WALTER “WALLY B” JENNINGS:
- Age: 42
- Hometown: Tampa, FL
- Social Media:: www.heardemsay.org and Facebook-Walter Wally B. Jennings
- Bio: Walter “Wally B.” Jennings is an ordained minister, published poet, spoken word artist, MC/Host, community activist and instructor. A native of Tampa, FL, he began writing poetry as an 8th grade student in response to an English assignment. His poems share and discuss common experiences from everyday life, ranging from: diabetes, marriage and fatherhood, youth empowerment, and self-determination. Wally does not use profanity or vulgarity in his work, and he has conducted over 1000 performances, workshops and mentorship sessions in the national spoken word community over his 19 year career. He is an award winning, four-time Finalist of the Southern Fried Regional Poetry Competition and serves as a Poet Artist in Residence for Hillsborough County Schools and the Arts Council of Hillsborough County. Wally B is one of the founding members of Back Talk Poetry Troupe and founder of “Black on Black Rhyme-Tampa”, one of Central Florida’s largest and longest running open-mic poetry shows. He is the founding director of the “Heard ‘Em Say Youth Arts Collective,” established to identify, cultivate and empower youth in activism and advocacy through artistic education and expression. Named “Best Spoken Word Artist” by Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay in 2011, Wally B. graduated from Hillsborough High School in 1994 and from Florida A&M University in 1998 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Economics. In 2015, Walter resigned from his position as USF to pursue his passion as a full-time spoken word artist.
- What is something most people don’t know about your work? I actually don’t like writing AND my writing process is cumbersome by design. It is very important for me to get and stay connected with what I write. I’ve found the best way to do that is to write EVERYTHING out by hand (including notes, research and the original script) and then type it. This also helps to create an intimacy that makes it easier to memorize.