Teaching CV Dasan's Artist CV

Christopher Massenburg, better known as Dasan Ahanu, is a public speaker, organizer, workshop facilitator, poet, spoken word performer, educator, songwriter, writer, emcee, and loyal Hip Hop head born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. In addition to performing, Dasan has hosted many poetry, jazz, Hip Hop, and cultural arts events across the state. He is one of the founders of Black Poetry Theatre (BPT) where he has been a writer, director, producer, and cast member for their 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.

Believing that “with great talent comes great responsibility,” Dasan has also used his skill and resources to aid in developing the community and further social change. He has worked as an organizer on such issues as war, social injustice, workers rights, domestic violence and sexual assault; planned and facilitated community programs for Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies; conducted creative writing and performance workshops at middle schools, high schools, and colleges throughout North Carolina; and spent time working with at-risk/court-involved youth. Dasan has been a speaker or workshop facilitator at a number of notable conferences and symposiums. In addition to advocating for further support of poetry and spoken word programming, he has spoken on topics such as the impact of cultural arts programming, the arts and social justice, Hip Hop culture, Hip Hop pedagogy, and the arts as a tool for literacy. As a resident artist with the St, Joseph’s Historic Foundation/Hayti Heritage Center in Durham, NC he has developed poetry and spoken word programming for youth and adults and worked to grow the Triangle’s arts community. In 2004 he was awarded an Indy Arts Award by Independent Weekly Magazine for his work in arts and activism.

Dasan has created his own series of shows and collaborated with local promoters to provide some of the best arts and music events in NC. His work has been featured on National Public Radio (NPR) where he has been noted for his appearances on “News and Notes with Ed Gordon” and “State of Things with Frank Stacio.” His writing has been featured in online and print publications. He has been showcased on NBC 17 in for his work with poetry slam. He is featured on the third season of Lexus Verses and Flow aired on TV One. He was featured in a documentary entitled, “Poet Son” that aired on WUNC-TV as a part of the North Carolina Visions film series. In 2007 he signed with NC independent record label Amp Truth Records and teamed with up and coming music producer Picasso to form The Jim Crow Jackson Experiment. Their self-titled debut album was an amazing blend of spoken word, rap, soul, reggae, and blues. The album showcased both artists’ unique talents and was released both domestically and internationally. As a songwriter and recording artist, Dasan continues to record and release music with notable emcees, vocalists, and musicians from NC and along the east coast. Dasan has released two full-length books of poetry entitled The Innovator and Freedom Papers and toured with his last two spoken word CDs The Darkest Eye and Catharsis.

While an Assistant Professor of English at Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, NC, Dasan developed workshops and programming for the English Department while also editing the campus literary magazine Inside Out. He has also developed new curriculum for the English Department, Liberal Studies Department, and Honors Program. He has been active in student development as a member of the Freshman Writing Initiative, a grant supported initiative established to foster student success and nurture student writing and critical thinking. He has organized colloquiums, speaker series, and conferences. His academic work is focused on critical writing, creative writing, and popular culture.

Dasan serves as president of the Black Jedi Chapter of the Universal Zulu Nation, a global community organization that also fosters greater cultural awareness of Hip Hop. He is currently a 2015-2016 Nasir Jones Fellow with the Hip Hop Archive at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Research.


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Everything Worth Fighting For: An exploration of being Black in America
published by Flowered Concrete (ISBN 978-0692713426)
Buy at Amazon
Sony Kobo edition  NOOK edition Amazon Kindle edition
Everything Worth Fighting For: an exploration of being Black in America
Freedom Papers 
Dasan Ahanu
HPJ WriteEasy Publishing (ISBN 978-0615598277)

Buy at Barnes & Noble

Buy at Amazon

Freedom Papers

The Secrets for Motivating, Educating, and Lifting the Spirit of African American Males Ernest H. Johnson, Ph.D. 
‚ÄčiUniverse, Incorporated (ISBN 978-1462046447)
“Holla If You Hear Me: Giving Voice to Black Male Youth Through Hip Hop,” Danya Perry, Mervin "Spectac" Jenkins, Patrick "9th Wonder" Douthit, and Chris "Dasan Ahanu" Massenburg 
Buy at Amazon

The Innovator
Dasan Ahanu
HPJ WriteEasy Publishing (ISBN 978-0578051086)
Buy at Barnes & Noble
Buy at Amazon

The Innovator

The Cost of Privilege
Chip Smith
Camino Press (ISBN 978-0979182808)
"Privilege" by Dasan Ahanu
Buy at Amazon



Independent Weekly

June 23, 2004

"Putting Poetry Where his mouth is"



Campus Echo (NCCU)

January 31, 2007

Hip hop summons all



Indpendent Weekly

July 25, 2007

Durham is becoming a national hotbed for spoken-word poetry

carl Kenney



Southeastern Center for Contemporary Arts

February 2009

Rise Up WInston-Salem, Poetry Workshop



WUNC Radio

Friday March 20, 2009



Herald Sun

February 4, 2010

Gil Scott-Heron: Spiritual father of Hip Hop

Cliff Bellamy

pdf click here



March 1, 2010

Release: Dasan Ahanu + Picasso "Jim Crow Jackson Experiment" 



Durham Voice

March 25, 2010

Slam Session: Self-Expression through Spoken Word



News and Observer

April 4, 2010

Poets Competing in National Slam



NBC 17

April 6, 2010

Dasan Ahanu, local poet shares struggles of the stage in new one-man show

pdf click here


NC Arts Everyday

June 10, 2010

Bull City Poetry Team Wins Southern Fried Poetry Slam



The Durham News

August 11, 2010

Slam poets do Durham proud



Herald Sun

January 13, 2011

Black Poetry Theatre expands the meaning of a hero

pdf click here


My Carolina Today (NBC 17)

March 2011

Bull City Slam Team



True Poetics

June 25, 2011




Home in Henderson

February 15, 2012

VGCC Celebrates Black History Month 

pdf click here


Creative Loafing Charlotte

October 24, 2012

Hip-hop and the Million Man March



The Durham Voice

April 10, 2013

Poets look to slam competition



The Durham Voice

October 1, 2014

Bull City Slam knits together to win regionals



The Independent Weekly

March 25, 2015

Durham poet Dasan Ahanu named Harvard fellow



The Root TV

May 7, 2015

Left of Black with Dasan Ahanu



The Independent Weekly

May 13, 2015

A feast of authors, booksellers and publishers in the Durham debut of the Read Local Book Festival



New Black Man in Exile

May 20, 2015

Left of Black with Dasan Ahanu



News and Observer

June 25, 2015

A send-off for Harvard-bound hip-hop master Dasan Ahanu



News and Observer

June 27, 2015

On Culture: Why can’t we figure out how to talk about racism?



Oak City Hustle

July 1, 2015

Dasan Ahanu – Tall Ambition



WUNC North Carolina Public Radio

July 16, 2015

Building A Black Arts Community In North Carolina



Clarion Content

July 16, 2015




The Independent Weekly

November 18, 2015

Indies Arts Awards: Durham poet Dasan Ahanu uses hip-hop education and action to inspire more work



Northeastern University Media and Screen Studies

November 18, 2015

Dasan Ahanu Presents “Shots Fired! Examining Hip-Hops Lyrical Canon”



ArtsNow NC

February 22, 2016

Snapshots: Spoken Word and Dance at The Durham Hotel





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Oak Drive Productions - Sandra Jacobi

“Poet Son” 2006



The Voice 90.1 (Greensboro, NC)

The Poetry Café 2013


TMIC Radio

Lyrical Cypher Show 2013

Featured Artist


WXRP Radio

Conscious Groove 2013

Featured Artist


WCOM 103.5 FM (Carrboro, NC)

The EP: Extraordinary Penmanship 2007-2009




News and Notes with Ed Gordon 2005-2006

Featured Artist

"Brown Bag Daddy" http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4666198

"Blood" http://www.wbur.org/npr/4582614/poets-corner-blood-by-dasan-ahanu  "Pens" http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4986188

"Can I" http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5430243 


WUNC 91.5 FM (Durham, NC)

The State of Things 2004

Featured Artist




Black Issues Forum

Featured Artist



TV One

Lexus Verses and Flow 2013

Season 3, Episode 10

Featured Artist



Polished Souls & CotLu films

Stray 2011




FOX 50

The B Spot with Bryan Dawson 2011

Featured Artist



My Carolina Today 2011



North Carolina Visions: An Independent Film Series 2008

Documentary feature


My RDC28,

Brand Newz 2007

Featured Artist




St. Nickel 2015

“Young Blood”

Rebirthday (Hip Hop)



NC Music Love Army 2014

“Train Coming”

Train Coming (Alternative)



NC Music Love Army 2014

“Get Free”

We Are Not for Sale: Songs of Protest by the NC Music Love Army (Alternative)



Major Green 2014

“One Day”

Board the Plane (Hip Hop)



JSwiss 2014

“Karma feat Karen Bernod”




Descendent 2014

“Road to the Future”

Road to Greatness: Journey of a Lost Soul (Hip Hop) http://descendent.bandcamp.com/album/road-to-greatness-journey-of-a-lost-soul


HeavyLight 2014

“Hyper” “Canned Soul Food”

Oceans 11 EP (Hip Hop/Soul)



Swayze 2014

“Intro” and “Outro”

Swayze Nation (Hip Hop)

Swayze Jones/D.R.S. Productions/G.H.S.L.



Eternal 2014

“Lift Me Up”

Age Of Eternal EP (Hip Hop)



Skyblew 2013

“Running in Place” ft. Dasan Ahanu & Sarah Kaboom (video)

Window Seat On That Midnight Train



Skyblew 2013

“Running in Place” ft. Dasan Ahanu & Sarah Kaboom

Window Seat On That Midnight Train



AMSOC 2013

"Tit4Tat" ft. Dasan Ahanu

Background Check 2



Kaze 2013

“Underground Railroad” ft. Dasan Ahanu (video)

Black Kennedy



Seven da Pantha 2013

“Y Lie?” ft. Dasan Ahanu

Halo Graphik



Kaze 2013

"Underground Railroad" ft. Dasan Ahanu

Black Kennedy



B. $tack$ 2013

"City of Medicine" ft. Dasan Ahanu

Root of All Evil



Team Madison 2013

"Swine Merchant Intro" ft. Dasan Ahanu

Swine Merchant



Kouvossier 2012

Fear of Progress Intro" ft. Dasan Ahanu

Fear of Progress EP



Khill 2011

”Declaration of an Independent”  ft. Dasan Ahanu (video)



Azon Blaze 2011

”Verbal Vision” ft. Jabee and Dasan Ahanu

Back to School Vol. 2 



The Jake 2011

”The Dreamer” ft. Lazarus and Dasan Ahanu

Dream Season 




Free Agent Jasun 2011

”Man's World” ft. Dasan Ahanu

The Stop Look Listen Project 




24/7 Entertainment Group (Chedda Chap) 2011 

”The Written Method” ft. Dasan Ahanu

Masters of Ceremony



Diablo Archer 2010 

”Everyday Hero (Remix)” ft. Median, Edgar Allen Floe, Khill, and Dasan Ahanu 

I Fly Archer



Elion the Great 2010

”Poetic License” ft. Dasan Ahanu

The Elion Show 2 



Red Sky Lullaby 2009

”Love Sick” ft. Kalu James and Dasan Ahanu  http://www.thesixtyone.com/s/TVym6j7l1nX/    


L.E.G.A.C.Y. 2009 

”The Greatest” ft. Dasan Ahanu

Suicide Music  



Diablo Archer 2008

”Fear of Flying” ft. Dasan Ahanu

Icarus Complex



Clutch Player 2007 

”Proper Introduction” ft. Dasan Ahanu

Atlantic Connection All Stars  



Diablo Archer 2007 

”Get Known” ft. Khill and Dasan Ahanu

Wakeup Call   


Grindin Records 2007 

Dasan Ahanu ”Ordinary Guy” and ”It's So Good”

Grindin Vol 1 (Mixed by Mr. Thing)




Chedda Chapp 2006

”The Next Chappter” ft. Dasan Ahanu

The Next Chappter



HipHopSite.com Recordings 2006 

”The Worst” ft. Khill and Dasan Ahanu

Preemptive Hype Vol. 14 


DJ Chela 2004 

”Invisible Man” ft. Dasan Ahanu

DJ Chela 4 President


Resonated Records 2004 

Dasan Ahanu ”Flowing into this Mic”

Locally Respected Vol 1



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*Inquiry and Booking can be done through the contact page on this website.

"Shots Fired: Examining Hip Hop's Lyrical Cannon" explores the artistry of Hip Hop’s lyricists, the qualities that define an emcee, and the role of lyricism today. The lecture focuses on what it means to be a lyricist, what function that role plays in Hip Hop, and why it is important to look at lyricism as a canon. It pushes the audience to think about about canon in a way that isn’t reliant on particular artists or particular songs. It also seeks to show how lyricism continues to hold it’s place in Hip Hop today (in the underground, in commercial music, in battle rap, and in spoken word). Based on reasearch done as the Nasir Jones Fellow with Hip Hop Archive and Research Institute at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.


“Cultural Arts as an Alternative” addresses the need for greater support of arts based programs. It notes the impact of pop culture and sub-culture on today's youth. With Hip Hop as a prime example, it is evident how much cultural identity means to today's generation. Understanding and embracing this reality opens us up to new ways of empowering young people using “voice” as a vehicle for self expression. Bridging gaps, combating commercialism, materialism, and commodification by providing history and context, and fostering learning and literacy are all possible outcomes. In facilitated workshops for SCALE, The Teaching Fellows Program at UNC, Duke University’s Literacy Through Photography Program, the St. Joseph’s Historic Foundation/Hayti Heritage Center, and other organizations I have stressed the potential of creative writing and other arts as an alternative for drugs, alcohol, and illiteracy. The arts have always been a powerful tool and today's youth need to be equipped with it. Through the arts they can develop a passion for knowledge, a thirst for learning, leadership skills, confidence, critical thinking skills, and the ability to express their thoughts and ideas.


“The 4 Elements of Hip Hop Education” focuses on the use of Hip Hop Culture and its impact as a teaching tool in the classroom. In the session, we will analyze and discuss various ways of using Hip Hop in the classroom, models and approaches to integrating Hip Hop into curriculum, interdisciplinary approaches to lesson creation, and tactics for research gathering and use of information. This session hopes to give its participants a new perspective on Hip Hop as pedagogy and empower educators to use Hip Hop as a teaching tool. When completed, each participant should have an understanding of the four elements to Hip Hop Education.


“The Power of Poetry/Art of Spoken Word” recognizes that poetry is a powerfully expressive art form. From Robert Frost to Black Ice, poetry has been a way for emotions, thoughts, ideas, and insights to be shared. The words are not just confined to the page. Venues across the country provide space for poets to share their poetry on stage at coffee house sets and open mics. The performance of poetry is called Spoken Word. It’s an art form that has grown in popularity due to movies like Slam and Love Jones, television programs like Def Poetry Jam and BET’s Lyric Café, and events like the National Poetry Slam and Brave New Voices. This session talks about new movements in poetry and spoken word, the way that both can empower youth, and the way writing and performance can enhance learning and literacy. The session will include a performance.


“The Popular Classroom: Integrating Popular Culture” focuses on strategies for utilizing Popular Culture in the classroom. During the session, participants will be introduced to and discuss various ways of using popular culture as a teaching tool, models and approaches to integrating popular culture into curriculum, interdisciplinary approaches to lesson creation, and tactics for research gathering and use of information. The goal of the session is to encourage the use of popular culture as a way of fostering critical thinking and increasing student engagement in writing assignments. Participants will be introduced to a methodology of analysis that can aid in lesson planning.


“Look at Me Now: Uncovering the Subtle Narratives about Identity in Popular Culture” examines the subtle narratives about identity that exists in popular culture today. Highlighted in social media, music, art, and the poems of today’s generation of wordsmiths, there is an ongoing dialogue about roles, tradition, perceptions of masculinity and femininity, and culture being had across the globe. What is being said? What can we learn? How does it impact academic discourse? We will not only discuss these narratives, but will also engage in activities that will highlight the audience’s own stories.


“Yes, Yes, Y’all: Understanding the reach of Rap Music and Hip Hop Culture today” looks at how the culture of Hip Hop has become a phenomenon that has expanded its reach across the globe. It has impact in entertainment, fashion, politics, and now education. Rap Music has become its most valuable commodity. A major facet of mass culture, Rap Music has galvanized youth, corporations, and scholars alike. This talk analyzes the impact that Hip Hop and Rap Music is having and what it means for scholars and faculty today. The discussion will focus the growth of Hip Hop and Rap Music as precious capital.


“A Pen in Wonderland: Wonderment, discovery, and the developing writer” takes a look at the process of writing and my experiences in mentoring and teaching young writers. How do we empower writers to take control of their writing? How do we foster an appreciation of process? How do we expand their thinking in ways that offer them the greatest breadth of possibility? I believe the answer is in valuing wonderment and instilling and nurturing a sense of discovery. Filled with anecdotes and theory, this talk is for writers and writing educators alike. 


“The Green Lantern Effect: Courageous Creative Expression” looks at what it means to be an artist? How do you sustain your passion in the face of obstacles? How do you gain the confidence and self assurance to share your creativity with the world? This talk focuses on the importance of courage in being an artist and what it means to be vulnerable in order to serve your purpose. This is explained through the frame of the Green Lantern and the Green Lantern Corps, guardians of the universe. 


“The Art of Spoken Word” looks at the growth of the art of performance poetry. It can be emotional, inspirational, educational, and as creative and expressive as your imagination. It can also be a tool for healing and growth. This talk examines how poets put their thoughts and ideas down on paper and how they make them live on stage. Participants will be exposed to various poets and their poems. It includes a performance by the presenter. 


Documentary Writing/Creative Nonfiction Writing Workshop:


“A World of Words: Writing from a Documentary Perspective.” Writing is more than just text on a page. It is as creative and expressive as your imagination. When you think of documentary work, do you think of creative writing? Do you write, work with photos, video, audio, or are you new to documentary work? In this workshop, we will discuss the different ways writing can be used as a documentary tool. From oral histories and narratives to poetry, this course examines the possibilities of including creative writing and other forms of written expression to convey your ideas. We’ll discuss the development of stories from images and explore a nonlinear approach to storytelling. We will examine how to convey your work to others, from visual presentation to performance. Regardless of your background, you will find new uses for writing in documentary work. You will also gain insight on how to complete work that may be presented individually or included in an ongoing documentary project.


Poetry Writing and Performance Workshop:


“The Happening.” A poetry writing and performance workshop that seeks to encourage and foster creative expression through spoken word. This workshop examines how to put your thoughts and ideas down on paper and how to make them live on stage. Participants will engage in writing activities that will broaden their approach to writing while giving them tools to use when developing their ideas. They will be introduced to various techniques and literary devices and will examine models from poets across generations. The participants will also engage in performance activities. These activities will help each participant to bring their poems to life on stage. The Happening is an opportunity for networking, growth, and development for anyone who has a message they want to deliver and ideas they want to put on the page. The only requirement is enthusiasm, an open mind, willingness to learn, and a love of words.


What is the history of Happenings? In the late 1950's, Allan Kaprow gave the name "Happening" to his unique events that were shaped by audience participation. Body movements, recorded sounds, spoken texts, and even smells could be an artist's materials. A Happening is an unfolding narrative, juxtaposing people, objects and events to create unexpected interactions. (http://www.britannica.com/art/Happening)


Why The Happening? This workshop is called “The Happening” because it incorporates everything the writer comes into the workshop with to craft poetry. In order to improve performance each participant is encouraged to consider aspects of self, space, and audience. These aspects are analyzed, examined, and discussed. The workshop itself is a happening. It is an unfolding narrative that each participant will write as they explore their own voice and approaches to crafting poems. Their interactions will give each participant multiple lenses to see an idea through. Through a variety of activities the participants are sparked to create and to believe that the best muse is “real” life. They will find that writer’s block is a covert conspiracy by the establishment and rebellion is with a pen.


What Happens After? The workshop will conclude with a reading highlighting new or already completed works by the participants. This allows them to utilize the tools developed and approaches discussed during the workshop. Participants will be encouraged to share, but not required. This also includes a performance by the facilitator.


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