Home New Dominion Bookshop to host poet, writer and hip-hop educator Tony Keith Jr.
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New Dominion Bookshop to host poet, writer and hip-hop educator Tony Keith Jr.

Crystal Graham
toby keith jr
Submitted/Photo by Randolph Garrett

New Dominion Bookshop in Charlottesville will host a book reading and signing with author and spoken word artist Tony Keith Jr. on Saturday, April 6, at 7 p.m.

Keith Jr. will be reading from his new memoir in verse, How the Boogeyman Became a Poet, which was released from Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins in early February.

This in-person event will be cosponsored by Flux Poetry and Spoken Word and will be free and open to the public.

Poet, writer, and hip-hop educator Keith Jr. makes his debut with a powerful YA memoir in verse, tracing his journey from being a closeted gay Black teen battling poverty, racism and homophobia to becoming an openly gay first-generation college student who finds freedom in poetry.

In the book, Keith Jr. dreams about life after high school where his poetic voice can find freedom on the stage and page. But the Boogeyman has been following him since he was six years old. First, the Boogeyman was after his Blackness, but he has learned It knows more than that: He wants to be the first in his family to attend college, but there’s no path to follow. He also has feelings for boys, desires that don’t align with the script he thinks is set for him and his girlfriend, Blu.

Despite a supportive network of family and friends, he doesn’t breathe a word to anyone about his feelings. As he grapples with his sexuality and moves from high school to college, he struggles with loneliness while finding solace in gay chat rooms and writing poetry.

But how do you find your poetic voice when you are hiding the most important parts of yourself? And how do you escape the Boogeyman when it’s lurking inside you?

Keith Jr. is a Black American gay poet, spoken word artist and hip-hop educational leader from Washington, D.C. His writings have appeared in The International Journal of Critical Media Literacy, Journal of Black Masculinity and others.

A multi-year fellow of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities with a PhD in education from George Mason University, Keith Jr. is CEO of Ed Emcee Academy and lives with his husband, Harry Christian III, in his DC hometown.

New Dominion Bookshop is located at 404 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville.

For more information, visit ndbookshop.com.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.