On Monday, July 11th, over 350 people gathered to witness the San Diego Poetry Slam “Battle for San Diego” at Queen Bee’s Art and Cultural Center in North Park. The poetry competition featured the San Diego Slam Team, the Hollywood Team (Da Poetry Lounge), Mira Costa College, and the San Diego Developmental Team.

Five random judges were selected from the audience and scored poems performed by the teams on a scale of zero to ten using decimals to prevent a tie. The top cumulative scores after four rounds of performances determined the winner. The San Diego Slam Team won the competition after toping the Hollywood team by .1 points.

The event was mainly an opportunity for the team to practice for the national competition taking place in Decatur, Georgia the first week of August. The San Diego team will compete against other teams from around the world.

Meet the San Diego Slam Team:
Amen Ra

Amen Ra is a spoken word artist from Fayetteville, North Carolina. His artistry focuses on themes of spiritual awakening, enlightenment, personal narrative and Ancient Egypt. Ra is passionate about community and raising the consciousness of the world to its highest so we can create heaven on Earth right now.

Anita D

Anita D was born and raised in Brockton, Massachusetts. She began writing after being introduced to poetry in her 10th grade English class. After moving to San Diego in 2013, she stumbled into North park and participated in her first slam. Over the next three years she dedicated her time and effort into the craft. She has performed at venues all over San Diego and has been featured on Russell Simmons’ All Def Poetry.

Cole Lawson

Cole Lawson was born and raised in Los Angeles, and served as a Navy Corpsman. She’s written poetry for over seven years and writes to heal herself and to help others heal from their trauma. She also uses her platform to speak and raise awareness on social injustices.

Natasha Hooper

Natasha Hooper is a spoken word artist from Texas. Her love for the arts has always been strong, but her passion for spoken word poetry outweighs all others and continues to grow by the day. Natasha has involved herself in poetry events and venues throughout the nation, recently performing with Jasmine Mans at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C. and also competing in the Women of the World Poetry Slam in Brooklyn. She also holds the record in San Diego, CA for most consecutive slam wins. Natasha showcases her inner activist and her love for people in her poems and hopes to impact as many lives as she can with her words. Her ultimate goal is to be a voice in a generation that is prone to silence and to bring about awareness and positive change to social issues.

Rudy Francisco

Rudy Francisco is a Southeast San Diego native and coach of the San Diego Slam Team. Rudy is a seasoned poet and one of the most recognized artists in the genre. He is the only slam poet to win both an Underground and Individual World Championship title. Rudy tours colleges and other venues nationally/internationally performing his pieces as a full time profession.

The team will host a send-off show at Al Reef Mediterranean Restaurant (2835 University Ave) on Friday, July 29th at 8pm to showcase the poems they will take to nationals.