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What’s Up With Alexandria’s Poet Laureate KaNikki Jakarta?

ALEXANDRA, VA – If you are a poetry enthusiast in the area, then it’s likely you’ve heard the name of KaNikki Jakarta. This renowned artist is Alexandria’s first African American Poet Laureate, and has risen to success through her passionate writing and performances.

When asked when she first took interest in writing and poetry, Jakarta responded that “My parents were heavily into poets such as Doctor Seuss and Nikki Giovanni, so poetry has been a huge part of my life from the beginning. I really started getting into it all the way back in third grade, participating in competitions, reciting poetry to my friends, and just allowing poetry to be my means of expressing myself.”

BB&P 1st Mondays on Live Flyer. (Photo Courtesy of KaNikki Jakarta)

As Poet Laureate, Jakarta understands that she has the opportunity to inspire many young artists and writers hoping to pursue successful literature careers. When asked about what advice she would give to aspiring writers and poets, Jakarta recalled her own struggles when she was just starting out. In terms of hurdles that she had to face in her own pursuit, Jakarta said that the biggest thing she had to overcome was gaining recognition. “Many people tend to cling onto popular names and figures, so when I was just starting out, I really had to put myself out there to make a name for myself.”

Despite the hardships of the past year, Jakarta found a way to continue to reach out to her audience through online performances and workshops. “I had to cancel all of my April events, and with April being national poetry month, that was not fun. Since then, I had to go completely virtual, and that’s what I’ve been doing for a year. While the Virtual setting isn’t the same as in person events, being online definitely allows me to reach a larger audience, such as people who are sick, out of town, unable to go out, and other people who wouldn’t be able to attend otherwise.”

A Friendly Game of Slam July 2021 (Photo Courtesy of KaNikki Jakarta)

Now, as things continue to return to normal around the area, so have opportunities for Jakarta’s fans to attend in person performances. However, Jakarta understands that many of her followers still have reservations about the pandemic, or are unable to attend in person events, and continues to hold virtual seminars and performances to continue to give everyone a chance to listen to her work.

“I want the community to know that we’re starting to do things in person,” Jakarta stated, “but I also know that people might be anxious and uncomfortable about attending in-person performances, so I’ll continue to do virtual events, and minimize the available spots to keep up social distancing, and make sure everyone has a means of seeing my work comfortably.”

Listed below are some of Jakarta’s upcoming events for the month of July, both in-person and virtual. Furthermore, KaNikki can be found on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, or on her website at 

Monday, July 5, 2021 – VIRTUAL Open Mic #KaNikkiHarmony under the Busboys and Poets LIVE on Instagram’s Platform 8 pm – 10 pm. Follow Busboys and Poets to watch or participate.

Saturday, July 17, 2021 – VIRTUAL Workshop: WRITE LIKE A WOMAN Networking Workshop.  10 a.m. – noon – LIVE On Zoom. This virtual, interactive workshop invites amateur and professional women writers ages 18 – 100 with a sliding scale donations of $10 – $30. To register, email [email protected]

Saturday, July 17, 2021 – IN PERSON Workshop: Now in its 6th year KaNikki Jakarta presents WRITE LIKE A WOMAN Networking Workshop 1 pm – 3 pm in the lower gallery at The Athenauem 201 Prince Street Alexandria, VA. Inviting a limited capacity for Covid safety, this event invites amateur and professional women writers ages 18 – 100. To register, email [email protected]

Friday, July 23, 2021 – IN-PERSON EVENT: KaNikki Jakarta presents A FRIENDLY GAME OF SLAM, with a limited open mic. Doors open at 7 pm, show starts at 7:30 pm in the Upper Gallery of The Athenauem 201 Prince Street Alexandria, VA. This “friendly” competition invites 10 – 15 poets to compete for a $200 cash prize. $10 to watch, $15 to compete. Provisions for limited capacity to keep the audience at a distance have been put in place to keep attendees safe. Masks are required. To purchase attendee/slammer tickets visit: or email [email protected] 


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