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Carlos Andrés Gómez

Iconic performer and author of Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood

Carlos Andrés Gómez speaks at TEDx
  • About Carlos Andrés Gómez

    Carlos Andrés Gómez is an iconic performer and author of the coming-of-age memoir Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood.  Nominated for the Pushcart Prize and named Artist of the Year at the 2009 Promoting Outstanding Writers Awards, he co-stars in Spike Lee’s #1 movie Inside Man with Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster, and Clive Owen and appears on the sixth season of HBO’s Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry.  He has headlined festivals all over the world, including South Africa, Ireland, Spain, Canada, and the U.K., most recently, as Guest of Honor at the Berlin International Literature Festival in Germany.

    A former social worker and inner-city public school teacher, he grew up the child of a United Nations diplomat and indigenous rights’ advocate – moving twelve times before graduating high school while living in four countries.  He has lectured and performed at over 200 colleges and universities, given a dozen keynote addresses, and facilitated countless workshops.  He continues to tour the globe.

    Most recently, Gomez has collaborated with award-winning musician John Legend on a project to further Gomez’s passion for helping young men break down their notions of masculinity and understand the way that gender stereotypes impact them. The “Senior Orientation Program” has Gomez and Legend mentoring high-school-age young men around the country and helping them to develop themselves artistically, culminating in their performances.

    “Powerful and tear-jerking…a mind-blowing, perspective-changing experience.”
    –Shannon Busta, Cord Weekly (Canada)

    “***** (5/5 stars) – Gómez lays himself bare…a quarter of the audience shed tears yet the show was uplifting.”
    –Bernie Greenwood, Hairline Magazine (United Kingdom)

    “Carlos Andrés Gómez is one of the most compelling voices of our generation… [He] captivates his listener with a profound use of cadence and imagery… Raw, entertaining, and empowering.”
    –Imani Woomera, Slam Africa (Kenya)

    “Carlos Andrés Gómez is a truth-telling visionary.”
    –Sarah Higginbotham, Brass Magazine (United States)

    “Gómez’s performance is part classic artiste and part lyrical prophet. Think Keats, meets Bob Marley meets Tupac Shakur.”
    –Searlina Bodden, Caymanian Compass (Cayman Islands)

  • Speaking Topics

    MAN UP! Redefining What it Means to Be a Man

    What does it mean to be a man? What is a “good man”? These and other pivotal questions are grappled with, using lessons and anecdotes from Carlos’ coming-of-age memoir Man Up, in this captivating, funny, interactive, performance-infused lecture.

    Stand Up, Speak Out: Ending Bullying, Violence, & Homophobia

    On the heels of a string of teen suicides, both bullying and youth violence have become hot-button issues of our day. Many of those commonly targeted have been singled out because of their sexuality or another social identifier out of their control. This lecture reveals strategies and real-life examples of how to constructively confront, diffuse, and, ultimately, stop these vicious trends.

    Distinctly Beautiful: Self-Esteem & Finding Your Voice

    Inspired by the Distinctly Beautiful writing exercise Carlos would assign to his students, audience members will be challenged and encouraged to fully embrace who they are. Using examples from his own life, Carlos offers up strategies for how audience members might recognize their innate power and beauty and start on the path towards carving out their unique voice – whether that be for writing, public speaking, or, simply, life.

    The Gift of Fear: Using Anxiety as Fuel for Greatness

    No one likes to be afraid or uncomfortable. It is only natural for a person to avoid fear and anxiety at all costs. But is it always useful to your growth as a human being? Using his own experiences as a road map, Carlos shares his story of learning to “embrace the fear and use it” – from growing up as a self-described “scaredy cat” as a child to an adult invigorated by the constant seeking out of that which frightens him most.

    Forgiveness: The Cycle Ends Here

    How do we break a destructive cycle? Whether it be negativity, conflict, hatred, violence, abuse, grief – Carlos draws on his experiences as an outreach worker and substance abuse counselor in New York City, working with pimps, drug dealers, gang members, and sexually-exploited adolescents, to help sketch out a path towards healing. He also shares intimate, revealing lessons from his own journey, confronting loss and divorce, and how forgiveness, ultimately, saved his life.

    Breaking the Divide: Race, Class, Gender, Sexuality, & Beyond

    How do we have an authentic and complex conversation about that which divides us? Carlos engages the audience in an interactive session that explores the ways we both share common ground and remain fragmented from each other, confronting the candid exchanges and overlooked experiences that shape how we live. By the end, audience members build a unique bond, having cultivated a greater empathy and understanding of each other.

  • Video

  • Praise for Carlos Andrés Gómez


    It was a powerful, empathetic, inspiring and enlivening performance – and the students were genuinely moved by it.  They’re not an uncritical audience, and I only heard them talking about how awesome he was!

    Christopher Moses-Jenkins, Dean of Students, The Berkeley Carroll School

    As a person who has been organizing annual writing festivals at my school since the early 90’s, I was awed by the way Carlos Andrés Gómez connected with our students last year.  One of my students echoed many of her peers when she wrote, ‘Never before had I really felt poetry the way I did when Carlos recited ‘What is Genocide.’  I didn’t know that poetry could speak and feel with such a power.’ Another enthused, ‘Hearing Carlos Andrés Gómez live literally sent a shiver down my spine at one point…his energy on YouTube doesn’t hold a candle to how powerful he is in person.’ A third commented, ‘His presentation was incredible, but the reason I liked him so much was that he made serious political and social issues the direct subjects of his poems.’   Students also loved Carlos’ workshop on writing because he was inspiring, interesting, and helpful.  We generally don’t ask writers to return for several years, but this year we’ve made an exception because so many of our students have asked for Carlos again.  To say he made an impact on our community is an understatement.

    Dr. Susan Dineen, Upper School English Department (The Pingry School)

    Carlos Andrés Gómez has performed for our Centennial College students in Toronto, Canada four times.  Within minutes, Carlos has a whole room of students and staff and faculty rapt with attention.  His performances are powerful in their delivery and in their honesty.  Students engage.  They speak up.  They join in.  A performance by Carlos is a journey in which he leads by example in facing courageously who we are.  His spoken word pieces hold our darkest secrets and fears up for us all to see, and they celebrate and call on the best of who we are to do something about it.

    Robert Pidgeon, Director of Student Relations, Centennial College

    Carlos is nothing short of a sensation on our campus! Since his first performance 5 years ago he has come back every year by popular demand from students and faculty. His performances are mesmerizing and have captivated the hearts and minds of everyone who has come to his shows. Carlos creates a revolutionary space for learning in both his workshops and shows through a compelling performance of poetry, drama, political insight and humour that inspires students to think, act and be agents of change in the world.

    Dr. Jasmin Zine, Professor of Sociology, Wilfrid Laurier University

    As much as Carlos is an excellent poet and performer, he is an even better person.  The honesty and kindness of his character shines through in his weighty words, and makes his performances that much more dynamic.  He puts his whole person, both the good and the bad, into his lyrics – and it’s this honesty that sets him apart, and allows his audiences to connect so well with him.

    Brian Rainville, Director of Ministry and Service, North Central College

    Carlos Andrés Gómez is explosive! His poems are fresh and original but more importantly they have heart and purpose. He performs with passion and takes you on an emotional journey that leaves you thinking and wanting more.

    Ubaldo Ocasio, Student, Bradley University

    “pellbinding, vulnerable, and powerful…His show makes you feel like he is on stage performing for millions and having a one-on-one conversation with you and your heart all at the same time.

    Jeffrey Perera, Founder/Chairperson, Ryerson White Ribbon Campaign (Ryerson University)
  • Books by Carlos Andrés Gómez

  • Media About Carlos Andrés Gómez

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and Availability

  • 212 572-2013
  • Carlos Andrés Gómez travels from New York, NY

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