More than a poet, more than a singer, more than an emcee–it’s not just what she says, it’s how she says it. Emerging from the musical womb that is New Orleans, Mother, Wife, Artist and Visionary, Sunni Patterson, combines the heritage and tradition of her Native town with an enlightened modern world view to create music and poetry that is timeless in its groove.
Sunni has been a featured performer at the many of Nation’s premier spoken word venues, including HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and BET’s Lyric Cafe. She has also had the privilege of speaking at the Panafest in Ghana, West Africa, as well as sharing her work on several other international stages. Armed with an engaging story, voice, and presence, Sunni is a highly sought after lecturer and performance artist in universities, schools, festivals, community events, conferences and concerts across the U.S. and abroad. She has worked with several well known artists and performers including Hannibal Lokumbe- singing lead vocals for his score,” King and the Crescent City Moon,” Kalamu Ya Salaam, Sonia Sanchez, Wanda Coleman, Amiri Baraka, Mos Def, Eve Ensler, The Last Poets, and many more.
Before touring and lecturing full time, Sunni- a graduate of Tuskegee University, possessing a B.A. in English- taught as a full time High School teacher in the New Orleans Public Schools and as an instructor at Kuumba Academy African Centered School. Much of her life has been devoted to serving as a cultural worker and grassroots activist exploring methods of using art and the power of poetry to encourage dialogue and healing.
An advocate of Holistic Health and healing, Sunni’s work is dedicated to the growth and evolution of humanity. She deliberately uses art as a tool to recognize, address, and eliminate all forms of oppression. She has trained under such greats as Iyanifa Osunmonife Balewa, Dr. Morris F.X. Jeff, Jr., Nana Anoa Namtambo, Mama Jean Taiwo Oluwo Afolabi Epega, Martial Arts Instructor- Ndugu Khan, Acklyn Lynch, Nana Kwabena Faheem Ashanti, Ph.D, and several others. She is a certified instructor of Chi Kung (Qi Gong) and Tai Chi for Health and a diligent student in the healing and spiritual arts.
Sunni has been honored with several awards, including two NUSPA awards (National Underground Spoken Word Poetry Awards) for The Most Inspirational Poet in 2010 and 2011. She also received the Eve Ensler V to the Tenth Anti Violence Movement Award for her work with Gulfcoast women and girls. And most recently, she received the Toni Cade Bambara Award for Cultural Leadership.
Believing in the transformational role poetry and spoken word plays, Sunni’s mission is to aid in the awakening, the revival, and the remembrance of our gifts and voices, enabling us to move to a greater space of self empowerment, creativity and actualization.