our words.

"I am fat!"


So, it took a while for me to decide on what I wanted to blog about this week. Truthfully, the only reason it took a while was because I was really afraid to talk about the most obvious and visible issue that is prevalent in my own personal life, being fat. Yesterday, the 5th Woman cast was featured in the Women of Jazz Jam Festival 2017. Each lady shared a poem of their choice, and I elected to share one of my most vulnerable pieces that I had recently written. After the first stanza of sharing a really embarrassing scenario of what it is like to be overweight at a theme park, I boldly proclaimed that “I am fat!” As oddly as it may sound, that awkwardly bold moment was very liberating and powerful for me. Why? I have been so entangled with striving to fix myself and seeing results, that I haven’t enjoyed the journey to get there. When you are a poet, on a stage in the spotlight, you have the power to create whatever picture you want your audience to experience. In that very moment, as painful as it was, I owned my truth, I’m overweight. With that being said, I find it necessary to provide a back story to my weight loss journey. About this time last year, I lost fifty pounds as a result of hard work, strenuous exercise, and strict dieting. I have never been more proud of myself. Day after day, I made myself drink a gallon of water, count calories, and adhere to a strict paleo diet. It was clear that my success was noted by my friends and family. I became much more confident. I shined, but my progress was unfortunately short lived. I gained all of my weight back, as a result of being injured during a softball game and battling depression from my immobility. As much as I wanted to become thin, my life choices wouldn’t allow for it. I stopped exercising because I couldn’t, and I was back to eating whatever I wanted. Where am I going with this? I tend to think that a major part of growth and change is understanding the past and its role in the present.  

Like I explained earlier, as a poet, I can get on a stage and put on whatever show I’d like. I had habit of doing just that. I wrote a poem entitled “Big Mama” that addresses hyper sexuality amongst big women as a form of confidence in the midst of insecurity. Originally, I wrote the piece in the third person because the poem was actually not about me. The subject of the piece came about from an encounter I had with a full-figured woman at a slam poetry contest who had delivered a poem full of self-bolstering sexual innuendos. In my eyes, all of metaphors for her bedroom capabilities was a bit much and more detrimental to her proclaimed strength. However, in terms of my piece, one of my poetry coaches encouraged me to spit this particular poem in first person to make it more impactful. My heart kicked and screamed because I didn’t want to be seen or heard from as the ‘token big girl’ especially with me trying to lose weight. Nonetheless, I started performing the piece in first person, and I scored much higher at slams with that small but major change. Overtime, I learned that when writing people tend to respond to vulnerable writing; people want honesty. People crave to hear words that speak to exactly to where they are or where they’ve been. Even I, the writer, have grown from writing and sharing pieces of myself that leave me exposed.

Being a big girl is not really my issue. Yes, I desire to be a smaller size, but my aim is to be healthy and whatever that looks like. After writing a piece about my weight, I have learned my frustration comes from the lack of discipline and consistency. As a result of those issues, my weight problem just happens to be a tangible and visible byproduct of my struggle. It sucks, but being fat doesn’t equate to worthlessness. I can still stand confidently in all of who I am and command respect. I am a queen! I have learned to stop shaming myself for not being exactly where I want to be or where people think I should be. I’m not going to stop pushing myself to achieve my personal goals, but I am going to learn to smell the roses of today. If that means proclaiming my royal thickness on a stage in front of hundreds of people, then so be it. I am fat and not ashamed!

On Growth

Photo Cred: Jasmine Newton

Photo Cred: Jasmine Newton

I love growth. Growth is what makes you stronger and wiser every day. Especially when you allow it to happen. When you allow it in. I don’t mean that easy kind of growth either. I mean that hard, in tears, painful to go through growth. I have gone through this type of growth for a while and it has gotten to the point where I welcome it. I have seen what it does. I have seen what it turns me into, how it works its way inside and changes me for the better. The hard part it… I don’t like change. I automatically push against it because of fear. Fear of losing my comfort zone. When you go through a good stage of growth… it forces you to move outside your comfort zone. It forces you to have no choice but to get comfortable outside that comfort zone you were once used to. Growth used to be my enemy… now I see it as an old friend. A friend that is visiting because I am due for another “come to Jesus” meeting. I am due for another “talking to”. When you decide that you want to change your life, whether it’s being a better person, starting a business, getting married, becoming more successful, etc… you will have to be ready for what you asked for. When you have REALLY made that decision and told the universe and God what you want… get ready to be tested and molded into what you need to become in order to get there. A lot of us aren’t usually ready for the shock of it all… the pain… the demand that is put upon us when we want something. We think we can just ask… and get it. It doesn’t always work that way. It takes work, pain, demands, sacrifice… GROWTH. However, through the darkness there is always light that comes in due time and chases it away. Once you have worked, put enough effort, time, sacrificed and GROWN…. You usually reach your goal. It is part of becoming better. It is a preparation to your greatness.

Now when I see pain… trials… sacrifice… I welcome it all because I recognize what it’s about. My growth. If I am given the chance…. The challenge to grow… it means the universe and God said yes to my request but not without a cost. You just have to decide if the cost is too great or if your goal is worth it. You have to make that decision every day to reach for your greatness and GROW into it with joy. Joy that you are on your way. Never look at it in dismay. WELCOME it. Welcome it with open arms and embrace the lesson it will teach you. Embrace the stage will be leveling up to. Lean in to the pain and face it head on. Before you know it, your goal is reached. And that will be glorious.

Introducing The 5th Woman 2017 Cast

So its been like forever since we posted anything. Mainly because the 5th Woman has been undergoing some serious changes. Relaunching and revamping our look, our focus, and our style. However, none of that matters anymore because we are back and you will see a major difference in our presence online, in the community and around the world. If you haven't already, make sure you subscribe to T5W TV, the Youtube channel for all things 5th Woman. You will be able to see exclusive footage of the cast of the 5th Woman 2017. So without further ado, I would like to introduce you to the cast. img_5093p

New to the 5th Woman, Summer Awad promises to open our eyes to so many different views of sexuality, womanhood, and empowerment. Summer is an amazing poet, playwright, performer, activist and more. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat!


Returning from the cast of 2016, Daje Morris is an amazing voice that is developing and expanding as a musician, singer, songwriter, and poet.  Her poetry will provide you with a new vision and expose you to new ideas never before considered. Daje is technology guru so you can find her on all social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and more.  Just reach out and let her know that you are excited about her being a part of the cast.


Also returning from the 2016 cast, Jasmine "BabyJ" Newton returns with her candid personality and point of view that always keeps the audience wanting more truth.  Baby J hosts the poetry slams that the 5th Woman presents and can move from behind the camera to being a model with ease.  She is an entrepreneur, a mother, a wife, a radio hostess, and all around superwoman. You can find BabyJ on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and her website http://www.jwayphoto.com


The last time that I appeared in a 5th Woman stage show, I was on stage with 3 amazing poets that helped me be a better person and a better friend.  Two of those ladies are returning to the stage after participating in 2016 as artists in other capacities, Olivia "Origins" Riggins and Desiree "Dezigner" Seay are returning as part of the poet cast.  Olivia is an amazing teacher and dancer that found words at a rough time in life and has used her artistic connection to the world to make her one of the strongest female poets of the Southern Region.  Desiree is a drummer, singer, teacher, and so much more that has participated as a member of the slam team and allowed her life and struggles to be revealved candidly through her poetry.  So rounding out the cast we have the experience from writers that will reveal the power of women and spirituality through their words and ability to share so openly.  I connecet with Olivia and Desiree through Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.   Don't hesitate to reach out and show them love!


So it goes without saying that this will be the best 5th Woman Stage Show ever.   These poets are amazing and you don't wanna miss their hearts laid out on the stage to empower, educate, and motivate women from all walks of life.  I love the diversity of this cast from so many different cultures.  Don't miss it!  The 5th Woman 2017 is going to blow you away.

All photos by JWay Photography (http://www.jwayphoto.com)

By: Rhea Sunshine

The 5th Woman News

May 20 Slam featuring Origgins - What an amazing night! We were in a new location, Bar Marley and the location paired with the amazing show that was April 23, 2016 made the night so worth it! We had our largest audience to date at the slam and Origgins did an amazing job in her first feature performance ever. She shared poetry that encouraged all women to be their best self as well as empowered those that may have experienced a broken heart. It was amazing and to see a poet that came from the 5th Woman make her debut as a featured artist really made it all worth it. Alternate Roots Grant Assistance - I have always wanted to be able to do more for the poets that put in the work to make the 5th Woman what it has become. This year I was able to do that because of the Artistic Assistance Grant from Alternate ROOTS Funds are made available by The Nathan Cummings Foundation, The Ford Foundation, the Surdna Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Season Passes - So I had this great idea to do season passes for the next season. They are available through August and you can save money. The sooner you get them the more money you save. Remember that slams are $5 in advance each month and your ticket to The 5th Woman 2017 is included in the season pass. Those tickets are $20 per person! So go ahead and get your season pass now and save yourself some money in the long run!

Features - We are building the calendar for the next season. If there is a poet you would like to see or hear from, let me know. If you are a poet that wants to feature at the 5th Woman let me know. You can also just contact me because you want to share your story as a part of the 5th Woman 2017.

Tell It All Web Series - We are getting ready to really amp up the episodes of Tell it All, so make sure you subcribe to T5W youtube channel for all things that have to do with the 5th Woman!

Thanks for your continued support!

Tell It All Episode 1


The very first episode of Tell It All Video Blog is out there for you to hear about the story of my life in under 2 minutes!!! You can hear about my struggle through life with autoimmune diseases. Sometimes life is a struggle, but I keep on pushing! I hope you enjoy this short story and come back for the next episode to be released April 17 by midnight!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8FJZeK8doI&feature=youtu.be

The 5th Woman 2016

We will have the 3rd Annual 5th Woman stage presentation on April 23, 2016. Tickets are $20 and $10 for adults and students respectively. The show will be amazing and you don't want to miss it! Here is a list of all the people that will be performing, poetry, dance, music, and art! Queen Sheba - Atlanta,GA Taria "The Realest" Person - Atlanta, GA Kimbi "The Goddess" Tiez - Greeneville, SC Daje Morris - Knoxville, TN Jasmine "BabyJ" Newton - Knoxville, TN Danielle Taylor Rhea Carmon Olivia Riggins Jake Forsten Chauncey Whitlock Kari Sanders Ken Easterly Brandon Whitaker Ebony Petty Shajaun Lewis Carla Rogers Kristen "KC" Harris Cheri Siler Elnita Sessions Ty Smith Endia Williams

So don't miss this monumental night of great poetry and art! Get your tickets at http://www.eventbee.com/event?eid=131846793

Don't miss it!

February is Black Atticus month....

It seems as though it is becoming tradition so from here on out...February is Black Atticus month.  He has been our feature for this month for the last 2 years and we welcome him back to our mic to wow and amaze us again with his fantastic words and innovative outlook on life.  I am so excited about this talent coming through and blessing the mic.  It will be awesome!  




Steve Shell Was Amazing

That is really all I can say. He came through the slam and did the dang thing.  It was awesome to hear his take on the world, religion, love, and more.....If you haven't been coming to the slams you have really been missing a treat. Not to mention the slam was great too....We had 6 poets that will make up the slam team that we send to Southern Fried!  I am happy to announce

Drew Drake





and the alternate Lil' Mama!

This is going to be a great year for the 5th Woman Slam, so don't miss out!


The 5th Woman 2015 - 16 Season

I am so excited about this next season.  The 5th Woman Slam Team Reloaded did great things at Southern Fried 2015 in Little Rock, AR and now its time to start another year.  Here is a current list of what we already have lined up for the year! June 19 - The 5th Woman Slam featuring Courageous the Poet

July 17 - The 5th Woman Slam featuring Tavis Brunson

August 21 - The 5th Woman Slam

September 18 - The 5th Woman Slam featuring Kimbi the Goddess

October 16 - The 5th Woman Slam (fundraiser)

November 20 - The 5th Woman Slam featuring Boris "Bluz" Rogers

December 18 - The 5th Woman Slam Off and Fundraiser

January 21 - The 5th Woman Slam

February 19 - The 5th Woman Slam

March 18 - The 5th Woman Slam featuring the 5th Woman 2016 Cast

April 15 - The 5th Woman Slam - Slammasters Birthday Bash

April 22 - The 5th Woman On Stage

May 20 - The 5th Woman Slam featuring Team Reloaded

We will offer season passes to all events during the July Slam!  Don't miss out!

Dasan Ahanu "For My Nanna"

Dasan Ahanu showing love from Bull City, NC.  He shares words and poetry about why he loves women and pays tribute to his Nanna!  Check it out and show lots of love! https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10155419984260438

Queen Sheba is featuring March 20!

QueenSheba_Main-740x493 Queen Sheba is coming from Atlanta, GA to feature for the 5th Woman Poetry Slam, but she also posted this awesome poem to kick off our month of poets loving women!  Check her out and come out on March 20 to see her do the dang thing.


Fayetteville, NC represents

LeJuane El'Ja Bowens shares his thoughts and a poem for women in support of "The 5th Woman".  Its absolutely amazing how many poets have shown up to support this show.  Share the blog with your friends and family so that they can be encouraged as women too!  


Poets Support "The 5th Woman" in March

Its amazing that poets are so family oriented.  So for the month of March, a different poet is posting a video every day on "The 5th Woman" Facebook page.  Make sure you stop by and share your thoughts and feelings everyday so that we can know what you are thinking.  Why do you love women or being a woman? Everybody has a reason and everyone has at least one woman in their life that they love.  The 5th Woman is to bring all lovers of women and women together to share in a night/nights of poetry , music, dance, and theatre so that we can bond and get over the petty stuff. 5th woman supreme ONLINE version

Tickets are on Sale!!! $20 don't miss it!

5thwoman_bluehttp://www.eventbee.com/event?eid=168526933 You can get your tickets up until the day before the show.  On the day of the show they will be $25 at the door, so go ahead and get them early.  Group rates are available if you contact Rhea Carmon through email at rheacarmon@gmail.com

The Cast of "the 5th Woman" 2015

This year's cast is amazing…you want to see and support each one of these artists as they step up to do what they do best! Poets:  RheaSunshine, OhSoCoy, Origins, Dezigner, and Word Nerd

Dancers: Bianca Carter, Mila Yarbrough, Chanel Williams, Damon Turman, Olivia Riggins and Brynn Yeager

Actors/Actresses: Carla Rogers, Chelsea Spencer, AJ McClerkin, and Samantha Joy

Singers:  Kelle Jolly, Gwen Jackson, Rukiyah Foster, and Eboni Petty

Early Bird Tickets Available until March 1 for $10

The 5th Woman 2015 tickets are on sale for $20, but if you are early and get them before March 1, you can pay only $10.  There are only 50 tickets available at that price, so it is important that you get in and get them now.  Don't miss out on this opportunity to see one of the best shows that Knoxville has to offer for a discounted price.

The 5th Woman Slam Team - December 19, 2014

The 5th Woman Poetry Slam has been in existence for a full year now and on December 19, 2014, we held a huge slam the featured Black Atticus and the 5 poets that would eventually become the slam team to travel to Arkansas this summer for the 2015 Southern Fried Poetry Slam. The team is comprised of the voices of Drew Drake, STARR, WordNerd, Origins, and Dezigner!  What an awesome team and we promise to make Knoxville proud!DSC_0080 DSC_0081 DSC_0082 DSC_0083

And the winner of the Haiku Slam is….


If you missed the Haiku slam then you truly missed a treat.  Not only did members of "the 5th Woman" 2015 participate and share their attempts at haikus.  We were blessed by youth poets Lilly and Noah and got a few non-poets to step up and share their haikus as well.  The night ended with a cipher and music!  So if you missed it, you missed a treat!  You can be at next one in August!  Check out some pictures of those that shared.