Prophet: The Order of the Lyricist

7NMS| Marjani Forté-Saunders + Everett Saunders
Past event


A four-year archival, research, and multi-genre storytelling project on the life journey of a lyricist, Prophet: The Order of the Lyricist, illuminates the distinctive practices, systems, philosophies, and political ideologies that have shaped hip-hop’s emcee/lyricists. The Lyricist is an Order of craft, of prose, oration, and exposé. Through the coming-of-age story of Everett as “Mental,” the emcee, audiences are invited to enter a world of courage, self-determination, and devotion. Using text, sound, film, and performance, Prophet is a critical and embodied offering to the scholarly, civic, and ancient bodies of radical Black expression.


Please note: Prophet: The Order of the Lyricist contains loud sounds.

The program includes a post-performance talk on September 22 and 23 with the 7NMS Creative Team. Moderated by Hip Hop musicologist and founder of the Apt. 5B podcast, Rahaman “Kil” Kilpatrick.

When Saunders speaks, it is with the inherited legacies of a collective past; he has both the commanding voice of a preacher at his pulpit and the natural, rhythmic cadence of a trained emcee.

Amanda Chen, The Brooklyn Rail

This engagement of 7NMS| Marjani Forté Saunders + Everett Saunders is made possible through the ArtsCONNECT Program of Mid Atlantic Arts with support from the National Endowment of the Arts.

Prophet: The Order of the Lyricist is co-commissioned by Abrons Arts Center and Kelly Strayhorn Theater. Prophet: The Order of the Lyricist is a recipient of: The New England Foundation 2021 National Dance Production & Touring Award, the 2020 New Music USA Award, the 2020 MAP Fund, National Performance Network - 2023 Documentation & Storytelling Fund, and The Princess Grace Foundation USA - Special Project Grant.

about the artists

7NMS| Marjani Forté-Saunders + Everett Saunders

7NMS| Marjani Forté-Saunders + Everett Saunders: Operating in California and New York, 7NMS is the public emergence of Marjani Forté-Saunders and Everett Saunders’ work as a collaborative team, radically engaging art as a medium of elevation, healing, and futurity. With seven award-winning projects in 10 years, 7NMS tote a revolutionary commitment to the Black radical imagination. Prophet is an awardee of the 2020 MAP Fund and 2020 New Music USA Award, and the National Dance Project Production and Touring grant 2021. Marjani is a 2019 FCA Fellowship awardee, a three-time Bessie award winner, and an inaugural recipient of the Jerome Hill, Dance USA and UBW Choreographic Center Fellowships. Everett is the composer and thought partner behind the award-winning and internationally touring production, Memoirs of a … Unicorn, and a two-time New Music USA Awardee. His recent work can be found as composer/sound designer on Jaamil Kosoko’s Chameleon, Mayfield Brooks’ Whale Fall, and Urban Bush Women’s Hair & Other Stories (2018). 

While incubating Prophet through our fall ’20 and winter ’21 satellite residencies in our newly erected home studios, 7NMS has worked in close collaboration with co-visionaries d. Sabela grimes (movement composer and sound archivist), Meena Murugesan (filmmaker and media designer), and Marc Winston (photographer), producing Prophet’s latest filmic iteration, commissioned by dance center Jacob’s Pillow.

Instagram / Website

cast & creative team

Choreographer and Performer: Marjani Forté-Saunders

Writer, Composer, Sound Designer, Performer: Everett Saunders

Musician/Co-Collaborator: Chris Ryan Williams

Dancer: Marcella Lewis

Directorial Consultant: d. Sabela grimes

Media Designer, Filmmaker, Thought Partner: Meena Murugesan

Dramaturg, Literary Coach: Sharon Bridgforth, Omi Osun Joni L. Jones

Community Engagement, Thought Partner: Rahaman “Kil” Kilpatrick

Costume Design: KAART Gallery

Documentation and Storytelling: Rashaud Michel

Creative Producer: Mars Garcia

Production Manager, Lighting Designer: John D. Alexander