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Liza Jessie Peterson
Liza Jessie Peterson is a renowned actress, poet, playwright, educator and activist who has been steadfast in her commitment to incarcerated populations both professionally and artistically for seventeen years. She has written several plays, including, “The Peculiar Patriot,” which she performed excerpts of in over 35 jails and penitentiaries across the country and as the opening act for Angela Davis at Columbia University’s conference on mass incarceration. Also known for her exceptional poetic skills, Liza began her poetry career at the Nuyorican Poets Café in the mid-90s and was a vital member of the enclave of notable poets who were part of the “underground slam poetry/spoken word” movement. It was this electric group of artists that inspired Russell Simmons to bring “spoken word/slam poetry” to HBO where Liza appeared on two episodes of Def Poetry. She has shared the stage with luminaries such as Angela Davis, Nona Hendryx, Toshi Reagon, Amiri Baraka, The Last Poets, Craig Harris, Vernon Reid, Rakim, Carl Hancock Rux, Ron Carter and Sandra St. Victor to name just a few. As an actress Liza appeared in several feature films: Love the Hard Way (co-starring Pam Grier and Academy Award winner Adrien Brody), Spike Lee’s Bamboozled, K. Shalini’s A Drop of Life, and Jamie Catto’s What About Me. Liza will appear in a documentary about mass incarceration by Ava Duvernay (director of Selma) discussing her art and activism. Liza’s first book, ALL DAY: A Memoir of Love and Survival Teaching Incarcerated Kids is due to be released fall 2016.
Born in Newark, NJ, LuQuantumleap’s talents have been displayed on numerous stages since the age of six. Moving from New Jersey to New York at age nineteen, he has performed solo and worked alongside some of the top artists in the music industry. He has shared the stage and sat on a panels with a wide range of artists, educators, and activists including Alicia Keys, KRS-One, Gil Scott Heron, Ron Carter, Public Enemy, Dr. Laila Africa, Amiri Baraka, and The Last Poets. LuQuantumleap has always felt that as an artist, it is imperative that one be consistently active in the various realms of the entertainment industry, as well being an activist in the educational systems throughout the world. As an educator in the New York School system for over 15 years, LuQuantumleap’s areas of experience and expertise include youth motivation, holistic developmental education, song/script writing, musical performance, acting, modeling, as well as voice overs. As one of LuQuantumleap’s inspirations, Nina Simone, once said, “An Artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned is to, reflect the times.” Currently LuQuantumleap is featured in the new “Living in Levis” commercial alongside friend and collaborator Alicia Keys, and is working on his forthcoming album Life After Breath.