Brandon Leake, the first spoken-word poet to be named champion of America’s Got Talent, will host a special evening of performances by local poets, rappers and writers at 4:30 p.m. May 2 at the Merced College Admin Amphitheater (in front of the Administration Building on the Merced campus).

Leake will perform and emcee the Poetry Showcase, a free event open to all members of the public. Blankets and chairs are recommended, and a limited number of chairs will be available.

Those interested in performing at the Poetry Showcase are encouraged to contact Karrie Bullock at 209-386-6703 or no later than Friday, April 28. No level of expertise is required to perform, and a $250 grand prize and other prizes will be awarded.

“Spoken-word poetry brings together incredible talent and artistry, and bravery,” said Merced College reference librarian Karrie Bullock, who is organizing the event. “There is acceptance, support, and positivity in a slam atmosphere that allows folks to get vulnerable, be heard and seen, and participate in the experience. Brandon elevates that experience.”

The event marks the second appearance by Leake at Merced College. In April 2022, he held a performance for college staff and faculty, followed by an Open Mic Night featuring Merced College students. Leake has also held a masterclass series of poetry workshops for students via Zoom throughout the Spring 2023 semester.

Leake is an award-winning spoken word poet, artistic educator and motivational speaker from Stockton. His creative mixture of art, charisma and passion tailored to his own unique personal narrative has taken him across the world as a speaker and performer. He has performed in locations such as New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, and 36 states around the country on “Dark Side” tour, promoting his first published poetry chapbook “Unraveling” and his album “Deficiencies: A Tale From My Dark Side.”

He is also the founder and CEO of Called to Move (CTM), an artistry organization that aims to aid youth in self-actualization and personal development through the art of poetry.

Merced College does not discriminate, and prohibits harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, age, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation.

Media Contact: James Leonard,, 209-681-1061