Audra! keeps it real

Through her work as a poet, attorney and motivational speaker, Audra! clearly has the gift of gab. Chicago-bred and Los Angeles-raised, Audra! has lived in Atlanta since 1995. She's been putting pen to paper since grammar school and, for the past 11 years, has taken to the stage to share it with others.
If her messages weren't so positive, Audra!'s high-energy, in-your-face approach (reinforced by the exclamation point that always follows her name) might be seen as confrontational. Her performances, she says, "are meant to spark a reaction in the audience. I try to make sure each poem I create tells a short story that everyone can in some way relate to. I believe that part of delivering a message is to say things that people probably think but are not comfortable with saying themselves."
Audra!, who has appeared on BET's "Teen Summmit" and "Showtime at the Apollo," as well as the Essence Festival, landed a slot at this week's Jill Scott shows after Scott requested that a local poet open the show. For the occasion, Audra! will perform a new poem, "Keepin' It Real," which addresses the negativity of some rap music.
More than any other type of audience, Audra! says she most enjoys talking to teens. "I think they embrace my style of performing because they love rap music. My delivery style resembles rap. Rap is poetry. I am aware of these similarities and I use it to capture and hold their attention while driving home valuable lessons."