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Beyond Expectations: “Women of Color”

Join EMOC for a intimate and impactful Beyond Expectations: “Women of Color” Women of color from various backgrounds will share their power stories about their lives and relationships with men of color. We will be joined by Aja Dantzler, of Kindred the Family Soul our celebrity storyteller, Stephanie Reene of WURD, Nikki Lopez the Executive Director of GALAEI, and a few more powerful women! Don’t miss this free event.

EMOC BEyond Expectations: Legendary!

The Engaging Males of Color (EMOC) initiative presents Legendary!, the fifth event of our BEyond Expectations series designed to raise awareness around maintaining mental health and wellness for men and boys of color. This event will feature inspiring personal stories of LGBTQIA males of color who deal with issues such as abandonment, depression, and living with HIV, through the art of vogue. International headliner “Wonder Woman” Leiomy Maldonado teams up with viral choreographer and Philadelphia native, Kemar Jewel to help the stories come alive in a performance that is sure to be iconic.  Tickets to this event are FREE, but you mus register in advance here:

First Person Arts Presents “A Letter to My Father / A Letter to My Son”

The Engaging Males of Color Initiative’s A Letter to My Father / A Letter to My Son event is co-presented by the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services and First Person Arts. The focus is to help build open, honest and ongoing dialogue between fathers and sons about overcoming challenges of everyday lives of all males of color, especially challenges faced by the Hispanic and Latino communities. This show is also part of Commonspace, a new collaboration with WHYY, which has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, and part of the Festival Encore! Series Presented by PECO. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Featuring Lemon Andersen, Greg Corbin, Fatin Dantzler (Kindred and the Family Soul), Edwin Desamour, Loui Ortiz Fonseca, Shawn Theodore, and Dr. Howard Stevenson. Hosted by Darryl Irizarry. Featuring live music by Daniel De Jesus and Rick Gonzalez. Post-show talkback moderated by Hector Ayala.

First Person Arts is Now Accepting Story Pitches

First Person Arts has teamed up with the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services and the Philadelphia School District to present the third installment of its newest program, Beyond Expectations: Engaging Males of Color.

This innovative new program will culminate in a live event open only to students currently enrolled in the Philadelphia School District onMonday, April 4 from 4-6PM at the Girard College Sanctuary featuring Yazz The Greatest, best known for his role as Hakeem Lyon in the TV series Empire (pictured above).

BEyond Expectations is a one-of-a-kind storytelling program celebrating the lives and experiences of males of color. We are calling for inspirational personal stories from high school students currently enrolled in the Philadelphia School District and charter schools that shatter misconceptions, and give voice to the strength and resilient spirit of young men who identify as males of color (i.e., African American, Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern, African/Caribbean, Asian/Pacific Islander, bi-racial, etc.)

Students will attend FREE storytelling workshops offered in March. Performers will be selected from workshop participants to tell their stories live on stage alongside their peers and Yazz The Greatest. Selected storytellers will also receive a small stipend.

What we’re looking for in a story submission:

  • A true story from your own life that is 5-minutes or less
  • Shows how you overcame struggle, and triumphed in the face of adversity
  • Original poems and raps are acceptable as long as they pertain to the theme

How to submit your story for consideration:
Submit your 1-2 page typed story by email to with the subject line “BEyond Expectations”, or by mail to First Person Arts 443 W. Girard Ave. #2C Philadelphia, PA 19123. You can also call in a 3-minute excerpt of your story to 601-568-2435.

Deadline to submit: Monday, February 29.

For more information contact: Becca Jennings ( | 267-402-2055)