and Tobago at Brave New Voices continue to develop their performance talents through live performances, workshop training and mentorship.


ROOTS Poetry Slam “I Have Something to Say!”

Influenced by the Canadian spoken word poetry scene, ROOTS Poetry Slam began in 2008 as a platform for young poets who have something to say. Launched at the NALIS’ Amphitheatre, this inaugural slam featured two international artists, Charlie Bobus aka Nicardo Murray, Jamaican dub-poet and Hayley Millington, Trinidad-born Canadian poet.

Designed to encourage the youth, especially those who are unattached to engage in meaningful activities to allow them to demonstrate a change in attitude and thinking and at the same time explore their undiscovered talent. According to Ryan et al (1983) “reward appears to increase effort and stimulate creative thought so long as it is not presented as the predominant reason for such activity”.


ROOTS Foundation is part of the Brave New Voices Network.

In 2008, ROOTS Foundation was invited by Arts in Action to participate at the 11th annual Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival held in Washington D.C. Today, ROOTS Foundation is an active member of the International Brave New Voices Network Organizations, and at present, is the only authorized organization in the Caribbean to host poets at the annual Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival. In 2017 Trinidad and Tobago qualified for the Semifinals and in 2018 Trinidad and Tobago placed 2nd losing to Baltimore by 0.1 point.

Contribution Towards The Local Cultural And The Global Creative Arts Sector

Bay Area, San Francisco: Oakland Museum

Semi Finals Scores:

Banton Rouge: 114.7

Miami Gardens: 114.5

DC (Split this Rock): 112.5

Sacramento: 109.7

T&T: 109.3

Houston, Texas: Texas ASIA Society

Semi Finals Scores:
T&T: 113.5

Bay Area: 110.3

New Jersey: 108.7

Orlando: 104.9

Chicago: 104.1

Houston, Texas: Arena Theatre

Grand Slam Finals Scores:
Baltimore: 108.3

T&T: 108.2

Sacramento: 107.7

Boston: 107.5

A Tobagonian BNV Alumnae became the first Trinidad and Tobago national to earn the prestigious title of Youth Poet Laureate (2019) under the auspices of Urban Word New York. Two BNV Alumnae have gone on to serve as BNV Festival Future Corps with one of them serving as Slam Coordinator. Four BNV Alumni Team Captains have subsequently coached the ROOTS Kalenda Poets. Trinidad and Tobago’s success at Brave New Voices also include:

  • #iTooAmAmerica Contest Winner (2016)
  • Coal + Ice Competition Winner (2017)
  • MC Olympics 2nd Place (2018)
  • Slam Bout Host (2020)


1st – Muhammad Luqman Abdul-Latif
2nd – Anisah Hassan
3rd – Latifah Razzaq
People’s Choice – Dinneka Richards

1st – Askala Sanjua George
2nd – Yuri Jean-Marie & Idress Saleem 
3rd Aisha Perry
People’s Choice – Yuri Jean-Marie

1st – Maria Hunte
2nd – Jabari Lynch
3rd – Justin McKenzie
People’s Choice – Maria Hunte

1st – Dasia Edwards
2nd – Kwesi Shade
3rd – Brendon O’Brien
People’s Choice – Dasia Edwards

1st – Amaris Noray
2nd – Ray Clarke
3rd – Jewel Massiah
People’s Choice – Jewel Massiah

1st – Ray Clarke
2nd – Joshua Hinds
3rd – Brandon Butcher
People’s Choice – Ray Clarke

1st – Mishael Henry
2nd – Jabari Collins
3rd – Ashley Warwick
People’s Choice – Mishael Henry

The inaugural ROOTS Poetry Slam was a success as it created an opportunity for:

  • ROOTS Foundation to partner with Arts in Action to participate at the 11th annual Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival in Washington DC, hosted by Youth Speaks Inc.
  • ROOTS Foundation to build networks with The Poets Society of Trinidad and Tobago
  • ROOTS Foundation build networks with the Islamic Broadcast Network (IBN) – who hosted the Semi Finals Live,
  • ROOTS Foundation to also net work with Inspirator International (Jamaica) – who authorized ROOTS Foundation to re-print and distribute copies of the book “Creative Energy”.

ROOTS Poetry Slam also opened doors for ROOTS Foundation to build relationships with local print and electronic media.

BNV Showcase
I Have Something to Say 2022 -Poetry Slam Winners
BNV Showcase

Under the Patronage of the Trinidad and Tobago Youth Poet Laureate (RPS Winner) and in continued partnership with NALIS, ROOTS Poetry Slam “I Have Something to Say!” provides a platform for children and young poets to use their words to “speak their truths”

ROOTS Foundation is Authorized by Youth Speaks Inc. to hosts a spoken word team at Brave New Voices. ROOTS Kalenda Poets are also Youth Ambassadors (one-year) for ROOTS Foundation and will participate in Cascadoo CNVI Festival of Spoken Word in New York and Port of Spain. The ROOTS Poetry Slam winner will hold the title of the Trinidad and Tobago Youth Poet Laureate.


ROOTS Foundation

  • ❑ 1st 2nd 3rd place winners at ROOTS Poetry Slam
  • ❑ 1st 2nd 3rd place winners at Last Chance Slam
  • ❑ Receipt of ROOTS-BNV Acceptance Letter
  • ❑ Must be between 16-19yrs
  • ❑ Consent Letters for Minors (under 18yrs)
  • ❑ Sign Youth Artist-in-Residence Agreement
  • ❑ *Sign Adult Mentor Agreement
  • ❑ *Sign Interaction with Youth Code of Conduct and Child Safeguarding Policy
  • ❑ Valid Passport and US Visa (not expiring in 6mths)
  • ❑ International Vaccination Card

Youth Speaks

  • ❑ Submission of Team’s Interest Form
  • ❑ Acceptance of Team’s Application
  • ❑ Payment of BNV Registration Fees
  • ❑ 4-6 Competing Poets & 2 Coaches
  • ❑ Must be between 13-19yrs
  • ❑ *Entourage and Chaperones
  • ❑ *Background Check Letters
  • ❑ *Child Abuse Mandated Reporter Training
  • ❑ *Sign Mentors & Coaches Community Guidelines Agreement

Brave New Voices serves as a training platform for participation at ROOTS Foundation’s annual international spoken word festival, Cascadoo Caribbean New Voices International Festival of Spoken Word.

Local poets who have participated at Brave New Voices assume roles as Artist-in-Residence Poets, similar to that of a Festival Future Corps at Brave New Voices.

Explore the Extraordinary: Our BNV Showcase Gallery