“Semaj Brown is one of the original pillars of the Detroit poetry and performance scene. Her writing has long been acclaimed by Detroit and national audiences…  Semaj’s unique ability to capture the essence of American culture and social justice in her writing is widely respected…  Semaj is an iconic Michigan literary treasure.”

M. L. Liebler, PhD
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Wayne State University hosts, Writers’ Voice


Performance of “Where Am I From?” | MLIVE Flint Journal Videographer name Cody Scanlan | Date: Jun 23, 2021

Semaj Brown’s Theatrical productions are multi- layered, multi-media, cultural, emotional, and hilarious shapeshifting time capsules. Jasmine Murrell, New York International artist who has worked with Semaj since 2002, explains, “Semaj presents a Mt. Kilimanjaro performance. Her poetry and delivery is transporting. Audiences are pulled by the magnetic force of Semaj’s words into different worlds and dimensions.”

Theatrical productions: Something Called War—Epoch, All Access Cafe @ Third Man Records, Bleeding Fire! Tap the Eternal Spring of Regenerative Light, By Ocean By Fire, Onion Revolt: A Healthy Comedy and more are derived from the imagination of Semaj Brown. Productions are enhanced by the musical abilities of her physician composer, instrument inventor husband, James Brown, MD who serves as musical director and collaborator. Lighting, stage design, and video art are also principle characters in Semaj’s theater. These productions also bring youth artists into this magical world. Young people learn to contextualize social justice themes through science art application, performing magnificently. Dance and song punctuates the stage, embedding ritual into the contemporary. Experiencing a production is like visiting another dimension.

WEHO Reads

Posted Oct 6, 2022

LA County Library

Posted Aug. 8, 2022

Horizons in Poetry 2022 featuring Semaj Brown

Horizons in Poetry is part of the Ron Allen Project, a 2021 Knight Arts Challenge Detroit winner. The project is made possible with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Our Project is also supported by the Hannan Center and Kayrod Gallery in Detroit. | Feb. 28th 2022

Flint’s first poet laureate recites an original piece – Mlive

Semaj Brown was named the first poet laureate of Flint in 2019. In 2020, she received an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship. Brown recites the poem “Where Am I From?” a piece she wrote last fall as a part project focusing on environmental injustice and racial and social problems organized by Kent State University and in partnership with Columbia University and EarthEthics . org. (Cody Scanlan | MLive.com)

National Poetry Month with McCree Theatre

Featuring Poems “R.O.A.R” “Black Dandelion” and “2 Seconds” as well as Workshop : Poetry is the Pizza of the World

The “Mother Ocean” Odyssey at Woodside Church Performance

Performance Feb. 24, 2021 | “Mother Ocean (Making of a New Tribe)” hosted by Woodside Church of Flint, Dr. Deborah D. Conrad, Pastor, and facilitator

Mother Ocean Performance Reading

Recorded April 2017

Something Called War: Epoch

The science fiction post-Earth, Afro-Futurism performance was first performed at the Flint Institute of Arts January 26, 2020. Semaj was commissioned by Flint Institute of Arts to write two works of literature in response to selected art featured in the exhibition entitled, COMMUNITY, January 26-April 19, 2020. Semaj was inspired by the multi-media artwork, Epoch by Whitfield Lovell, and wrote, Something Called War—Epoch. Cast: Semaj Brown: Beyond Consciousness (BC) – robotic authoritative voice Billie Scot Lindo: Lingering Humanoid Consciousness (LHC) – child-like ethereal voice sing songs James Brown MD: Baba Cloud Consciousness (BCB) – robust universe figure

All Access Cafe Third Man Records

All Access Café @ Third Man Records Hosted By M. L Leibler Semaj reads her poetry with themes of Water: Mother Ocean, River Killers, Cass Tech (Fish Eyes) James Brown, MD on Arborlune™

Bleeding Fire!

The theatrical poetry production, Bleeding Fire! Tap the Eternal Spring of Regenerative Light is an odyssey in African American history and culture derived from the book of the same name by poet/science educator, playwright, Semaj Brown. Bleeding Fire is a lava stream of memory racial erasure and recovery: 40 years ago, 400 years past, antiquity, up to the present, Flint Water Crisis and beyond. Semaj’s poetry brings a torch to gender atrocities, school-to-prison pipeline, mass incarceration; global water wars, terrorism, environmental injustice, climate change, and love. The production begs the question: How do humans Tap the Eternal Spring of Regenerative Light? • Theater attendees are dropped into a stirring cauldron of primordial funk. Semaj, the performer struggles through the contradictory triumphs of a prophetic 14 year old girl who is a self-confessed, Funkateer in the exploding poem— Cass Tech (Fish Eyes.), “…this invisible, invisible, this thing/ this it destroyed neighborhood schools, and small businesses— propped up check cashing fronts, eliminated grocery stores, created food deserts…” Semaj soars just above a funky groove emanating from the Arborlune™, an instrument invented from salvaged tree branches by her collaborating husband, James Brown, MD who is also the musical director of the production. The fish eyed girl catches 3 snow covered busses to downtown Detroit magnet school, Cass Tech while she grapples with the onslaught of post-industrial urban disinvestment of her city.

By Ocean, By Fire

Rip the poem, Almost Majnun, (Almost Crazy) from the page of the book, plaster the stage with it, and watch the fire kindle as the audience spirals with Semaj’s searing vocals recounting the displacement of people. You enter a black hole searching for the war dead of 911, but are saved — recovered, lifted out of the heat by modern dance reminiscent of ancient African conjuring to the cooling sound scape of Bach piano concerto. Select a different page and theater goers’ sides bend with hilarity when listening to Semaj reminisce. Like life, the production “By Ocean, By Fire” is driven by juxtapositions, interlocking, and overlapping themes of human triumph and gross moral failure. • (2017 at Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Fundraiser for Detroit Freedom Schools Movement at the Wright and for the CWMAAH) • Mother Ocean (The Making of a New Tribe) Throughout this multi-media historical journey, Semaj assumes larger than life mythological characters that seem to be birthed from cinematic light projections. One such entity is Mother Ocean who calls out to the new post- modern tribe of Black women who are being made powerful with “…gravity defying hair and eyes of stained glass wisdom.”

Onion Revolt! A Healthy Comedy Debut 2014

Onion Revolt! The One Woman Show featuring Semaj Brown is captivating. It sprouts from the story cookbook and CD, Feasts and Fables from the Planted Kingdom.™ Audiences are mesmerized and drawn into the world of vegetable intrigue as Semaj transforms into the prim Mrs. Brown and magnificently gives life to over fourteen different characters in a stellar theatrical performance. The prim Mrs. Brown, a reporter embedded on the Green Front is determined to cover the Onion Rebellion story for the Associated Plants News Network. James Brown, MD Musical Director | Debut 2014 at Bower Theater Hosted by Flint Youth Theater

Literary Livingroom features Semaj Brown, hosted by M.L. Leibler Writer’s Voice

Performance September 2020

When Fools Talk to me

Performance September 2020

Black Dandelion

Performance September 2020

Black Widow Spider Performance

Performance at the Totem Book Store | September 2019

Wave Rock

“You Can’t Clock the Rock, You Can’t Stop the Wave” That’s for you Mommy, that’s Wave Rock, You Can’t Clock the Rock, You Can’t Stop the Wave, that’s for you mommy, that’s Wave Rock!”

Poetry After Hours

Performance at the Flint Public Library | Friday September 27, 2019