Deadline is July 13 for National Civil Rights Museum’s Annual ‘Drop the Mic’ Poetry Slam


The National Civil Rights Museum is inviting young poets and spoken word artists nationwide to use poetry for activism by qualifying to compete in its 5th Annual Drop the Mic Poetry Slam on Saturday, August 18, 2018 at 4pm.

The deadline for spoken word artists ages 14-35 to submit a performance video of their original spoken word piece is Friday, July 13.

Qualifying poets and spoken word artists in the age categories of 14-17, 18-25 and 26-35 will compete for three top cash prizes: $1,500 first place, $1,000 second place, and $750 third place in each age group. The poets will be judged on content, orginality, audience engagement, overall performance quality and their work’s adherence to the theme “Freedom Forward.”

Poets can unapologetically use their art as activism to address questions like:

• “In today’s climate, what does it mean to be free?”

• “How is our freedom threatened or denied.”

• “How do we take back our rights?”

• “How do we push Freedom Forward for others?”

“The Drop the Mic Poetry Slam has served to give a creative platform for artists through their poetry,” said Faith Morris, chief marketing and external affairs officer, National Civil Rights Museum.

“It’s one of the most extraordinary experiences seeing the original works of young poets expressing their sentiments on prevailing issues and activism through art.”

With so many Americans feeling as if they aren’t heard or won’t be heard, the Drop The Mic Poetry Symposium and Slam “gives them an opportunity to express their freedom of speech in a constructive manner,” said Ed Mabrey, four-time Individual World Poetry Slam Champion and event performer/workshop facilitator.

“What does it mean to be free, is my freedom threatened and, most importantly, how do we push freedom forward for others are relevant questions the attendees and poets are being asked and answering. I think America should tune in and discover what its 14-35 years of age citizens have to say. The workshops will equip attendees to be better artists.  The slam equips us to be better communicators.”

Carin Malone, one of the 2017 grand prize winners, said, “The Drop the Mic Poetry Slam is important for the community because it offers an additional platform for poets across the world to showcase their gifts. Winning the Drop the Mic Poetry Slam has allowed my name to go down in history for doing something I really love and that’s being a positive voice and representation for Memphis.”

To qualify as a slam contestant, each entrant must submit a YouTube or Vimeo video link in an online entry form by July 13. Videos should be no longer than 2.5 minutes or be disqualified. Only one entry per person will be considered.

To win, the top finalists must perform in front of a panel of judges during the slam on Saturday, August 18, 4 pm at the historic Paradise Entertainment Center.  For more information and to enter, visit the museum’s Drop the Mic webpage.

(The hashtags for the 5th Annual Drop the Mic Poetry Slam #NCRMDropTheMic and #FreedomForward. Social media shares and posts are encouraged.  For more information, visit