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Kandace "DC" Lavender

Kandace “DC” Lavender is an internationally known poet, vocalist, hip-hop lyricist, and special education educator.  She is currently completing her last year at Western Michigan University as a grad student majoring in Special Education focusing on students with emotional disturbances. She received her Bachelors degree at WMU double majoring in English and Spanish for secondary education. Kandace has shown a deeply rooted passion working with “at-risk” students struggling with emotional impairments for the last 8 years. Kandace is highly requested in school districts, residential programs, and youth organizations due to her ability as an educator and artist to engage and motivate students by unveiling their passions and what motivates them. Kandace uses artistic interventions as the driving force to encourage students taking ownership of their education, positive ways to contribute to their communities, and to build their self-esteem and self-awareness.

She is a favorite on the college scene and has an innate ability to connect with audiences of all ages, races and backgrounds.Through acoustic, live band, and/or spoken word performances, DC has proven her ability to electrify audiences while sending messages of love, peace, political awareness and hope. It has also been through workshops under the umbrella of The Teacher Cypher, LLC that Kandace has developed student literacy and social awareness by connecting relationships between hip hop, education and community. This ability has been described as “exceptional.”  Bridging the gap among persons of various walks of life, cultures, ages, etc. is what motivates Kandace. Although in the past many venues have declined hip-hop performers, DC has been able to stay true to the origins of the genre through her commitment to not use profanity, build community, create social justice awareness, and to share positivity through her pieces. “The music I perform at venues in the community are the same songs I am requested to perform in the school districts.”She is a powerful and absolutely artistic spirit who always leaves her audiences wanting more. DC has been performing on local, national, and international stages for 10 years. She has opened up for artists such as J. Cole, Talib Kweli, Nas, Damien Marley, OutKast, The Roots, Raekwon of Wu Tang Clan and a host of others. During her five-month trip to Europe she was able to perform on stage with some of Spain’s underground hip-hop elites making connections and spreading her messages of love, light, and life to engaged audiences. An instrumental quote in particular for DC’s writings is: “When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” –Audre Lorde

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