Mattresses in Knoxville, TN

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Mlily Mattresses Knoxville, TN

If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that nothing feels quite as good as a full night's sleep. When you sleep well, it sets the tone for the rest of your day. You wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go. It's almost like the world knows when you sleep well: your morning coffee hits just right, the sun shines just a little brighter, and you've got a little extra pep in your step.

Your friends and colleagues may notice, too, especially if good sleep is becoming a foreign concept for you. If it is, you're not alone - according to the CDC, people around the U.S. are in need of some serious zzzz's - more than 1 in 3 Americans aren't getting enough sleep. Perhaps even more shocking is that 40% of people fall asleep during the day once a month, according to the National Institutes of Health. Experts agree that most folks should get at least seven hours of sleep a night, but in reality, most Americans struggle to get five or six.

While some ultra-rich CEOs claim they only need a few hours of sleep a night, that's not true for most people. In fact, your body and brain will hate you if you're not getting enough shuteye. If you're feeling sluggish, unmotivated, snappy, achy, sick, or just down in the dumps, you may not be getting enough sleep. And it may not be your fault - that old, dilapidated innerspring mattress that you're sleeping on may be the true culprit.

Fortunately, Sleep King is here to help you get on the fast track to falling asleep with the ultimate comfort of MLILY mattresses in Knoxville, TN.

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  • We Have the Best Selection in Town, with 5 National Vendors
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Not sure why type of mattress is best for your body and sleeping style? Our knowledgeable, friendly mattress experts would be happy to help you get started on a better night's sleep. Why not swing by our showroom and check out our wide selection of MLILY mattresses? If your traditional innerspring setup is cutting into your sleep or even hurting your back, it's time to upgrade. After all, in a perfect world, you're spending 7-8 hours a night on your mattress, and you should get the best product for the price.

What are MLILY Mattresses in Knoxville TN?

When you rest on an MLILY mattress, you experience a cooler, deeper, more restorative sleep, so you can enjoy tomorrow to the fullest. Though MLILY is a global company, their local mattresses are made right here in the U.S., in facilities located in Arizona and South Carolina. Unlike many innerspring mattresses, MLILY mattresses are designed for a more supportive sleep while wicking away moisture and fighting off-putting odors.

While many large, mainstream brands you see on TV are built using outdated technologies, MLILY mattress and pillow products are produced using proprietary machinery built exclusively for MLILY. This machine uses precise cutting technology, ensuring that your mattress is the right size for your body and the right price for your budget. Plus, without ozone depletes, lead, mercury, or heavy metals, MLILY foams are manufactured to be safe for you, your spouse, kids, pets, and the environment. It doesn't get much better than that!

At Sleep King, we offer a number of different MLILY mattresses, including:

Mlily Mattresses Knoxville, TN
Foam Collection

The Foam Collection

These specialty foams give you superior sleeping support, long-lasting durability for years of sleep, and rejuvenating comfort to keep you rested and ready for the day.

The Hybrid Collection

The Hybrid Collection

These unique mattresses feature individually pocketed springs that transform traditional innerspring mattresses into a whole new level of comfort and rest.

The Kids Collection

The Kids Collection

Kids need great sleep too! This collection includes happy designs and endless flexibility, creating the perfect foundation for families to create memorable bedtime memories.

The PowerCool Sleep System

The PowerCool Sleep System

This fan-powered sleep system lets you experience sleep like never before, keeping you cool on even the hottest nights.

Have questions about MLILY mattresses? Contact Sleep King today or simply stop by our showroom to get the full rundown of this incredible brand. Whether you're a side sleeper with spine problems or a back sleeper not getting enough sleep, there's an MLILY mattress in Knoxville TN that can help. Remember, at Sleep King, we sell MLILY mattresses at a deep discount, so you can get a good night's rest without going into debt.

5 Ways to Tell If You Need a New Mattress

Take a moment and think about all the different things that have happened in your life over the last decade. Maybe you graduated college or got the job of your dreams. Perhaps you got married or moved to a new home in a new state. But if you're like the average person, one thing remained the same: your mattress. It might be surprising to hear, but the average lifespan of a mattress is between seven and ten years.

Letting go of your old, worn-out mattress might be hard, especially if it's served you well over time. As with most products, however, nothing lasts forever. But how do you know when it's time to ditch your old bed and choose a new MLILY mattress in , TN? Here are just a few of the most common reasons that customers tell us when it comes to buying a new bed.

Pungent Odor

Pungent Odor

Is your mattress starting to smell less like roses and more like the dirty socks in your hamper? When your mattress gets smelly, it's most often a result of mold, fungi, and mildew buildup over time. There's not too much you can do to avoid this from happening, especially if you live in a humid climate. So, the next time you change your sheets, give your mattress a sniff. If it smells funky, it's time to upgrade.

Saggy Mattress

Saggy Mattress

If your mattress has a noticeable sag, it's a surefire sign that you need to get a new mattress. Mattresses sag because, over time, coils begin to weaken, and memory foam loses elasticity. If you lay down on your bed for a moment, get up, and your bed sags instead of returning to its original appearance, your mattress is nearing the end of its life.



Waking up in pain is basically the an thesis of what a mattress is supposed to do. Due to wear and tear over time, even the best mattresses lose their ability to support your body. If you've been waking up with dull aches and pains in your hips, lower back, or shoulders, it's a red flag. Finding a comfortable, supportive mattress like an MLILY Fusion Lux is of utmost importance.

Tossing and Turning

Tossing and Turning

Constantly moving side-to-side or switching positions in the middle of the night is a great way to get your partner angry. It's also a big sign that you need to consider buying a new mattress. Like the supportiveness of our mattresses, general comfortability also lessens with usage and time. Here's the truth: You shouldn't need to toss and turn to get comfortable in your bed. If you are, your mattress has probably declined in quality and needs replacing. You shouldn't ever have to put your sleep health on the line for an uncomfortable mattress.

What are the Benefits of a Good Night's Sleep?

It might sound obvious, but the #1 reason why people choose to buy a new mattress is to get better sleep. Sleep, in and of itself, is a bit of a mystery - somehow, our bodies just know when it's time to clock out for the day and go to sleep. But if you've been sleeping on a poor quality or dilapidated mattress for long enough, you might have become used to the feeling of lackluster sleep. If that sounds like you, we're here to tell you that you're missing out.

Getting a great night's rest is one of life's little pleasures, but according to experts, it's also much more than that. If you swear by limiting your sleep to be more "productive," you may be doing yourself a disservice.

Better Heart Health

When you don't get enough sleep on a regular basis, it can lead to serious heart issues like high blood pressure and even heart attacks. Why? Because poor sleep causes your body to release cortisol. This stress hormone causes your heart to work harder. That's great in some situations, but long stretches of poor sleep are quite bad for your heart. Like other parts of your body, your heart needs to rest in order to function correctly.

Mlily Mattresses Knoxville, TN
Mlily Mattresses Knoxville, TN

Boosted Immune System

Getting a cold is never fun. But if it feels like someone slapped your head with an anvil when you get the sniffles, you may need better sleep. When you get great sleep, the proteins and immune cells in your body have a better chance of fighting off things like the common cold and flu. Your immune system also helps mitigate symptoms like runny noses, congestion, headaches, and more. Without the right sleep, symptoms from colds and cases of flu will be much worse.

Improved Mood

Do you roll out of bed and feel like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh? You're probably not getting great sleep. When you sleep well, you wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to attack the day. Your energy levels are high, making life's little annoyances more manageable. And when you're not annoyed, you're typically not angry. When you're not angry, you're only a half-step away from being happy. So, put on our PJs and get to bed early on an MLILY mattress in , TN. Your friends and family will thank you!

Mlily Mattresses Knoxville, TN
Mlily Mattresses Knoxville, TN

Increased Productivity

Earlier, we mentioned how some people purposely lose sleep so that they can be more productive. On the surface, that makes some sense since you have more hours in the day to dedicate to work. However, burning the midnight oil again and again is a bad idea. Eventually, you'll start making mistakes that an afternoon pot of coffee won't fix. Instead of cutting your sleep short, try getting more. Studies show that great sleep is linked to higher cognitive function and improved concentration. If you're not purposely limiting your sleep, it's time to ditch that old mattress and swing by Sleep King.

Supercharge Your Weight-Loss Efforts

Getting eight or more hours of sleep doesn't mean you're going to lose lbs. overnight. But getting better sleep can seriously help with your diet or weight loss goals. When you get poor sleep, your body creates a hormone called ghrelin that causes you to get hungry. It also lowers the amounts of leptin in your body, which is a hormone that lets you know you're full. With great sleep, these hormones remain balanced, so you don't wake up finding for a sugary bowl of Captain Crunch.

Mlily Mattresses Knoxville, TN
Mlily Mattresses Knoxville, TN

Choose Sleep King for MLILY Mattress Lowest Price Guaranteed!

If you're sick of mediocre sleep and want to take on tomorrow with a fresh mind, better sleep begins with MLILY mattresses in Knoxville TN. When you trust our mattress store in Knoxville for MLILY mattresses, you're already taking the first steps towards better sleeping habits.

From cold-to-the-touch mattresses like the Fusion Luxe to popular hybrid bed options like the Fusion Supreme Hybrid Mattress, Sleep King has got you covered. With a vast selection of bed frames, adjustable bases, bedroom decor, and even whole-home furnishings, you won't have to look anywhere else besides our showroom in Knoxville. One look at our prices, and you'll understand why we're South Carolina's go-to choice for premium mattresses like MLILY. Call or visit our location today to get started on your journey to healthier sleep.

Order Now phone-number (843) 822-7636

Latest News in Knoxville, TN

NCAA Tournament primer: Scouting Tennessee's opening opponent ... and beyond

No Sunday suspense here. The Tennessee Volunteers have now made it to the NCAA Tournament 5 straight times. It is now a given that when March rolls around, the Vols will hear their names called for the field of 68. This year, the Vols received a 4 seed in the East Region and will face 13th-seeded Louisiana in Orlando on Thursday.The problem is that come March, Tennessee struggles to live up to its seeding.In 2018, the Vols were a 3 seed and lost in Round 2. In 2019, they were a 2 seed and lost in the Sweet 16. They were a 5 see...

No Sunday suspense here. The Tennessee Volunteers have now made it to the NCAA Tournament 5 straight times. It is now a given that when March rolls around, the Vols will hear their names called for the field of 68. This year, the Vols received a 4 seed in the East Region and will face 13th-seeded Louisiana in Orlando on Thursday.

The problem is that come March, Tennessee struggles to live up to its seeding.

In 2018, the Vols were a 3 seed and lost in Round 2. In 2019, they were a 2 seed and lost in the Sweet 16. They were a 5 seed in 2021 and got knocked out in the 1st round. Last year, Tennessee was a 2 seed that fell in Round 2.

Rick Barnes is in his 8th season in Knoxville, but the Vols have gotten to the 2nd weekend of the NCAA Tournament only once during his tenure.

Here’s a look at Tennessee’s opening-round opponent and a prediction on how far it will advance in the NCAA Tournament.

How they got here

Tennessee online sports betting officially launched on November 1, 2020, and many of the largest sportsbooks are live and operating in the volunteer state. Tennessee is only one of a handful of SEC football states with legalized sports betting.

The Ragin’ Cajuns enter the NCAA Tournament with a 26-7 record, fresh off a Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship. This is the 7th time that Louisiana has made to the Big Dance, and its 1st appearance since 2014.

Forward Jordan Brown. He averages 19.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Brown is coming off a solid performance in the Sun Belt Tournament, averaging more than 15 points and 11 rebounds in those 3 games. He was named tournament MVP.

Brown is a finalist for the Lou Henson Player of the Year Award, which is given annually to the top player at a mid-major.

Louisiana is ranked in the top 40 nationally in scoring, averaging 78 points per game. Senior guard Greg Williams Jr., a St. John’s transfer, averages 13.1 points per game and leads the team in 3-pointers with 60. Sophomore guard Kentrell Garnett has 56 treys on the year. So this isn’t a “Jordan Brown or bust” squad. It can score.

There’s not a whole lot to go with here. The Cajuns beat Sun Belt regular-season champion Southern Miss 75-61 in Lafayette back on Jan. 5, then lost the rematch in Hattiesburg a month later.

Louisiana played only 1 ranked team this season, falling at then 7th-ranked Texas by 28 on Dec. 21. Tennessee beat Texas 82-71 on Jan. 28.

This is not a great defensive team. The Ragin’ Cajuns are ranked 146th in defensive efficiency by KenPom. They are also 284th in 3-point defensive percentage, so this might be an area the Vols can exploit. Santiago Vescovi and Tyreke Key are probably going to get some open looks from distance.

Louisiana is playing well right now, and Tennessee … isn’t. But the Vols have too much talent on the roster to lose this game. The Vols get to the 2nd round with a 67-58 victory.

The Vols’ bread and butter is defense. They are one of the best teams in the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 58 points a game. Their best bet might be to win a game ugly, much like they did against Arkansas a couple of weeks ago. They were forced to play bully ball that night because point guard Zakai Zeigler tore his ACL. UT misses Zeigler desperately.

If the Vols get to Round 2, they’ll play the winner of 5th-seeded Duke vs. 12th-seeded Oral Roberts. Those teams are coming off tournament titles, with the Blue Devils winning the ACC and the Golden Eagles taking the Summit League crown. Each looks good right now. Both would be seeded lower than the Vols but would present a tough matchup.

Should Tennessee play on Saturday, I don’t see the Vols getting past either the Blue Devils or the Golden Eagles.

Why this Tennessee softball pitching staff could be the key to the Lady Vols' return to greatness

Ashley Rogers only needed one more out.There was a runner on third off a walk and No. 7 Tennessee softball was scoreless in the third inning with Ole Miss on Friday. But...

Ashley Rogers only needed one more out.

There was a runner on third off a walk and No. 7 Tennessee softball was scoreless in the third inning with Ole Miss on Friday. But Rogers wasn't fazed. She struck out the next batter swinging to keep the game scoreless.

In the bottom of that inning, senior Kiki Milloy crushed her 11th home run of the season over the centerfield wall at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium. It was a grand slam for Milloy, and it gave the Lady Vols a 4-0 lead.

Rogers ended the game with her ninth strikeout and notched her second individual no-hitter of her career. With two solo more homers from Milloy and junior Zaida Puni, Tennessee won 6-0 over Ole Miss (13-9, 0-1 SEC) to kick off SEC play.

1,000 WINS FOR WEEKLY:Tennessee softball coach Karen Weekly joins Pat Summitt in 1,000-win club

THE LEGEND RETIRES:Monica Abbott, the greatest pitcher in Tennessee softball history, announces retirement

PITCHING ADDITION:Tennessee softball adds experience with transfer, MAC Pitcher of the Year Payton Gottshall

"I just wanted to go out there and just focus on one pitch at a time, not make the game too big, especially this being the first (SEC) game, it's really easy to get amped up," Rogers said. "I just wanted to go out there and just be myself, do my thing."

A healthy Rogers leads the best pitching staff in the country at Tennessee (18-1, 1-0). After 19 games, the staff of six leads the nation with a .55 ERA – they've only allowed eight extra-base hits this season. The group has totaled 148 strikeouts over 115 innings pitched.

Tennessee returns junior Ryleigh White and sophomore Nicola Simpson, but the newcomers have earned their way into the starting rotation with Rogers. Senior transfer Payton Gottshall and freshman Karlyn Pickens have elevated the staff early in the season.

Tennessee's depth and talent this season may finally be enough to get it over the hump and back to the NCAA super regionals for the first time since 2019 – and beyond.

"It's huge," UT coach Karen Weekly said of the pitching depth. "This game's called fastpitch for a reason. If you've got a lot of pitching, that makes a world of difference."

Adding a veteran in Payton Gottshall

Gottshall came to Tennessee to play with Rogers.

She was one of the best pitchers in the transfer portal this offseason. Gottshall was coming off winning 2022 MAC Pitcher of the Year at Bowling Green, and she was looking for a deeper pitching staff to join.

"Coming from Bowling Green, I didn't really have much help," Gottshall said. "Knowing that I was coming in my fourth year, I wanted to make sure that I had other people with me that I knew could really hold it down. That was a big part of it."

Her and Rogers have similar pitching styles: they both have elite spin and can attack batters to minimize pitch counts.

Weekly said the competition has been great for the pitching staff, but there's no selfishness, either. The depth has also been a relief for Rogers, who has struggled with injuries throughout her Tennessee career.

"A deep pitching staff is allowing us to take innings off (Rogers), which really helps her, and all of them, mentally as much as it does physically," Weekly said. "Just not feeling like the pressure is on you every day. So I think we're seeing that in how she's throwing, and I thought she was really sharp tonight."

The first since Monica Abbott

Pickens is only a freshman, but she's one of few pitchers in the nation who can throw 74 mph, move the ball and change speeds, Weekly said.

Pickens was the No. 5 prospect in the 2022 class, and she's already put her name in the record books. She threw her first career perfect game against Appalachian State on March 5 – she's the first Tennessee freshman to do so since the legendary Monica Abbott.

"It was a cool moment," Pickens said. "To be honest, I try not to look at the big-picture things, I just take one pitch at a time. It was more just about the team getting the win, is what I care about."

The game before that, she pitched a shutout against No. 4 Clemson. Pickens only allowed four hits and struck out eight, and Weekly said it gave her the confidence to pitch against anyone.

"Dominant, just absolutely dominant," Rogers said of Pickens. "We've learned from each other and we push each other to be better, and it's just been so awesome to see all of her hard work pay off, even this early. I know she's got amazing things ahead of her, she hasn't even begun to reach her full potential."

Bracketology Update: Where Tennessee stands on the eve of Selection Sunday

Missouri outscored Tennessee 10-2 over the final two minutes Friday in the SEC Tournament quarterfinal round, bouncing the Vols from Bridgestone Arena and starting the countdown to Selection Sunday.The 79-71 loss to Mizzou was Tennessee seventh loss over its last 12 games, dating back to February 1, but head coach Rick Barnes said after the game that he’s still not worried about his team.The Vols have a chance i...

Missouri outscored Tennessee 10-2 over the final two minutes Friday in the SEC Tournament quarterfinal round, bouncing the Vols from Bridgestone Arena and starting the countdown to Selection Sunday.

The 79-71 loss to Mizzou was Tennessee seventh loss over its last 12 games, dating back to February 1, but head coach Rick Barnes said after the game that he’s still not worried about his team.

The Vols have a chance in the NCAA Tournament and that’s all they can ask for.

“We’re going to be fine,” Barnes said during his postgame press conference in Nashville. “The biggest prize that we want to go after is still out there … if you ask me what I’m thinking of right now, one word it would be this team has been very resilient.

“There’s a lot of teams that would like to be where we are right now. There’s a lot of teams that won’t look forward to a matchup with us. We’re going to learn from this game, as we did the last couple, and we’ll be ready next week.”

Where the Vols (23-10) are right now is stuck in limbo. They’ll likely be either one of the final teams on the No. 3 seed line on Selection Sunday or one of first teams on the No. 4 seed line.

But the opinions are split. Here’s where Tennessee was projected in the most recent bracket updates late Friday night and into Saturday morning:

Updated bracketology 24 hours before the NCAA Tournament field is announced

Tennessee stuck as a No. 3 seed in Joe Lunardi’s ESPN Bracketology update early Saturday morning. Lunardi dropped the Vols to the No. 12 overall seed, the last team on the No. 3 seed line, and moved them from the East Region (New York) to the Midwest Region (Kansas City).

Lunardi had Tennessee matched up against No. 14 Southern Utah in Greensboro, N.C., with the two teams playing opposite of No. 6 San Diego State and a pair of First Four No. 11 seeds in Pittsburgh and Arizona State.

Lunardi’s No. 2 seeds, in order, were UCLA, Texas, Arizona and Baylor. The other threes ahead of Tennessee were Marquette, Gonzaga and UConn. The No. 4 seeds were Xavier, Kansas State, Virginia and Indiana.

Indiana played Penn State in the Big Ten semifinals Saturday afternoon and Xavier faces Marquette for the Big East title and Virginia plays Duke in the ACC championship Saturday night.

The Vols dropped one spot in the NET rankings, from No. 3 to No. 4, after the loss to Missouri. Tennessee is 7-7 in Quad 1 games, 3-3 in Quad 2 and a combined 12-0 in Quad 3 and Quad 4.

Up Next: Selection Sunday, CBS, 6 p.m. ET

Jerry Palm’s updated bracket for CBS Sports has the Vols as a No. 4 seed in the East Region, also starting in Greensboro, and facing No. 13 Yale. Tennessee in Palm’s bracket is opposite of No. 5 Texas A&M and No. 12 Oral Roberts.

USA Today as of Friday also had Tennessee as a No. 4 seed in Greensboro, facing No. 13 VCU and opposite of No. 5 Virginia and No. 12 College of Charleston.

The Washington Post has the Vols as a No. 4 seed in Greensboro, facing Rick Pitino’s Iona in the first round, opposite of No. 5 Iowa State and No. 12 Oral Roberts.

The NCAA Tournament bracket will be revealed beginning at 6 p.m. Eastern Time Sunday on CBS.

“Tennesseeis going to be a No. 3 or a No. 4 seed,” The Post’s Patrick Stevens wrote, “but whatever the committee’s verdict, the Volunteers are 5-7 since the start of February and lost guard Zakai Zeigler to an ACL tear during that stretch. They don’t look like a team that will last long in the NCAA tournament.”

Lady Vols vs St. Louis in NCAA Tournament 2023: Our March Madness prediction is in

The March Madness bracket is in, and Lady Vols basketball is hosting for the third straight year under Kellie Harper.Tennessee (23-11) was rewarded with a No. 4 seed...

The March Madness bracket is in, and Lady Vols basketball is hosting for the third straight year under Kellie Harper.

Tennessee (23-11) was rewarded with a No. 4 seed after playing the No. 1 strength of schedule in the country. The Lady Vols will face No. 13 seed St. Louis (17-17) in the first round Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena.

A win would match the Lady Vols with No. 5 Iowa State (22-9) or No. 12 Toledo (28-4) in the second round on Monday.

Here's what you need to know about Tennessee's NCAA first-round matchup:

A SMALL SCARE:Why Lady Vols Rickea Jackson, Justine Pissott had a scare during Selection Sunday show

KEY COMING BACK:Tamari Key will return for another season with Lady Vols basketball after losing senior season

SEC TOURNAMENT RUN:How Lady Vols' SEC Tournament run left Tennessee even more confident for March Madness

St. Louis shocked Atlantic 10 with tournament title

St. Louis earned an automatic bid with its 91-85 overtime win over UMass – which Tennessee beat in November 74-65.

The Billikens challenged themselves in nonconference play, losing to Missouri State, Baylor and Missouri. They went 10-6 in conference play, finishing tied for third. UMass and Rhode Island – who were regular-season co-champions – were favorites to win the conference and tournament to advance to the NCAA Tournament.

St. Louis comes into the NCAA Tournament with wins over St. Joseph's and Rhode Island en route to its Atlantic 10 Tournament title and avenging regular-season losses.

St. Louis offense favors 3-pointers

The Billikens take 19.3 shots from behind the arc per game.

Leading scorer Kyla McMakin has taken 36.9% of their 3-pointers, going 62-for-242. The senior guard averages 17.4 points on 31.6% shooting from the field. McMakin scored 27 points in the tournament championship.

St. Louis has a strong post presence with 6-foot-5 Brooke Flowers, who adds 12 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Flowers is a force on defense, tallying 128 blocks her senior season and recoding 15 double-doubles. The Billikens have two high-level playmakers on the roster as well. Senior guard Julia Martinez leads the team with 159 assists and Kennedy Calhoun has 133.

Tennessee will look to dominate boards, force turnovers

St. Louis is a good rebounding team, averaging 40.3 this season, but it only outrebounds opponents by 0.9 rebounds.

Tennessee averages 42.7 rebounds, but it outrebounds opponents by an average of 9.8 boards. The Lady Vols have size on their side, and they should dominate the glass in this matchup.

St. Louis is a high-turnover team, averaging 17.3. But it also forces an average of 17.1 and scores an average of 17.4 off them. Tennessee will have to be disciplined in not letting St. Louis stick around because of turnovers and instead use it to its advantage.

Score prediction

Tennessee 82, St. Louis 65: No one except South Carolina and LSU has been able to hold back the Tennessee offense in the last eight games, and don't expect St. Louis to do it. The Lady Vols will start March Madness with a dominant win at home.

Maker City: Jonathan Clark brings the Big Island to Big Ears

For the Knoxville News SentinelJonathan “Courageous” Clark knew he wanted to be a performing artist from the age of 13, when he was selected by The Carpetbag Theatre to become a member of their T.R.Y. Youth Theatre Ensemble.Though he’d won roles in school plays before, the experience with T.R.Y. was a lifechanger. “Seeing people of color in leading roles and doing solos -- seeing kids younger than I was, who looked like me and talked like me, leading the way and owning a stage was a brand ...

For the Knoxville News Sentinel

Jonathan “Courageous” Clark knew he wanted to be a performing artist from the age of 13, when he was selected by The Carpetbag Theatre to become a member of their T.R.Y. Youth Theatre Ensemble.

Though he’d won roles in school plays before, the experience with T.R.Y. was a lifechanger. “Seeing people of color in leading roles and doing solos -- seeing kids younger than I was, who looked like me and talked like me, leading the way and owning a stage was a brand new world for me. I really believed I could do that, too.”

Clark is now the executive/artistic director of the Carpetbag Theatre, a member of the Mayor’s Maker Council, a board member of the Network of Ensemble Theaters, co-chair of the board of directors of Alternate ROOTS, and an inaugural member of the Intercultural Leadership Institute (ILI), for which he was selected in 2017.

It’s through that last organization that he’s had his most recent life-changing experience. Clark has just returned from Honolulu, Hawaii, where he led poetry and performance-related workshops to schoolchildren K-12 in indigenous-based charter schools.

As part of an artist exchange through the Pa’I foundation, which seeks to preserve and perpetuate Native Hawaiian arts and culture, Clark spent ten days teaching and facilitating ways for indigenous Hawaiian youth to enrich their lives and the lives of others through the art of the spoken word.

“I’ve honestly never had so many workshops with so many students so engaged, wanting to write and wanting to perform. It was a true artist exchange.” One of the brightest and most eager students was a special needs child. “He stood up, he read his own original poetry. They have a word, ‘mana,’ that translates to ‘power’ that you speak with. They consider the power resting inside your bones.” Clark was profoundly affected. “I’m giving something to them but they’re giving something to me too.”

He immersed himself in the culture, history and geography of Hawaii through a very special connection, made last December via Zoom while the exchange was first facilitated. “I was being led by a new friend of mine -- Kauwila Mahi. He is indigenous Hawaiian and is now working on his PhD in political science. He’s a self-proclaimed history geek so he and I got along just fine!”

Mahi is also an accomplished hip hop artist -- not only in English, but in his native Hawaiian language. Knoxvillians will be able to hear him when he comes to the Big Ears Festival later this month, fulfilling the second leg of the artist exchange.

“I feel like we’re getting way more than they did!” Clark says with a laugh and his characteristic humility. He plans to return the many favors Mahi extended to him -- taking him around the region, visiting the Highlander Research and Education Center and more. “The biggest thing I want to do is get him with [local music producers] Good Guy Collective. He’s never had real hip hop production. I’m trying to get him with Jarius Bush; he can create a beat pretty quickly.”

Mahi will participate and perform in the Big Ears Festival’s free parade on Saturday, April 1, kicking off from the Old City at 1 p.m. and transitioning into a street party at the Southern Railway Station with a mixture of local and Big Ears musical acts, kids’ activities, food trucks and more. “Just be on the lookout for the stage,” says Clark. He’ll be there too, cheering for his friend.


The Maker City is the greater Knoxville-area community of makers, artists, creatives, and small-scale manufacturers and supporting entities. Led by the Mayor’s Maker Council, we facilitate collaborative partnerships, programming, and opportunities in an effort to create a sustainable creative community. For more info, visit us at


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