Converge Denver Denver, CO

The Artist's Voice

Friday, Feb. 24 6:30



The Artist’s Voice: A Conversation about Faith, Rap & Race

In an art form that offers conflicting messages of spirit, cultural pride, or excess, rapper Sho Baraka uses his platform to address injustice in his community, embracing an activism that flows from timeless streams of biblical thought. His music combines faith and social consciousness, highlighting the needs of today’s urban community. Sho joined DIFW’s Jeff Haanen and local slam poet Ayinde Russel for a discussion exploring how faith shapes an artist’s craft and call to engage his community.

“Profound insight on how race continues to plague the church and larger culture. The artists approached the issues with the kind of grace and humor that gives me hope for the future.”

Durham Monsma
Pfaffinger Foundation


Sho Baraka

Forth District

Sho Baraka is a nationally-known rapper, storyteller, and theologian. In addition to  his work with Humble Beast Records, he is a member of the Christian hip hop group 116 Clique and founder of Forth District, a platform of artists and thinkers leading engaging conversations about urban culture. The son of a former Black Panther, Baraka’s comments about faith, race, and the 2016 election recently captured the attention of Christianity Today and National Public Radio. He attended Tuskegee University and the University of North Texas where he studied Television/Film, Anthropology, and Public Administration.

Ayinde Russell

Poet / Musician / Vocalist

Ayinde Russell is an award-winning slam poet, an internationally-traveled vocalist and musician, and a celebrated speaker.  Through the performing arts, Ayinde invites audiences to share in all of the diversity and commonality of the human experience. Ayinde is a National Poetry Slam Champion having competed on Denver SlamNuba's team in 2011, and has taken claim to the title Grand Slam Champion for Denver's Mercury Cafe and SlamNuba teams. He has been a featured performer on TVOne's third season of the series Verses and Flow.   He's toured more than 50 colleges and universities all over the country as a performance poet. He holds a Master’s of Divinity in Pastoral Counseling from Denver seminary.

Schedule of Evening

Welcome & Introductions


Interview: Jeff Haanen & Sho Baraka


Small Group Discussion


Spoken word performance: Ayinde Russell


Panel discussion: Jeff Haanen, Sho Baraka, Ayinde Russell