A writer, martial arts instructor, actor and architect, Akeem Olaj can be called a modern day Renaissance man. He’s been active in the New Orleans Poetry Community since 2004, when he and fellow high school students in the city began cultivating youth open mics and poetry slams. He was one of the founding members and team captain of N.O.Y.S. (New Orleans Youth Slam) that went to BNV (Brave New Voices) an international youth poetry slam in 2005. That year’s team finished 6th out of 40 teams in their first year of international competition. A person who loves to create, he went to college for architecture in 2005 and graduated from UL-Lafayette in 2009 with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture and from Tulane University with his Masters in Architecture and Design in 2011. All while Akeem was in school, he acted in numerous college plays and in 2008 got back into Slam Competition with New Orleans Slam.
In 2010 Akeem was one of the founding members and Slam Masters/coach of Slam New Orleans (affectionately nick named Team S.N.O.) and went on to nationals to win the group piece competition. This was New Orleans first National Title of any kind, and the first time New Orleans was represented in a national competition since hurricane Katrina in 2005. The team could not attend Nationals the following year but returned in 2012. That year Team S.N.O. did one better and won the entire National Poetry Slam and in 2013 repeated the feat; making Akeem a 3 time national poetry slam team titleist in his first 3 appearances in the competition.