Slam Poet Andre Bradford

National champion slam poet, inspirational speaker, writer, and host Andre Bradford gave a talk to the Suffield Academy community as part of the school’s leadership and chapel programming on December 4.

Bradford who started doing live performance at the age of 15 through his high school’s theater program went on to study acting at the USC School of Theatre before moving to Austin, Texas. There in 2014 he discovered a voice for slam poetry and has since performed his poetry at schools and universities and select venues spanning 13 states and for thousands of people. He is a two-time Austin Poetry Slam Champion, three-time Texas Grand Slam Finalist, and National Group Piece Champion.

His mission is to inspire by bringing awareness to social issues and providing hope to all individuals feeling their struggle is singular. In his own words Bradford says his goal is to create a safe space where real conversations can live and breathe. Of both Jamaican and Mexican descent, his talk and poetic performances centered on human connection and bridging the gaps of race and racism with kindness and empathy.

He noted, “It is pretty obvious there is a lot of brokenness out there—racism, sexism, political divide, and poverty—and I believe that empathy is the golden lacquer we need to start mending our pieces back together to hopefully make something beautiful out of it. Now the other side of empathy is allowing other people to show it to you which requires you to talk about your own broken pieces. My ask of you Suffield is to practice showing the people around you empathy. If you want to change the world around you, you must start by trying to understand the people in it.”

More on Andre Bradford can be found here.