Winner: 1998, Nuyorican Grand Slam Champion
Kayo's dramatic commanding delivery and searing commentary on life, politics and love has made him a favorite on the poetry scene performing on Def Poetry Jam, 98.7 KISS FM, WLIB, Power 99 (Philadelphia), NY1, and WBAI 99.5 (New York) and at colleges and universities across the nation. He has received favorable press from New York Newsday, Source Magazine, and Black Issues Magazine among others.
Born in Brooklyn, Kraal 'KAYO' Charles grew up listening to rap's finest poets, developing his gift for razor sharp rhymes accompanied by a cool, flawless delivery.
A dare landed Kayo on the open mic stage at he legendary Nuyorican Poets Café in New York City and a performer roared to life. Kayo became Nuyorican's youngest Grand Slam Champion in 1998 and since then has been featured on "Russell Simmons' Def Poetry," on HBO and "Hughes Dreams Harlem," a STARZ Network Documentary celebrating the life of Langston Hughes. Now a full time performer, Kayo has traveled from Portugal to Austria, there taking part in the first European Poetry Exposition performing a jaw-dropping brand of poetry in a memorable baritone voice. He has a self-published book of poems titled "Bridges to Build, Rivers to Cross, Mountains to Move."
His searing commentary on life, politics and love has made him a favorite on the poetry scene performing on 98.7 KISS FM, WLIB, Power 99 (Philadelphia), NY1, and WBAI 99.5 (New York) and at colleges and universities across the nation. He has received favorable press from New York Newsday, Source Magazine, and Black Issues Magazine among others.
Kayo's critically acclaimed one-person show recently had its debut. The show "Lessons I Have Learned as a Man That I Will Tell My Son" highlights the delicate balance of trying to raise a responsible man in an irresponsible society.
Kayo started out producing just his own performances. Since then, Kayo has produced multiple one-person shows, festivals, and multi-character productions that featured artist with multi-talented tendencies. He realized the talent of the people around him and decided to create an outlet for them all. Kayo has produced one-person shows for Def Poets such as Helena D. Lewis, Vanessa Hidary, Daniel Beaty, Regie Cabico and Yolanda Wilkinson. Kayo, through his company Urbintel, has produced The ROAR Theatre Festival, The Spokenworks Theatre Festival, and SNIPPETS (SNIPPETS @ YALE, SNIPPETS @ THE 45TH STREET THEATRE, SNIPPETS NUYORICAN) and now is a co-producer of the traveling Harlem Book Fair. Urbintel also produces workshops for kids. South Brooklyn High School, Freeport High School, Bronx Academy of Letters, Clara Caldwell has all been visited by the Urbintel experience.
Kayo will continue to promote the arts in any way that he can, on the stage or behind the scenes. He has just finished his first two act play – a poetical – titled "The Tragedy of Brooklyn," to be produced off-Broadway next spring. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in marketing from Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York.
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