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dahlak_leon dahlak_leon

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Dahlak  Writer, performer, musician. Known for features on HBO's Def Poetry Jam. Writer and performer of “Spiritrials”. Currently on tour. CHECK THE NEW SITE:


Looking forward to getting back on the road. Next up: Washington D.C. Check the link in my bio for dates. ✌🏽

New video: “Callin’ Kaepernick” (Poem)

Link to full video and post in bio. “My brother @dre0n1 said he wasn’t watching the Superbowl this year. Might be the only thing I’ve ever heard him talk about protesting. I know if he was touched by the Kaepernick protests, the NFL’s response, and all the blow back that ensued, he probably wasn’t the only one.”

My new website does what hasn’t been done in the 13+ years of my career: clarify what the hell I do. Thanks goes to @fromanchu for the design. I’m super excited about it. Link in the bio. Drop by and leave a comment! More to come!

In order to get a new passport, I have to return my old one. Like, in order to move forward, I got to leave the past behind. Memories gone but not forgotten. Forever in my heart.

“Where were you this weekend?”
“In NY, handling some business at the Public Theater”
“What’s that?”
“The place where ‘Hamilton’ premiered before going to Broadway”

#TBT 🎶 where. in the world was. Dahlak Leon Brathwaite... 🎶

Last night, my friend and peer @gwatsky performed his whole album “X Infinity” with a full band and a string section while screening the cinematic representation of the project. It’s something I have never seen before and may not see again for some time. I drove 6 hours to catch it and back 6 hours and I would do it again. He set the bar. He made me wanna keep doing what we do. I always knew he was brilliant but last night he showed me that the mountaintop is realizing that brilliance and continuing to realize it; that the space and opportunity to do so is worth every bit of the struggle to get there. Thank you. So proud of you. Salute. Go in, Poet!

@alysonstoner and I co-wrote this medley of 2017’s biggest songs to cover the highlights of the year. We recorded the song and shot the video in one day with @acousticjason and @ryanparma. Lots of fun! Check out @alysonstoner bio for link to the full video (...plus she’s really dope!)

@alysonstoner asked me to be apart of an exciting song/video she had in mind. We wrote Sunday, recorded the song and shot the video with @acousticjason and @ryanparma yesterday. She is editing today and releasing tomorrow. The girl can work! And she has a wonderful team behind her. Check it out tomorrow. We had fun!

If you were at OJ's funeral last week, you probably heard me rap a verse I wrote about OJ modeled after "A Life in the Day of Benjamin Andre". I finished the verse, sampled Kendrick Lamar's "Sing About Me", made a song, and created a video with all the footage/photos I have of OJ. (Link to full video in my bio)
Please tag anyone else who might have been at the service or has been affected by the passing of my brother O. I know everyone has a story with OJ, but this is ours. Much love.

Tour Journal, Day 5: If you ever read these things, you might be familiar with how I get in my head on the road. I think my crew can see me struggling. They check up on me. It’s my process. Yesterday, I cured myself by committing to being present for every moment on stage during rehearsal. It worked so well, I tried to take that commitment offstage, into real life, and realized how much easier it is for me to be present as an actor than as a human. Our real lives are not so intentional moment-to-moment. There’s a lot of waiting, a lot of the mundane. I’m still working on it. One trick they teach you as an actor is to listen. And with my crew, as we bullshit and shoot shit and talk shit, I’m trying to zone in, let go of me and my problems and my forecasts, and be present for them as a gift to myself. I can’t do it alone. It’s a solo play...but I can’t do it alone. First show in Pittsburgh in 90 minutes...🤞🏽🙏🏽

Getting in character for my performance of “Spiritrials” at @kstheater in Pittsburgh, PA next week. If you know anyone in the area, please tag them below! Links to tickets on my website (link in bio).

My small part in an AT&T commercial. Wait for it, wait for it... There I am! Lol

Time at home makes me think of times away. Hawaii, Fall 2015 #tbt

I ain’t sentimental bout it
I use to roll down the window and blow indo out it
I use to throw a wish into a liquor fountain
I’ve grown so introverted I ain’t into outings
Les it’s international
Business traveler
How’d going in and out of town
Taking off and touching down
Get me grounded
Guess it’s the ups and downs and
Onwards and upwards bound and
Maybe a bit shut off
But ain’t a bit shut down - Birthday rap #32

Last Fall, @calartscnp gave me the opportunity to work with their students for 12 days to transform “Spiritrials” into an ensemble play. This is part of what we created. They invited me back this year for three weeks and this Wednesday, we’re gonna show how we expanded.

And sometimes I fly out to Portland for a couple days to watch art and do pop up performances at the after party 🤔

Story: This week, I found myself performing excerpts of my play "Spiritrials" in Atlanta at Diversity Symposium on Georgia Tech campus. After the performance, a woman came up to me and told me that she use to do theatre work related to social justice and that it was a dream of hers. Her parents made her stop and told her to pursue law. She did. But seeing me on stage Wednesday, she was fulfilled to know that I was doing the work that she never got the opportunity to do. I woke up this morning, feeling grateful for my life and my work in a way that I haven't felt in such a long time. Thank you thank you thank you.

We see each other at weddings.

"She said 'you know I don't be datin' rappers'
I said I got my SAG card, baby I'm an actor" - Common

How I ended my kids show at Graham Middle School #Dahlaklovedakids

An expression on my face I may have never seen had not someone taken a picture. Thank you @mujaleaxp and company 🙏🏽 #FBF #Spiritrials #Seattle #CDForum

People keep telling me I need to post more and I'm like, "WHYYYYYYYY?!"

Tour Journal, Day...Way Over: "On stage wit the planet in the palm of my hand/ when a brother transform, from anonymous man" I been meaning to write this post for weeks now. It always takes me a while to recover from traveling and this tour proves the rule. Mostly, I just want to thank everybody who helped make the 2017 "Spiritrials" tour a successful and fulfilling adventure. Thank you to Asia Freeman of @bunnellarts, Ruth Wikler-Luker of @boomartspdx, and @sharonnyreewilliams and Suryanka Kalra of Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas for supporting this work, some of you sight unseen. Thank you so much to @jkosato for guiding, backing, and supporting me through this. Special shoutout to my partner-in-trial on stage @diondecibels. Much love to the tour crew Melvign Badiola, Brittany White, and Edgar Miranda, always making sure I got what I need. My director, @campo_santo_fam, your voice is still in my head on stage! Big shoutout to my big brother and director @lookitmbj getting ready to rock Peh-LO-tah at @kennedycenter this week. Thank you to everyone who bought a CD and signed the mailing list! Please stay in touch. I'll be using this summer to build the 2018 "Spiritrials" tour, as well as working with @hiartsnyc and @calartscnp to transform this solo piece into an ensemble play. More soon. Stay tuned. Much love!
Photo Credit: @fresh4life

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