What does an author, educator, activist, playwright, host, event organizer, Award winning slam poet, proud father, gummy bear elitist, bowtie enthusiast, professional hugger & anime fanatic have in common? (*take a breath*) That’s right…they’re all the same person! Meet Pages Matam!
Pages is a birthed native of the central African country of Cameroon, and groomed native of the DMV area. He is a graduate of Parkdale High School (PG County, MD) & Montgomery College.
“As both an emcee & spoken word artist, the same versatility in his pen is also embodied in his performance” (www.pagesmatam.com). His features have included The Kennedy Center & world famous Apollo Theater, and numerous colleges and universities around the country. He also participates as one of the hosts for Busboys and Poets Open Mics, a co-host/slam coordinator for GraffitiDC (one of D.C.’s premier Slam Series), and a member of the recently formed group of “artists & educators committed to using poetry as a tool for bridging cultural divides and creating transformative leading experiences”…thus called, The Drawbridge Collective.
As an artist, he has opened for countless dope artists, including Chrisette Michele, Raheem DeVaughn, and Afrika Bambaata; he has also shared the stage with the likes of Common, Mos Def, Rosario Dawson, and Amiri Baraka.
So, what is Pages doing when he’s not rocking the stage? Sharing his gifts to better the community and the future of it, of course! His works include being a coach for the 2014 national winning D.C. Youth Poetry Slam Team, a Teaching Artist and Assistant Coordinator for Youth Programs of the non-profit organization, Split This Rock, and one of the main organizers for the nationally acclaimed Louder Than a Bomb (DMV, of course). Couple these experiences along with being an educator, a cultural ambassador for the Office of Human Rights of D.C. (leading the successful campaign on immigration), and a plethora more contributions previously exhibited (and to come).
Now, what else can we learn about this awesome individual? Here’s more insight from the man himself:
Q: What part of the DMV are you reppin’?
A: Brookland NE & Silver Spring MD
Q: What influenced you to engage in your talents/gifts?
A: An episode of power rangers inspired me to write my first poem. I thought it would be a nice way to get a girl I had a crush on to notice me. Didn’t work out, but I kept writing, and then was blessed to gain a mentor who showed me other work, and books, and challenged me on my path while allowing me to nurture my gift…and here I am years later.
Q: How has your community influenced you, and vice versa?
A: My community, without support and love and them challenging me to not only make or do my art better, but also do and be better of a person, I would not be the person I am today. They influence the way I think critically about the world around me, how I respond to it in my art, and how I remain humble and constantly a vessel to engage and learn just as much as I may teach.
Q: As a gummy bear elitist, which one(s) are your favorite?
A: Black Forest Gummy Bears and milk chocolate covered gummy bears from Nuts.com!
Q: How did you come into creating your own bowties?
A: I was bored…I wanted to turn an old set of my brother’s ugly neck ties I didn’t always like wearing, and so one day I converted one into a bowtie. I liked it alot, so I did to others, then gained other ideas and here we are now.
Q: If there’s anything that you would want your peers & supporters to know about you (assuming that they don’t already), what would it be?
A: I really, really like, plantains!
Q: What’s next?!
A: Collective projects, individual visual and performance projects, travels, and teaching art therapy. Oh, and more gummy bears and bowties for everyone.
Keep up with this versatile artist, via his website: www.pagesmatam.com, and his social media platforms: Facebook (Pages.d Matam) IG & Twitter (@pagesofle). The futures of artistry and education are very bright, especially when donned by dope bowties, lyrics, gummy bears & plenty of hugs!