Visual Art

“In a vivid extended monologue ... written and performed by Kwelismith, she moved from rich prose to marvelous singing and back with a seamless ease that disguised her artistry and splendid sense of timing.”

--Joan Reinthaler, Washington Post

Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Kwelismith  (or just Kweli) is an interdisciplinary performance artist, Jazz vocalist and music educator.  She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology at Trinity University in Washington, D.C.

In her interdisciplinary work, Kweli examines the psychosocial impact of American culture on African American music. She is the author of a poetry collection, Slavesong the art of Singing and a music book, Secret Meeting, Kwanzaa Songs and City Sounds.

A member of The Center for Research in Black Music, Kweli has been a workshop facilitator for (NASPAAM) The National Association for the Study and Performance of African American Music (an affiliate of MENC). She is a member of IBWC International Black Women’s Congress a collective of women scholars, artists and activists.

In recognition of her many educational and musical contributions, in 2005, Kwelismith was selected as Washington’s Hometown Hero by WETA Public Television for her innovative ideas fusing music with environmental science and music with social activism. In 1991, She received the Mayor’s Art Award for Outstanding Emerging Artist.

Watch Kwelismith's Hometown Hero video interview on Washington, D.C.'s WETA.

Kwelismith can be contacted by postal mail at:
1820 Valley Terrace SE, Washington, DC 20032

by telephone at:
(202) 652-0559

by email at:

*Samples of Kweli's original children's music can be heard at