Bassey Ikpi is a Nigerian born poet/writer who was a featured cast member of the National Touring Company of the Tony Award winning Broadway show, Russell Simmon's Def Poetry Jam. Not a stranger to the stage, her poetry has also opened shows by Grammy Award winning artists, has earned her standing ovations at the NAACP Image Awards as part of a tribute to Venus and Serena Williams, Johannesburg, South Africa's annual arts festival, Joburg Arts Alive and at The United Nations Annual. As it relates to media, she has graced the pages of such notable publications as Nylon, Marie Claire, Glamour and Bust.

During the summer of 2010 Bassey embarked on a 3 city tour, appropriately called “BasseyworldLive”, which infused poetry and interactive panel discussions on everything from politics to pop culture - with a huge emphasis on mental health issues. Not only did she headline each show, but she also moderated the panel discussions, which included special invited guests from various industries such as art, film and journalism.  Bassey was also one of the original co-hosts of the award-winning podcast, Blacking It Up.

With social commentary being a focus of her work, Bassey has recorded original poems for the Kaiser Foundation’s, HIV/AIDS campaign; Knowing Is Beautiful and There is No Comfort In Silence for Global Grind in partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb and World AIDS Day. Along with working as a freelance writer for several media outlets on the topic of mental health and pop culture commentary including Ebony, The Huffington Post,, and

Following the suicide of a young friend, Bassey founded non-profit organization, The Siwe Project to help spread mental health awareness in the global African community.

Though Bassey has cultivated a successful career in the States, it has been her dream to perform her poetry in her homeland.  In August this year, she will make that dream a reality. After almost twenty years away, Bassey will be coming home to Nigeria. During her visit, Bassey will be headlining performances in Lagos and Abuja before traveling on to see her family in the Calabar area. She will also be hosting a poetry slam competition for aspiring poets of all levels of experience. Details of the competition will be revealed on Wednesday, 25th April. 

In the meantime, linked below is Bassey’s signature poem about her relationship with her grandmother and her connection to her homeland.

Here is a video of one of her amazing performances: Homeward

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