Lamman Rucker

Lamman Rucker, of 'Greenleaf' on OWN, speaks at last year's Bayou Soul Youth Literary Conference and will return for this year's session on July 2 at Baton Rouge Community College.

Baton Rouge Community College will host the sixth annual Bayou Soul Youth Literary Conference on Tuesday, July 2.

The event, which runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in BRCC's Magnolia Theatre, will feature celebrity speakers, a preview of the stage play “Voices from the Bayou,” an oratorical contest and master classes and breakout sessions.

The event is free and open to Louisiana high school students and BRCC students, but registration is required at

Among those scheduled to speak are Lance Gross, of "Star" on Fox, and Toya Wright, of "T.I. & Tiny: Friends and Family Hustle" on VH1.

In the spirit of this year’s theme, "Empowering Young Voices," students can participate in a Maya Angelou-inspired oratorical contest presented by Angelou’s niece, Sabunmi Woods, and great-niece, Samyra Woods.

The daylong event will also feature a preview of the stage play, “Voices from the Bayou,” based on BRCC student narratives from the book of the same name that explores racism, police brutality and the historic flood.

Actor Lamman Rucker, of "Greenleaf" on OWN, will star in the production, which was written for the stage by Clarence Nero, an assistant English professor at BRCC, and directed by Andrew Vastine, managing director of Swine Palace Theatre at LSU.

The preview will also feature monologues performed by LSU graduate students, as well as song and dance performances that highlight events that occurred in Baton Rouge in the summer of 2016.

The program is made possible through the support of the office of Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, RECAST, BRCC Foundation and BRCC’s Student Government Association.

Schedule of events

10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. — Preview of “Voices from the Bayou” play, starring Lamman Rucker

1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. — Master Class/Empowerment Breakout Sessions (participants choose one)

  • Acting, Drama, Entertainment — led by actor Lance Gross and publicist Love Logan
  • Poetry — led by BRCC professors Carrie Causey and Eric Elliott
  • Creative Writing — led by literary agent and editor Maxine Thompson and BRCC professor and author Clarence Nero
  • Culinary Arts — led by Lauren Von Dor Pool, (chef for celebrities Common, Venus Williams and Serena Williams)
  • Arts & Crafts — led by Sabunmi Woods and Smyra Woods
  • Visual Arts/Painting — led by Sharika Mahdi (Essence Magazine Emerging Artist 2015)
  • Empowerment Seminar For Young Girls — led by dating expert Monique Kelley (NBC’s "Access Hollywood Live") and BRCC faculty members Carolyn Smith, Bea Gymiah and Shelisa Theus
  • Empowerment Seminar Young Men — led by Lamman Rucker, Hilton Webb and Kent Nichols

3 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Maya Angelou Oratorical Essay Contest presented by Sabunmi Woods and Smyra Woods, nieces of Angelou