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Lady J happened upon poetry while singing with the Cincinnati band, The Groove Society. The band opened up for a poetry open mic event called “Love Jones”, hosted by Ty Stuckey at a restaurant called Café Tiara in Covington, KY. One night she decided to get on the mic to perform one of her pieces and that night, the host dubbed her “Lady J.”


Fast forward a couple of years, and Yulanda White contacted Lady J and asked that she and musician, and writing partner, Don Manor host their own Poetry event at Nick’s Lounge in Cincinnati. Lady J contacted poet, Gifted to co-host and it was on! Don Manor and Eric Bolden provided live music and Lady J and Gifted spit poetry and opened the mic to all 2.5 people in the audience! The event was held every Thursday and got an audience boost when one Thursday Dawn Robinson of En Vogue and her husband (at the time) stopped in and performed! Lady J was “friends” on MySpace (remember that?!) with Dre Allen and told him if he was ever in Cincinnati, to stop by Nick’s for the Open Mic. Having no idea he would and no clue he was married to Dawn! They then ran the tagline, “You Neva Know Who’s Gonna Show!” They then decided to begin having monthly features and invited a good friend of Don Manor, “Abyss” – fresh off of the series, HBO Def Poetry to be their first feature. That event put them on the poetry map and over a period of 14 years built one of the most raw, fun, spirit-lifting open mics in Cincinnati!


Gifted and Lady J still run the event bi-monthly with musicians Doc Edwards, Tony Butler and occasional visits by original co-founder Eric Bolden. Co-founder, Don Manor passed away in 2015, but still does occasional spiritual fly-bys.


SpokenWordSoul is still in the business of feeding minds, spirits and bellies! You can find information on upcoming SpokenWordSoul events on Facebook.

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Shades of J was formed by Don Manor, Eric Bolden and Lady J in 2005 along with a myriad of ridiculously talented musicians, Mike Cobb, Kerry Jordan, Keith Bean, Michael Johnson, Rod Geralds, Tony Clark and since I couldn’t sing, we invited singers, Ingrid Rachel, Dyenna Dukes, Nonica Williams, and Miko Woods to add the soulful vibe.

Shades of J blended soul, funk and jazz with thought-provoking and inspirational poetry.  


With over 10 years of experience as a singer/songwriter and performer, Lady J, has had the opportunity to work with or open for Stokely Williams (Mint Condition), Conya Doss, Howard Hewitt, Bloodstone, War, Slave, Kirk Whalum, Rayse Biggs (trumpeter for Kem), “The Saxtress”, Pamela Williams; Guitarist, Wilbert Longmire and Tony! Toni! Tone!


The Shades of J experience has been described as “warm and seductive”, “unique and soul stirring”, “a quiet revolution” and together, they make a sincere and intimate connection with the audience as though they were kickin’ it in the living room.


The Shades of J CD was released in 2006 and can be found on Apple Music here:

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