Kristen Elizabeth Writes Her Personal Future as Okay Cash the Poet | Arts Tales & Interviews | St. Louis

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click on to enlarge Kristen Elizabeth, a.k.a. K Money the Poet, performs as part of the Art A'Fair Poetry Exhibition tonight at the Luminary. - VIA KRISTEN ELIZABETH

Kristen Elizabeth, a.okay.a. Okay Cash the Poet, performs as a part of the Artwork A’Truthful Poetry Exhibition tonight on the Luminary.

St. Louis inventive and self-described jack-of-all-trades Kristen Elizabeth went out in late December 2021 anticipating to see a poetry present, however by the top of the night time she discovered herself studying to a stay viewers for the primary time since earlier than the beginning of the pandemic. The 25-year-old actress and mannequin is not any stranger to the stage, or a digicam lens, however she’ll be the primary to confess that she’s nonetheless a newcomer to the colourful poetry neighborhood in St. Louis.

Underneath the moniker Okay Cash the Poet, Elizabeth has produced quite a few written items and movies that tackle taboo topics equivalent to physique shaming, self-harm and abortion, to call a number of. The scope of her work additionally consists of sickness consciousness and coping with the warped health-care system — matters which can be practically universally relatable however usually troublesome to debate. She goals to start out conversations by encouraging readers and listeners to lean into their discomfort and educate themselves.

“I’ve all the time been occupied with doing poetry, way back to third or fourth grade. I used to be all the time form of afraid to share,” Elizabeth says.


She first confronted that concern in February 2020 after being requested to learn at a poetry occasion organized by Molly P, a pupil at Harris-Stowe State College the place Elizabeth serves as assistant director of communications and advertising and marketing.

“I attempt to go to college students’ occasions and I give them recommendation about college or life. That’s my favourite a part of my job,” Elizabeth says.

Her position at HSSU consists of operating a number of social media accounts, net modifying and writing spotlights on graduates whereas offering help to present college students. Elizabeth’s contributions go to this point past her job description that she was not too long ago acknowledged for her work on the Salute to Younger Leaders Awards reception the place she was named one in every of 25 excellent African-American professionals underneath the age of 40 by the St. Louis American Basis.

“Working at a college and inspiring college students to go for his or her wildest desires on a regular basis made me wish to do that very same factor,” she says.

The pandemic hit just one month after Elizabeth’s first public studying, so she pivoted to creating movies and even served as a panelist for UrbArts’ Poetry Showcase Digital Occasion in April 2021. She additionally spent 2021 deeply concerned in native pageantry as Miss Spirit of St. Louis — a Miss Missouri USA contestant — whereas operating on the platform of “Not Your Conventional Pageant Woman.”

In collaboration with the R. Whittington Basis, Elizabeth used her platform to create the Spirit of St. Louis Scholarship, a fund that has helped clear the balances of a number of HSSU seniors on the cusp of commencement. From operating workshops to serving as a decide for HSSU’s 2021 Royal Pageant, Elizabeth funneled her ardour for pageantry into important neighborhood outreach. Whereas she spent most of 2021 in a help position for others, one other traumatic occasion modified Elizabeth’s inventive trajectory.

“I obtained in a extremely dangerous automotive accident to start with of this 12 months and it made me understand how quick life was. I requested myself ‘you wanna mannequin?’ Like, we’re gonna go for it full throttle this 12 months,” Elizabeth says.

Whether or not she’s dreaming up concepts for a shoot or collaborating with an area photographer to assist manifest another person’s imaginative and prescient, Elizabeth takes a acutely aware, multidisciplinary method to modeling. She has modeled for a number of publications together with Wedding ceremony Day Journal, Vigour Journal and Selin Journal, to call a number of. If her face is beginning to look acquainted, that is likely to be as a result of she was a part of a model shoot for grocery store chain retailer Save a Lot, and she or he only recently appeared on KMOV 4 Information as a stay mannequin for Patrice J. Bridal earlier this month.

“Being the non-traditional mannequin that individuals aren’t used to seeing however nonetheless doing it and doing it properly. That’s the accomplishment for me,” Elizabeth says.

Elizabeth admits that her performing profession is simply beginning, however she’s excited to construct on her resume with future alternatives in commercials, print adverts and TV. She’s at the moment signed with three businesses and she or he not too long ago landed a job in an anti-gun violence mission with the town of Saint Louis.

“[Acting] can also be an amazing instrument for poetry. I’ve discovered that being animated when performing out and studying your poems actually will get the viewers to tune in and interact with you,” she says.

Since returning to the stage in late 2021, Elizabeth has racked up victories on the Pen Up or Shut Up Poetry Battles and the Saint Louis Poetry Slam’s Grand Slam occasions. She credit Gregory Maurice, a stalwart member of the native poetry neighborhood, with convincing her to take the stage on that fateful night time again in December.

“St. Louis has a lot freaking expertise. That is essentially the most gifted metropolis ever. If everyone actually helped shout one another out and put one another on the map, we actually could be the subsequent New York or Atlanta or Los Angeles as a result of so many nice individuals come out of right here,” Elizabeth says. She names a number of members of the local people as very important to her success along with her mom on the prime of the checklist.

“I keep in mind the primary slam my mother went to on February 27. And that was the primary slam that I gained,” she says. From driving to gigs to cooking dinner and being at practically each occasion, Elizabeth describes her mom as her primary supporter.

When the Riverfront Instances introduced the inaugural version of Artwork A’Truthful earlier this 12 months, Elizabeth reached out with a singular proposal: an Artwork A’Truthful Poetry Exhibition that includes 10 of St. Louis’ most hard-hitting, gifted wordsmiths together with Shy The Poet, Leethal the Poet, Phree, Louis Conphliction, Ray Lay Down the Fact, Who’s Ardimus, Grey, T-Spirit and Gregory Maurice.

“I’m undoubtedly new on the poetry scene in St. Louis. There are such a lot of nice poets right here so I personally felt the necessity to invite them alongside and pay homage to them with the chance,” Elizabeth says.

Suffice to say, the Riverfront Instances jumped on the probability to collaborate with Okay Cash the Poet. In consequence, poetry is now a featured a part of tonight’s Artwork A’Truthful, our new celebration of St. Louis arts and music taking place on Cherokee Road at a number of venues together with the Golden Document, Earthbound Beer and extra. The poetry exhibition will happen on the Luminary with two half-hour blocks beginning at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Seize your tickets to the occasion right here.

“It feels like loads is happening, however I’m so enthusiastic about all of it that I’ve to seek out methods to make all of it work,” she says.

After Artwork A’Truthful, Elizabeth plans to construct on her momentum with quite a few initiatives at the moment within the works, together with a brand new guide titled Y’all Not Prepared for that Dialog. Sustain with all of Elizabeth’s inventive endeavors at @thekristenelizabethh on Instagram and her web site.



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