Our creative flow is our medicine. We are the voices of the voiceless, through art inspired moments, we are healed. I release, you release, we release!

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The Art Inspired Healing Collective officially presents our Hip Hop & Healing SEL curriculum. What we've found most effective when speaking about social emotional intelligence and wellness, it's necessary to meet people where they are, and SEL isn't a curriculum that can be taught without it first being embedded into one's lifestyle. We all have an art form within us that has been specially created for our need to release, remain in the present moment, and truly express, and release our feelings and emotions. Populations of children that have historically been marginalized are in need of an experience that allows them to tap into this space within themselves.

Hip Hop & Healing takes socially and emotionally relevant albums that embody tracks to evoke feelings and discussions, pairing it with deep breathing exercises and discussion to create a safe space for teens to enjoy music, speak freely, and relax, relate, and release. Albums that have been featured include Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Prince's When Doves Cry, and now Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly.

Teens experience 6-7 songs from the featured album, and each lesson is built around the 12 Stages of Healing. Although each stage is introduced, teens are encouraged to build from the stage they are currently experiencing. As the teens create their art forms that represent their current state of reality, they embrace authenticity and vulnerability. These skills ultimately prepare them for the PH Balance Open Mic performance art component of the program. The community, friends and family are invited in celebration to support the voices of our youth curating an experience they will never forget, as well as an opportunity to move forward in self discovery.





GNO, similar to but unlike Cher, Madonna, Prince, and other single named divas was meant to be… hot and artsy. He made the 2005 list of “One of the 64 People Making Dallas Hot” by D Magazine.  GNO has dabbled in a broad range of artistic endeavors that have allowed him to work on projects ranging from music videos to corporate marketing campaigns. Along with his premier poetry performance troupe OIL (Ordained In Lyrics) he has done voice-over work for McDonalds, NBC, and other corporate entities.  Hailing from Dallas, Texas, GNO has been writing, creating, and performing creative works of literature, music, and film for over three decades. 


He is published - with his most noted work being “Process of Confession” a short collection of poetry. He has been featured in a number of anthologies and literary reviews and is a twice National Poetry Slam finalist and one-time Champion (1998 and 2001).  GNO has a BA in Literary Studies and a BA in Art & Performance as well as a MFA in Art & Technology all from The University of Texas at Dallas. His education has given him a strong background in video/film production, graphic design, and social media strategic management. However, he counts himself as a largely self-taught and self-motivated artist with a desire to play a larger role in the creative arts community.  He is currently a higher education professional and serving as the Asst. Director of Student Life Programs at his alma mater UT Dallas.





K.I.N.G. (Knowledge Intelligent Nubian God) 

King Shakur is a fun loving poet, activist, mentor, lover, fighter, and everything in between. Born in Dallas, TX and raised in the South Dallas neighborhood. He wrote his first poem at 12 and his first performance was in a Baptist church, at the age of 17, when a lady that saw his unique gift for the art made him get up in front of his peers and showcase his talent. Since then he has been dedicated to helping people young, and old find their voice, and he encourages them to give it to the world, because, “we all have a story to tell”.


King has written hundreds of poems, been a feature performer in over fifteen states, competed in Southern Fried Poetry Slams in New Orleans, Durham NC and the National Poetry Slam in Chicago as a member of Columbia SC’s first Poetry Slam Team in 2003. He was also a member of New Danger Poetry Slam Team in 2009. King opened for Amiri Baraka at Wake Forest University and was featured at Rust College in Holly Springs MS at the National African American Student Leadership Conference, with Dr. Sonja Sanchez.


His Poetry was also adopted by Allendale County High School English department, and was studied by their students’ spring of 2010. He is the founder of S.T.R.U.G-LIN LCG and President of the New Danger art Collective, and a voting member of Alternate Roots. He is Co-founder and executive producer of Ladypalooza, an all female art showcase celebrating the lives and work or women. He served as the creative writing instructor at the South Dallas Cultural Center for three years. He has released three chap books; was published in the Anthology of African American poets, by the University of South Carolina and released his first full length book of poetry, Streetlights J’s and Hip Hop in April 2016, which is the winner of the Black Caucus of Librarians Poetry Book of the Year Award, and he won Author of the Year at the Memphis Book Festival the same year.


King now leads Volunteering While Black, promoting volunteerism in the African American community, and supporting several service organizations. He has provided over $5000 in in-kind DJing an MC services in 2019 as well as nonprofit consulting. He holds a BA in Music, a MA in Public Leadership and if currently pursing his PhD in Ethical and Creative Leadership while serving as the Director of Community Youth Development at the University of North Texas at Dallas. He is Mental Health First Aid Certified for both children and adults.

Contact King Shakur:

www.thekingshakur.com king@ytheycalluking.com  https://www.facebook.com/kingisapoet





Nikisha Patton Handy began teaching in 2005 as a special education teacher, earning a Bachelor's degree in Applied Behavior Analysis, a Master's degree in Special Education specializing in Behavioral Interventions, and currently working to complete a Doctorate degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Nikisha is the proud business owner of 2 Inspire Peace which is a company and a nonprofit which seeks to inspire peace for children and for  those that pour into children by offering stress relief and healing from trauma by way of mindful meditation, offering retreats, professional development opportunities, art inspiration, aromatherapy and de-escalation products, and life changing events for educators, mentors, and caregivers. Her goal is to create a spark and prompt a change in lifestyle to positively influence our community to shift in a way that will impact children. Our intention is to create resilience within using mindfulness and social emotional learning to bring healing to childhood trauma and mental health concerns in holistic, spiritual and art inspired ways to increase resilience.

​Nikisha Patton Handy has been an educator for over 15 years and made her choice to do so because she recognized the over representation of black students receiving special education. So, she entered the educational system to make an impact. Nikisha is currently serving as a mentor throughout the urban areas and Title 1 schools within the community hosting events for the community, educators, mentors, homeschoolers, and caregivers to heighten awareness of the importance of maintaining a mindful and healthy well-being to pour into our future in a holistically and culturally responsive way. These events heighten awareness within our community about the power of the breath, meditation, art inspiration, mindfulness, healing, releasing, spirituality, and aromatherapy. Her entire career has always been committed to positively impacting and giving back to her community as a strong advocate for social justice and equity for all students. She wouldn’t have it any other way. Nikisha is Mental Health First Aid Certified, a CBT Cognitive Behavior Life coach, and Mindfulness Practitioner.


The Miseducation of Self

The Miseducation of Self... using Lauryn's Miseducation album as a guide. Using 6 songs to build lessons around the 12 Stages of Healing. Have students build from the stage they are currently in. 


Miseducation tackles love lost and love found, distrust, pregnancy, and self-actualization. At 23 years old, Ms. Hill was the target age of today’s millennial—trying to “figure it all out”—and her project was seeped in feelings. She may be decades removed from that demographic now, but many can still reference that moment in time and apply it to their own pivotal life moments.

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2 Primp My Butterfly

Metamorphosis: 2 Primp A Butterfly... using Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly album as a guide. Using 6 songs to build lessons around the 12 Stages of Healing. Have students build from the stage they are currently in. The album explores a variety of political and personal themes related to race, culture, and discrimination.

Dallas City of Learning

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Rhyme and Breathe

Super Heroes Like to Breathe and Rhyme! 7 min video where we give children a word to create a rhyming affirmational poem, while allowing the breath to create pause for thought. Increasing endorphins to create the perfect sensory and brain break for children everywhere. We also show them how to positively affirm themselves, and the power of the breath, while also teaching rhyme to assist with reading and spelling.  


Poetry + Healing = Balance

Founded by Alternate Roots Members King Shakur and Nikisha Patton Handy, The Art-Inspired Healing Collective is dedicated to providing a forum and opportunity to have the voices of our community be heard.


We seek to stop the silence and the shame that has served to stifle our truths which ultimately contributes to the mental, emotional, and physical illnesses of those affected.


Over the last year, The PH (Poetry and Healing) Balanced Open Mic sessions have brought people from all over the Dallas/Ft. Worth region together in a safe space. And each experience has been a magical session of people releasing. This leads to the creation of curriculums and workshops to help people dig deeper and get to the root of their pain.