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Baton Rouge native Donney Rose is a Maryland-based performance poet, advocacy journalist, and teaching artist. He is the creator of THE AMERICAN AUDIT, a suite of multi-media spoken word projects that examines the Black American experience by infusing history, creative verse, and qualitative research into the performance text. His work, which spans two decades on stages and in classrooms, guides others in their creative journeys and brings nuanced and colorful perspectives through the medium of spoken word and other creative outlets.
Donney’s performance poetry career began at the Smith-Brown Memorial Student Union on the campus of Southern University and A&M College when he was a student pursuing his Bachelor of Science in Marketing. As a performance poet, Donney has graced stages across the country and stacked up a multitude of accolades, but none more important than learning the power of his voice and how he could use it to encourage others to seek that same authority in their own words. As he matriculated through the early stages of his national poetry career, Donney was offered the incredible opportunity to serve in his hometown as a teaching artist in creative writing. He has worked with groups from elementary-aged children to senior citizens focusing on the gift of confidence and culture-shifting through the spoken and written word. While his experience has allowed him the chance to work across generations, he holds a steadfast belief in cultivating the power of the youth voice.
All of Donney’s work mirrors his life ideology that everyone is entitled to uncompromised freedom and unlimited access to whatever they need to live their highest quality of life. He believes that when that becomes everyone’s reality, all the societal dilemmas that plague us will cease to exist. It is through this lens that he hones his skills across a variety of platforms and access points. As a cultural critic, he seeks to examine the nuances of Blackness via arts, entertainment, politics, and social justice advocacy. He spent more than two years working as an advocacy journalist and leading editorial for a national digital media platform where he worked to amplify the narratives of Black and other marginalized people whose stories often go untold or misrepresented. His writing mantra is to tell it how it is and how it should be. This also applies to his deep investment in community.
As a community event organizer and host, Donney has created longstanding and impactful projects, including the Black Out Loud Conference, among other principled programming. He is a seasoned moderator of issue-based dialogues who believes in the social impact of people gathering to exchange ideas and culture. This paradigm-shifting mentality led him to develop THE AMERICAN AUDIT, which kicked off in 2020 as a singular multimedia spoken word project detailing 400 years of Black American life using the extended metaphor of America as a business being audited. After opening with much success, Donney expanded the brand to include more projects, like his current work BLOOD ON THE BLUFF, a poetic re-telling of the 1972 state-sanctioned murders of Southern University students Denver Smith and Leonard Brown, for whom the aforementioned student union is named after. Overall, Donney infuses his good nature, insight, and analytical mindset into everything he does.
Donney’s work as a performance poet and organizer has been featured in a variety of publications, including Atlanta Black Star, Blavity, Button Poetry, All Def Digital, Slam Find, Mocking Heart Review, University of New Orleans’ Bayou Magazine, and Nicholls State University's Gris-Gris literary journal, BBC, Democracy Now, The New York Times and The Baton Rouge Advocate. He is a past Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow, a former Baton Rouge Business Report Forty Under 40 honoree, and a recipient of the 2022 Maryland State Arts Council Independent Artist Award for Literary Arts, among countless other noteworthy accomplishments in arts and community organizing.
Donney is available for freelance and contract hire in all of the aforementioned capacities.