Known for an indomitable stage presence and voice that belies her appearance, Aja Monet is one of the most accomplished and respected poets within the community. She was a member of the first youth team from NYC to win the Brave New Voices Youth National Poetry slam. At the age of 19, Aja Monet became the youngest individual to ever win the legendary Nuyorican Poets Café grand slam champion title (2007), ranking top 20 in the National Poetry Slam and 5th in the nation as part of the Nuyorican slam team within the same year. In 2008, Aja Monet was on the Hollywood Slam team at Da Poetry Lounge in Los Angeles, CA. She has performed at the NAACP Pre-Inauguration Event for Barack Obama. She has performed On-Broadway at the Town Hall theatre, the Apollo theatre, the Nuyorican Poets Café, Bowery Poetry Club, B.B. Kings, The Schomburg Center of Harlem, and various college campuses, public parks and theatres around the United States, France, and in Bermuda. Often received by both poetry and Hip Hop crowds, Aja Monet has shared the stage with incredible poets Amiri Baraka, Ntozake Shange, and countless others.
For six years, Aja Monet has served as a youth mentor, poetry mentor, and poetry slam coach (2009) for Urban Word NYC, working with at-risk youth in inner-city New York and has for three years worked with Odyssey House as poetry/performance program coordinator, teacher, and mentor. Additionally, using poetry as a therapeutic art form, she teaches summers at Omega Institute, a center for holistic studies in Rhinebeck, NY. She’s a board member of Poetic Justice non profit at Lawrence Road Middle School in Uniondale, NY.
Aja Monet’s poems have appeared in the NY Times (April 2007) and in television programs as far away as Germany and Australia (2008, 09). Aja received a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA in Creative Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She independently published her first book of poetry, The Black Unicorn Sings (Penmanship books, 2010) and collaborated with poet/musician Saul Williams on the book Chorus: a literary mixtape (MTV books/Simon&Schuster, 2012). Her first CD Scared To Make Love/Scared Not To, a testament to her creative lens and a social commentary on the discussion of love, was independently released through Bandcamp. Aja Monet is currently working on a book of science-fiction and a new music project.