Biography 2023

The Jamaican poet Christena Williams, better known by her stage name of Antonia Valaire was a Nominee in the 39 th International Reggae and World Music Awards in the Category of Mutabaruka Best Poet/Spoken word. She is a native from Portmore, St. Catherine, and A graduate of Spanish Town High school.

She has won a Certificate of Excellence Sarabita Masters Award for 2020 from Ah TimesRas founded by dub poet Ras Atiba in New York, USA.

Prior to this award, Valaire had already been named the International Spoken Word Artist of the Year for 2020 by the People of Extraordinary Talent (P.O.E.T) organization and Blaq Ice Productions in Chicago, USA, for which she retained in 2021.

As a podcaster of The Verandah Conversations which was nominated in the Category: Best radio, TV or online show, by the People of Extraordinary Talent (P.O.E.T), 2022.

Valaire has a BA degree with honors in History and Philosophy from the University of the West Indies.

Her book “Pearls among Stones” received the Prime Minister’s National Youth Award
for Excellence in Arts and Culture. She is also the author of “Black Gold” and “Out from
Babylon System: Liberation of Mind.” Additionally, she released her Black Gold EP (Spoken Word) via her YouTube channel. She received a Major Art award from the Jamaican Youth Empowerment through Culture, Arts and Nationalism (JAYECAN) organization.

In addition to writing, Valaire is a featured performer on the Jamaican Poets School Tour in association with veteran Dub Poet Malachi Smith, Featured Performer in The Jamaica Poetry Festival organized by Legendary and award -wining Dub Poet Yasus Afari, She has worked asthe Project Coordinator for the Manifesto JA music mentorship at Tuff Gong Studio; an assistant Instructor to veteran dub poet and 2019 IRAWMA Winner Cherry Natural and former Poet Laureate Lorna Goodison in “All Flowers Are Roses” program at the National Library of Jamaica; and the Ras Takura Road to West Africa Panafest Ghana Fundraiser Dub Poetry showcase.

She has performed at the DisPoem Festival Wordz and Agro festival, Kingston Night
Market, Calabash open mic at Treasure Beach in St. Elizabeth, and was a Special guest featured on Poemagikal Verbal Medicine, Featured in Bridgewater International Poetry festival virtual edition USA, featured in Kingston Creative virtual Art Walk, Life Circle Poets Poetry Sunday, Dis Poem Wordz agro festival meets Malcolm X sol Food + Music festival, video submission to Ronda Leiria Poetry festival In Portugal, Video submission to The Art Bar Poetry series, Featured interview on The Real stuff Podcast, Its Peak Poetry radio in UK with host Zed Regal, Poet life podcast with host Christoph Jenkins,USA, Youth summit on crime and violence, United Nations Development Programme, Jamaica.

Her Poems and Interviews have been featured for The Gleaner and the Jamaica
Observer newspapers, and Featured Guest on TVJ’s All Angles with Dionne Jackson- Miller; she was also a Featured Guest on CVM’s On the Road to Success with Yanique DaCosta and a Featured Guest for performance and interview on CVM at Sunrise with Raymond Pryce and Amashika Lorne. She has done radio Interviews with Host Elise Kelly, Roots FM Habakkuk, Campus Buss Interview with Daron Chosen Smith, featured in Random Poem Tree (T&T), Female First magazine in the United Kingdom, Poetry NZ 47 (New Zealand), L3 magazine, and was shortlisted in jaBlog! Junior Authors Poetry Contest. She was also shortlisted in at the Desmond O’Grady poetry competition (Ireland) and featured in Antologia Poetica (Fragua de Preces), Spanish edition by Abra Cultural, 2020.

Her first translated poem, Punishable by death was featured in Persian Sugar in English Tea, Vol III, NY, Featured interview in 40th issue of The Sailors Review in Zimbabwe, Corona Social Distancing the Anthology by Inner Child Press in the US, and her poem Matches shoes box was included in the Miss Lou 100 +Voices anthology in Jamaica. Her poem, Stone cold sinner was a finalist in the Hessler Street Fair Poetry Anthology in Cleveland, Ohio. She had a featured excerpt of the poem Youth of Today quoted during the Address by His Excellency The Most. Hon. Sir Patrick Allen for the Investiture Ceremony of Poet Laureate Miss Lorna Goodison, CD on May 17, 2017.

Antonia Valaire describes herself as a Follower of Christ, Youth volunteer, Historian,
Philosopher, Podcaster, Youth leader, Spoken word artiste and performer and self-Publisher in addition to being an Author and a Poet. She cites Louise Bennett and Mutabaraka as her inspirations and expressed gratitude to the veteran poets who have gone before her. Some of her early favorite poets are Olive Senior, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Emily Dickinson, and William Wordsworth, in addition to Jamaican and West Indian poets.

Additionally, “According to Glenville Ashby, PhD, Book Reviewer and Gleaner Columnist, he states,” No doubt, … Williams has sealed her place as one of the region’s most compelling artistic voices”. Her social media links can be accessed via: @Antoniavalaire | Linktree

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