Teaching CV Dasan's Artist CV 

Christopher Massenburg, better known as 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. 

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, worker’s 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, 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 Indy Week (formerly Independent Weekly) for his work in arts and activism. Then in 2015 he was awarded the honor again, the first time in the award's history that happened.

As a curator, Dasan has created his own series of shows and collaborated with local promoters to provide some of the best arts and music events in North Carolina. He has worked with notable festivals such as the Art of Cool Festival and Beats n Bars Festival. He has assisted various institutions in presenting art to the community including area museums, art galleries, colleges and universities, and performing art centers. In addition, Dasan has hosted many poetry, jazz, Hip Hop, and cultural arts events across the state.

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 emcee, Dasan continues to record and release music with other notable emcees, vocalists, and musicians from NC and along the east coast. Dasan has released three full-length books of poetry entitled, The Innovator, Freedom Papers, and Everything Worth Fighting For: An Exploration of Being Black in America. He has released spoken word albums, the two most notable being, The Darkest Eye and Catharsis.

While an Assistant Professor of English at Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, NC, Dasan developed workshops for the English Composition classes 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 was 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 organized colloquiums, speaker series, and conferences. He also coordinated arts programming on campus and advised the campus creative writing organization, Falcon Poetry Club.

Dasan is also an alumni Nasir Jones Fellowship with the Hip Hop Archive at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Research. He scholarly work is focused on art interventions, creative expression, Hip Hop and popular culture. Currently, Dasan is a visiting professor at UNC-Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill and a consultant working with organizations on art-based strategies.



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Oxford American
20th Annual Southern Music Issue (issue 103, Winter 2018)
“Make Me Hot P, Hold Me Down P”
Dasan Ahanu

St. James Encyclopedia of Hip Hop Culture
Ed. Thomas Riggs 
“Bad Boy Records,” “Organized Confusion,” “The Cypher,” “YO!MTV Raps” 
Chris "Dasan Ahanu" Massenburg
St. James Press (ISBN 978-1410380814)

Everything Worth Fighting For: An exploration of being Black in America
published by Flowered Concrete (ISBN 978-0692713426)
get your signed copy! 
Buy at Amazon
Buy at Barnes & Noble
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)

get your signed copy! 

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. 
“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
‚ÄčiUniverse, Incorporated (ISBN 978-1462046447)
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
"Privilege" by Dasan Ahanu
Camino Press (ISBN 978-0979182808)
Buy at Amazon



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NC Governor’s Office
February 13, 2019
North Carolina to Honor African American Artists, Musicians During Black History Month Reception on Thursday 

November 28, 2018
Broadening the Definition of a Hero

Indy Week
March 21, 2018
A Report From the First Weekend of the Bull City Black Theatre Festival 

July 19, 2017
Hip-hop as literature: Durham Scholar Dasan Ahanu returns from Harvard
Tribes Magazine 
Issue 37, Spring 2017
Black Art Don’t Dance No More
Everything Worth Fighting For


The News and Observer
Mar 18, 2017
Religion, Race and Resistance: Two Triangle poets take up the cause

Negus Who Read
“Everything Worth Fighting For” - A Book Review

Aug 12, 2016
Stories with a Heartbeat
Episode 11: How to win a poetry slam


The Independent Weekly
November 18, 2015
Indies Arts Awards: Durham poet Dasan Ahanu uses hip-hop education and action to inspire more work

Clarion Content
July 16, 2015
Interview with Dasan Ahanu about his stunning new spoken word album

WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
July 16, 2015
Building A Black Arts Community In North Carolina

News and Observer
June 27, 2015
On Culture: Why can’t we figure out how to talk about racism?

News and Observer
June 25, 2015
A send-off for Harvard-bound hip-hop master Dasan Ahanu

New Black Man in Exile
May 20, 2015
Left of Black with Dasan Ahanu

WUNC Radio
May 15, 2015
Cultivating a Literary Ecosystem

The Independent Weekly
May 13, 2015
A feast of authors, booksellers and publishers in the Durham debut of the Read Local Book Festival

The Independent Weekly
March 25, 2015
Durham poet Dasan Ahanu named Harvard fellow

The Durham Voice
October 1, 2014
Bull City Slam knits together to win regionals

The Durham Voice
April 10, 2013
Poets look to slam competition

Creative Loafing Charlotte
October 24, 2012
Hip-hop and the Million Man March

Durham Voice
March 25, 2010
Slam Session: Self-Expression through Spoken Word

Indpendent Weekly
July 25, 2007
Durham is becoming a national hotbed for spoken-word poetry

Campus Echo (NCCU)
January 31, 2007
Hip hop summons all

Independent Weekly
June 23, 2004
"Putting Poetry Where his mouth is" 


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Educational Projects 

When The Beat Drops


Art and culture a representative force in our society. It is an outlet for artists and the things they have experienced or are facing. It is also a reflection of the society we live in, for better or worse. We can use art and culture and its artifacts to spark necessary conversations and gain a deeper understanding of the world around us. This project unpacks what Hip Hop and pop culture say to us about the relationships we form and the impact they have. What do they look like when they are healthy? What can happen when they aren’t? What the subtle narratives in the music and videos we interact with regularly and what do show us about us? How can this interrogation raise our awareness and understanding? When it comes to our relationships, what are we choosing to ignore and what do we need to change? Through multimedia presentation and deep discussion we will talk dive into this and more…WHEN THE BEAT DROPS!

Variations of this project address intimate partner violence, rape and sexual assault, healthy sexuality, and issues of consent. This project focuses on college age young adults, but can be adapted for older teens. It can also be presented to adults in partnership with community organizations and initiatives. 

Musical Projects

The Originals: Dasan Ahanu x Tai Allen 

Get two award-winning artists in a room. Add a serious band or just a microphone; then put them in a room full of folks. Have their poetry, rhyming and singing address some personal woes, community challenges, life's beautifuls and the universal wonders found in the modern age...

...Wrap it in the past of the ascended masters Gil Scott-Heron and Oscar Brown, Jr., before adding the original works crafted as next steps in the timeline.

The Originals is both a tribute show and live mixtape. The project focuses on the works and lives of Gil Scott-Heron and Oscar Brown Jr via their poetry and their music. The ascended masters are considered two pioneers in both genres. Their contributions to American culture can be witnessed through conscious rap music, acid jazz, neo-soul, spoken word/performance poetry and any art that promote progressive thinking or action.

Dasan and Tai are both observant students of the giants. Their own career arcs benefit from the lanes the two masters created. So this live mixtape experience is a celebration of the influences of the two masters and a showcase of Dasan and Tai’s additions to a rich artistic tradition. 

Featured at BAM Cafe (Brooklyn Academy of Music), Brooklyn Museum, National Black Writer’s Festival, Blue Note Jazz Club, Beyu Caffe, Durham County Library, and American International College. 

The HeavyLight Experience 

The HeavyLight Experience is a collective of creatives that came together from careers as solo artists, deejays, producers and collaborators. Their fusion of hip-hop, R&B, house, jazz and spoken word, combined with their experience, travels and regional sensibilities takes listeners on a well-rounded musical journey. The group consists of Dasan Ahanu (National radio and television, Poetry Slam Champion, Harvard Fellow, College Professor), Tai Allen (Indie soul artist, music curator, published poet, creative director at Vibe Vixen, Uptown and YRB), producer and MC/Poet Mic El, (Colette, Eric Roberson, Jarrard Anthony), and DJ CEO (Fuse TV’s United States of Hip-Hop, Brooklyn Beer + Wine Festival).

Their first project, resulting from marathon sessions in the studio, is Ocean’s Eleven. The aptly titled EP seamlessly stitches their diverse talents together in a string of songs that’s reminiscent of the Native Tongue collective. 

The Heavy Light Experience Press:

Theatrical Projects 

Black Poetry Theatre 

Founded in 2008 by Church DaPoet and Dasan Ahanu, BPT creates and presents original poetry and spoken word based theatrical productions. Black Poetry Theatre seeks to expand the understanding of spoken word and foster greater appreciation for the power of contemporary poetry by presenting it in traditional theatrical settings, raising cultural awareness through the use of the performing arts and telling necessary stories from within our communities.


Poetry Slam Projects 

Jambalaya Soul Slam & Bull City Slam Team

In 2005, The Jambalaya Soul Slam started at the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham and has been supported by the St. Joseph's Historic Foundation ever since. Each month the slam brings together the best poets in the area to compete for a cash prize and an invitation to Grand Slam Finals where the Bull City Slam Team (BCST) is picked. The Jambalaya Soul Slam also features some of the best poets from across the country each month. The Jambalaya Soul Slam has been highlighted in the News & Observer, Herald Sun, and other media as one of the area's most successful arts programs.

The Bull City Slam Team (BCST) is sponsored by the St. Joseph’s historic foundation and represents the Triangle in regional and national competition each summer. The team has had great success at the Southern Fried poetry slam, an annual festival and competition featuring teams of poets from across the southeast. It is the largest regional poetry slam in the country and is run by Southern Fried Poetry Slam, Incorporated. The team finished second at the 2009 Southern Fried Poetry Slam held in Durham, NC. In 2010 the Bull City Slam Team won the Southern Fried Poetry Slam in Knoxville, TN. In 2014 the team won the Southern Fried Regional Poetry Slam for a second time in Greenville, SC. In 2015 they finished second at the Southern Fried Regional Poetry Slam in Little Rock, AR. In 2018, the BCST finished third at the Southern Fried Poetry Slam in San Antonio, Tx. The team has also had success at the National Poetry Slam (NPS), a national team competition run by Poetry Slam Incorporated and held in cities across the country. The BCST finished 3rd in team finals at the 2010 NPS in St. Paul, MN and second in Group Piece finals at the 2012 NPS in Charlotte, NC. The team has made semi-finals at NPS three times, in 2007, 2010, and 2016. The Team has also had individual representatives make final stage at the Individual World Poetry Slam (IWPS) and Women of the World Poetry Slam (WOWPS); both events are also run annually by Poetry Slam Incorporated.  

BCST members are chosen each year through participation in the Jambalaya Soul Slam, a monthly poetry slam series held at the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham, NC. The members also participate in other creative writing and performance programming at the Hayti Heritage Center throughout the year. They help facilitate community programs with local partners through the foundation. One of the goals of the slam and the team is to not only be a representative for the community but also an active participant in the community. 



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



Hip Hop Lyricism | Cultural Arts as an Alternative | Art's Activism | Hip Hop Education | The Art of Spoken Word | Black Influence in Pop Culture | Narratives of Identity in Pop Culture | The Reach of Rap Music & Hip Hop Culture | Courageous Creative Expression | Wonderment, Discovery, and the Developing Writer | Healing & the Arts 


Documentary Writing | Poetry & Performance | Playwriting | Poetry Slam | Fostering Engagement Through the Arts


Trauma Informed Art Interventions | Effective Arts Programming | Art as a Tool for Social Justice | Integrating Pop Culture in the Classroom | Hip Hop Based Pedagogy | Facilitating Growth in Writers | Masculinity, Manhoo, and #MeToo (faculty and staff) | When Healthy Manhood Goes Pop: How to Engage Men (faculty, staff, and service providers) 

*Residencies are specially designed in collaboration with the institution based on goals and expected outcomes. 


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June 1
Featured Artist
Chenae Eckerd Book Release/Small Business Showcase
Millennium Revival Center
6638 Old Wake Forest Rd
Raleigh, NC

June 5-9
Various Times
Southern Fried Poetry Slam
Fayetteville, NC

June 20-23
Curator & Facilitator
Various Times
Young Advocates Institute
Greensboro, NC

July 6
Featured Artist
Peace to the Revolution
Hayti Heritage Center
Durham, NC

July 8
Featured Speaker
Duke Young Writer’s Camp
Duke University
Durham, NC

July 13
Featured Artist
Al Strong and the 99 Brass Band
PineCone - Piedmont Council of Traditional Music
Sertoma Amphitheater at Bond Park
801 High House Rd
Cary, NC

July 18
Featured Artist
The Originals: Gil Scott Heron and Oscar Brown Jr
Dasan Ahanu x Tai Allen
NorthStar Church of the Arts
220 W Geer St
Durham, NC

July 20
Featured Artist
Rhymes & Revolution Open Mic
The W on Elm
324 S Elm St
Greensboro, NC

July 25
Pull Up @ Provident 1898
Provident 1898
411 W Chapel Hill St
Durham, NC

July 30, August 1
Creative Writing Workshop
Blue Ribbon Summer Writing Institute

August 8
Winston Salem State University
Winston Salem, NC

August 15
Creative Writing Workshop
North Phillips School of Innovation
Rocky Mount Mills
Rocky Mount, NC

August 22
Featured Artist
Sweet Tea Tour (Ashlee Haze, DJ Queen Sheba X, Theresa Tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D.)
Hayti Heritage Center
804 Old Fayetteville St
Durham, NC

August 29-30
Facilitator & Artist
NC Sexcon
Raleigh, NC

August 31 - September 1
Village Tent
African American Cultural Festival
Raleigh, NC

September 9-11
Black Communities Conference
Carolina Theatre
Durham, NC

September 14
Featured Artist
Southbound Sit and Chat
Power Plant Gallery
American Tobacco Campus
Durham, NC

September 15 
Noon - 3:00pm
Carrack Modern Art Gallery
947 E Main St
Durham, NC 27701

September 20
5pm - 7pm
Breaking Through the Constructs: Poetry and Lyricism
Imurj - The Artists' Cafe
300 S McDowell St
Raleigh, North Carolina 27601
$5 Imurj Artist members | $10 Non-Members

September 24 
10am and 2pm
When the Beat Drops workshop
Sandhills Community College
Pinehurst, NC

September 25
11am and 4pm 
When the Beat Drops workshop
Central Carolina Community College
Pinehurst, NC

October 4
Featured Artist
8:00 - 10:30pm
Art Meets Life
The Sweet Palette
101 Person St
Fayetteville, NC 28301

October 5
Featured Artist
8:00pm - 11:00pm
Brown Sugar 4: A Tribute to Hip Hop!
The Dream Factory Performing Arts Center
1005 Hamilton Dr. Suite B
Greenville, NC 27858

October 15-17
Creative Writing Workshops
Central Carolina Community College
Various Sites

November 15
Featured Speaker
5:30 - 6:30pm
Happy Hour Speaker Series
Vert & Vogue
353 W Main St
Durham, NC

November 16
Featured Artist
Inkspired: YEAR ONE
Raleigh Convention Center 
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, North Carolina 27601

November 23
Featured Artist
Oak Ridge, TN

December 11-15
Featured Speaker
Exit 36 Slam Poetry Festival
Pompano Beach, FL

Recurring Events

3rd Saturdays 
Host and Founder
Jambalaya Soul Slam
Hayti Heritage Center
804 Old Fayetteville St, Durham, NC 
Click for more info

2nd Mondays 
Facilitator and Coordinator
Jambalaya Soul Slam Academy - Writing and Performance Workshops
Hayti Heritage Center
804 Old Fayetteville St, Durham, NC
Click for more info

City Soul Cafe Open Mic
Noir Bar & Lounge
425 Glenwood Ave
Raleigh, NC
Click for more info 



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Guest Appearances 

FAOA 2019

The Flow 2019
The Voyage
Time-EP (Hip Hop) 

JSwiss 2018 
“Famous” ft Marcus Machado
Famous (Hip Hop) 

Tai Allen 2017 
No Jewels (Soul/Hip Hop)

Defacto Thezpian 2017
“Hey Stranger”
Burgundyskylines (Hip Hop) 

Cyrano Sinatra/Sharp Cuts 2016
“Osso Buco”
Good Eats (Hip Hop)

Zoocrü 2016
“Remtro, Pt. 1” & “Remtro, Pt. 2”
Lücid (Jazz)

St. Nickel 2015
“Young Blood”
Rebirthday (Hip Hop)

Ramonee Entonio 2015
“#BlackLivesMatter” ft. Justin Alexander

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) 

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  

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

L.E.G.A.C.Y. 2007
“110th Street” ft. Dasan Ahanu
Rawkus 50 Presents L.E.G.A.C.Y. 

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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