Brenton Zola is a first-generation writer, thinker and performance artist. Informed by an upbringing from Congolese immigrants and travel to nearly 70 nations, his creative work blends narrative, philosophy and history to examine how we build ethical societies. His professional journey began at a meditation and martial arts school in Asia, which led to work with disenfranchised populations in the region. Since then, Brenton has worked with disenfranchised communities everywhere from the slums of Kenya to the favelas of Rio.
Brenton was an inaugural LinkedIn Creator Accelerator Member, an inaugural Playwright Fellow at Denver Center for the Performing Arts and an inaugural Fellow at the Lighthouse Writers’ Workshop Writing-in-Color retreat. His poem “Multiplicity” is one of the official poems of the City of Denver and his work has appeared in Boulevard Magazine, Newsweek, American Theater, LA Times, INC, PBS, Prism and NPR member-station WBUR Boston, among others.
Brenton also collaborates with cultural institutions to highlight salient social issues. He collaborated with the Norman Rockwell Museum’s “Imagining Freedom” exhibit and contributed to Union Hall’s nationally curated exhibits of writers and visual artists: Poems for Our Country and Words for Our Country. He also performed at the 5th UN Environment Assembly, where 193 nations adopted the most important resolution since the Paris Climate Accord. He also serves as a curator for the Tilt West arts journal and is a former TEDx speaker and organizer.
“I come from a long line of Congolese leaders. My great grandfather, Charles Kisolokele, was the first person named to Patrice Lumumba’s free government. His father, Simon Kimbangu, led Africa’s most successful anti-colonial spiritual movement, now followed by 25 million people. And further up the line is Kimpa Vita, the mother of African democracy, burned at the stake.”