Natasha Ria El-Scari

Self-Care as Sustainability–Poems about how nature, community, meditation and more help to create sustainability from the inside out!

Thursday, November 3, 5:30 p.m.
Kansas City Public Library – Central Library

Artist Statement: 

I am certain that if I do not write, I do not live. I know because in small bursts of my life when I have not written, there is less joy. Writing is my breath and performance is my dance, the favorite song I just have to move to. Poetry is the prominent medium I use to reflect my art and life. My poetry is obviously feminist without being isolating; it is bold without being overbearing. It is not reflective of the commercial feminine ideal but it is always welcomed, even after the initial discomfort is eliminated by my delivery style. It is designed to heal and resonate the experiences within the body of women, African Americans, mothers and Midwesterners with a benefit to those who listen or read my work.

I explore all of the various ways I can express politics, concerns, grappling with motherhood, art, ancestry, and career. When I perform spoken word poetry, my delivery is never the same. It becomes a collaborative project with the community. The energy of the crowd, the musicians that accompany the performance and the moment itself determine the art. While this may frustrate an audience ready to receive the same rendition of their “favorite piece”, we find that words can express movement as much as they can express feeling.

Poetry floats into my personal essays, novels, and short stories, swimming freely to give breath and movement to my desire to create. What I do most in my work is to take very concentrated and private moments and flush them out with emotional imagery. I am most interested in the way words become a vehicle for people to view themselves and others as well; the words impact them emotionally, and many times aid in their healing. My poetry recomposes the obvious yet is expressed with my idiomatic insights. I welcome each breath and dance.


Natasha Ria has been writing and performing poetry for three decades. Whether it is performing with live musicians in Jazz, R&B, or Hip Hop or sharing her quieter literary work, her signature voice soothes audiences and brings them closer to themselves. Personal, political, intersectional, Natasha Ria brings her entire self to her performances.

Kevin “Church” Johnson is a midwestern mix plate of old-school soul music with a millennial twist of spicy and sweet BBQ. Born and raised in one of the homes of Jazz music, Church, as he is often called, developed his pocket playing style in the Black church where he played drums and sang regularly since he was 10 years old. In addition to his soulful storytelling through song, he also plays keys and guitar. Just recently entering his 30s, for the last 20 years. Kevin has been the Musical Director for R&B sensation Ginuwine and had played for Roy Ayers, Raheem DeVaughn and Ro James.

Well-versed in many areas, Kevin appears on the award-winning independent jazz album Bleu by Hermon Mehari. Whether in a corporate band or his own band 3 Piece & a Biscuit, his unassuming style does not diminish his talent. Instead, his humility and masterful talent as well as his support of other musicians and singers has him positioned as is one of the most sought-after singers and musicians in KC and beyond.