was born in Ikom, Cross River State, Nigeria.
At the age of 4, Bassey’s
family migrated to the small college town of Stillwater, Oklahoma. Life in
Stillwater was difficult for young Bassey, but it was through books and television
that she learned to negotiate this new cultural existence.
As a child, Bassey’s
wild imagination and outgoing personality often found her in hot water. It
was a teacher in elementary school who helped Bassey discover creative ways
to channel her energy. She was introduced to the poetry of Langston Hughes
and Nikki Giovanni at the age of 8 and soon began penning her own work.
14, the Ikpi family moved to the Washington,
D.C. metro area. In D.C.,
Bassey joined the cast of BET’s
NAACP Image Award winning Teen Summit.
As a Posse Member, Bassey learned to
become more comfortable in front of a
camera and also learned how to negotiate
the unpredictable setting of live television.
Her interviewing skills were also put
to the test weekly, as Bassey was given
the opportunity to interview everyone
from politicians (including former President
Bill Clinton) to people in the entertainment
industry. Bassey was a regular on this
award-winning national program until
she graduated from high school.
In the fall of 1994, Bassey began college
in Baltimore, Maryland. While in college,
Bassey discovered spoken word. After
her first public reading, Bassey rediscovered
her love for performing and quickly became
a regular in both Baltimore and D.C.'s
burgeoning spoken word scenes. Bassey
and her partners in Spoken World, a not
for profit organization, ran a popular
weekly open mic event at a local Baltimore
bar. As host of the event, Bassey was
often seen juggling crowd control and
homework at the same time.
June of 1999, Bassey and a friend took
a weekend trip to New York City.
She has called it home ever since. In
The Big Apple, Bassey has seen her performing
career take off.
She has opened for such
acclaimed artists as world renowned writers,
Sonia Sanchez and Nikki Giovanni, the
International recording group, Les Nubians,
and Grammy Award winning artists such
as India.Arie, Alicia Keyes, and Luther
Vandross, just to name a few.
New York, Bassey became involved in the
highly competitive world of slam poetry.
In her first years in the city, Bassey
found a space at the world famous Nuyorican
Poets Cafe but it wasn't until she discovered
Bar 13 and it's Louder
Arts Collective that
she truly found a home in slam. It is
with "Loud Poets" that
Bassey competed in two critically acclaimed
National Slam teams.
In the fall of 2000,
Bassey's work was featured in a compilation
CD entitled, "NYC SLAMS". She
also won a role as Def Poetry Jam's New
York City representative in the first
incarnation of the television and Tony
Award nominated Broadway hit, Russell
Simmons' Def Poetry Jam. She has appeared
on three seasons of the Peabody Award
winning HBO program. And is thankful
to the show for launching her career
on a national level.
Bassey is currently busy touring colleges
all over the country and is honored to
share stages with poets she has long
admired. In March of 2003, Bassey along
with fellow Def Poets, Amalia Ortiz and
Ishle Yi Park appeared on the 34th
Annual NAACP Image Awards.
The trio performed an original poem as
part of a special
tribute to tennis champions, Venus and
In June of 2003, Bassey
was asked to join the National tour of
the Tony Award winning stage production
of Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry
Jam at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe
Festival in Scotland. She spent the following
year touring across the country in Def
Poetry Jam’s National Tour. Though
performing and writing are Bassey’s
first loves, she has also been seen gracing
the pages of magazines such as Bust,
Nylon, Marie Claire and Glamour.
has also continued to expand her
resume and skills to include
voice over work
for a national HIV/AIDS awareness
campaign. She is currently at
work on her first
collection of poetry and prose, “From
This Safe Space.” The
work is a labor of love documenting
period in the life of the poet.
Bassey’s future plans include
launching the production company
she has been dreaming
of since she was a child.
For general information, including but
not limited to media requests and press
inquiries, please contact:
Phone: 630 865 6329
For College and University Booking:
Global Talent Associates
Phone: 212 921 8500
Fax: 212 921 8599