K.L. Shanks a.k.a. Queen Unique was raised in a small city where creativity such as the arts and poetry was taboo. It was not “hip” to be artsy and different in Fort Myers, Florida. While the children in her neighborhood wanted to play house, sports and to dance… Katrina wanted to play school, read and write. She was obviously cut from a different fabric and this soon made her an outcast to the other kids and her social involvement decreased. Eventually influenced by the majority, Katrina conformed to her friends and neighbors beliefs and suppressed this divine gift that was granted to her by the Creator.
After experiencing many ups and downs in life, Katrina secretly continued to use poetry as her private outlet and as a result, her talent continued to flourish. In late 2005 (as corny as it may sound) Katrina had hit rock bottom and resorted to a simple prayer over a fortune cookie. Her faith in God and herself had been tarnished to a point where she believed in only what was tangible. She asked the Lord to make the paper in that cookie deliver any message that she may not be hearing from Him because her senses had been impaired by worldly things. When she opened that cookie, it read, “Go Confidently in the Direction of Your Dreams”. This simple epiphany helped her to emerge from her shell, restore her faith into the “Invisible to do the Impossible” and finally release her passion to the masses. Public reaction has since agreed and Queen Unique has published her first book of poetry and thoughts entitled “A Mile in My Heels: A Personal Compilation of Wordplay”, started her own vocal and visual arts (poetry, singing, comedy, etc) variety venue 239 Acoustic Affairs (winner of the National Poetry Awards 2010 Open Mic of the Year) which she plans to expand to other cities across Florida & broadcast TV, written articles for numerous magazines, started an anti-gossip blog covering only topics that appease her intellect called The Queen’s Pen, read & hosted many poetry venues and is currently working on her debut spoken word C.D. trilogy (three parts: Spirit, Heart and Body) “Queen Speaks” all while being an involved mother of two. Katrina has been writing since the tender age of nine and her key weapons are the power of her voice, her unabashed honesty, confidence, style and uninhibited viewpoint. Her key weapons are the power of her voice, her unabashed honesty, confidence, style and uninhibited viewpoint. Queen is married to reality so she can compose a diverse array of prose ranging from love and sex to heritage and black history… from religion and politics to life and parenting, therefore; there is no limit to her subject matter.
Ms. Shanks’ #1 passion is spreading Autism awareness in the African American community and has established the Cameron is My Prince Fund via the Autism Society of America in honor of her younger brother who suffers from severe Autism. is the sole Florida senate member and 2009 Poet of the Year for Poetry Over Music, as well as the National Black Writers and Artist Association, Black on Black Rhyme, The Black Poetry Café and is the hostess of “Queen Speaks Radio” which is an uncut LIVE online talk show broadcasting on Mondays at 9:30pm EST. In 2007, Queen Unique started a poetry & arts venue in her hometown of Fort Myers, Florida for poets, singers, painters, comedians and more becoming the first of its kind in the history of Southwest Florida. She also plays a lead role in many other companies such as her fashion design, personal shopping and stylist company, “Her Highness Images”, her freelance writing company “Queen’s Pen” and is also in the process of implementing a women’s book club “Erudite Aphrodite”. Queen Unique is currently working on the second book, “The Tracks of Life: Inside-Out”, a fiction novel, “Chastity Belt” and a children’s motivational short-story series, “This Little Light of Mine” with illustrations by her daughters. Katrina is a self motivated woman focused on her goals and manages to do these things all while being a very involved mother. Queen was a featured speaker at The Bridge Youth Center, has written articles for magazines, done various radio interviews and was recognized as TimBookTu’s writer of the month for March 2008. Queen Unique has been highlighted in many capacities including but not limited to Neo-Lystically Speaking’s Wassup Wednesday newsletter and SOMSistahs “In the Spotlight” blog feature. Katrina is fund-raiding coordinator for Riddim Runway (an annual reggae & fashion festival) and PR/press contact for FloLympics (a hip hop appreciation society featuring freestyle rap competitions created to ensure minimal use of written or rehearsed lyrics through a series of improvisation based events) and is currently a founding member of the 239 Winner’s Circle LLC.