Catzie Vilayphonh is an award-winning writer, spoken word poet and multi-media artist. As a founding member of the group Yellow Rage, she was one of the first Asian American women to appear on HBO's Def Poetry Jam. Through her work, she provides an awareness not often heard, drawing from personal narrative. She runs a community arts org, Laos In The House, is a Commissioner on the Mayor's Commission on Asian American Affairs and was recently appointed as Councilmember to the Pennsylvania Council on The Arts. A child of refugees, Catzie was born in camp, on the way to America, and thus considers herself part of the ".5 Generation".
To learn more about Catzie's work through her community-based arts organization, Laos In The House (LITH), please visit LITH's website: https://www.laosinthehouse.com
Michelle Myers and Catzie Vilayphonh are founding members of the spoken word group Yellow Rage, a dynamic duo of Philly-based Asian American female spoken word poets. Yellow Rage gained international attention when they performed on the first season of the critically-acclaimed HBO television series Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry in December 2001. They also performed in the first live Def Poetry Jam show at the 2001 HBO U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, CO, as well as the Def Poetry Jam College Tour. Celebrated for their high energy and engaging performances, Catzie and Michelle have gone on several national tours as independent artists and performed at hundreds of colleges and other venues around the U.S. from Honolulu to Chicago to Atlanta to New York City. Yellow Rage has produced two spoken word poetry albums: Black Hair, Brown Eyes, Yellow Rage, Volume 1, and Yellow Rage, Handle With Care, Volume 2
Michelle Myers is an award-winning poet, community activist, and educator. Born in Seoul, South Korea to a Korean mother and a white American father serving in the United States Air Force, she draws from her personal experiences as a biracial Korean American woman to write poetry that challenges mainstream misconceptions of Asianness and explores the intersections of race, culture, gender, community, and self. She is a founding member of the spoken word poetry group, Yellow Rage, and as a solo artist, she has received many awards, including a 2014 Leeway Foundation Transformation Award. Her work has been published in Apiary Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Title Magazine, Brevity Magazine, and USA Today. Most recently, she has been selected as a Dodge Poet by the Dodge Poetry Program, an affiliate of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and featured as a Festival Poet in the 2020 Dodge Poetry Festival. Drop the Mic, a CCPTV spoken word poetry show that she co-created and hosts at the Community College of Philadelphia, has been nominated for six Emmys.
To learn more about Michelle's work as a solo poet and educator, please visit her website: https://michellemyerspoet.com
ARTIST PHILOSOPHY AND MISSION:
Through anger, pain, joy, celebration, sarcasm, and humor, Catzie and Michelle strive to initiate honest dialogue through their poetry and hope to move themselves and others forward to recognize the humanity of others and acknowledge the common human desire for peace, healing, happiness, and love. Employing multiple poetic forms and delivery styles—including hip hop-influenced rhyme, character depictions, narrative poetry, theatrical monologue, song, and free verse—Yellow Rage seeks to connect people, bridge cultures, and initiate a movement of positive and progressive change.
SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES:
For over two decades, Yellow Rage has made a positive impact through their poetry. Drawing from their own unique experiences, individual political ideologies, and personal life philosophies as Asian American women, Michelle and Catzie's group and solo poems address issues which explore the intersections of race, culture, gender, community, and self. Core issues examined by Yellow Rage include human trafficking, sexual slavery and modern-day slavery; anti-Asian violence; cross-cultural community building; cultural commodification; racism and sexism; intergenerational trauma; the Southeast Asian refugee experience; mixed race identity; class divisions; cultural identity and pride; and the sexual fetishization of AAPI women. At the heart of Yellow Rage's poetry is a desire to present a perspective that challenges ignorance and hatred and holds people of any race, gender, ethnicity, and religious belief accountable for ideas and behaviors which incite divisiveness rather than facilitate understanding.