Open mic spotlights students
The sounds of music and poetry filled the room, while colorful strobe lights flashed in the background, as students and community members stepped up to the microphone.
The Black Student Union collaborated with Curlfriendz, an organization that encourages men and women of color to embrace their natural hair, to host their first poetry and open mic night, which Kendall Manderville, president of BSU, said was part of their black-out week they have every spring.
“What we did was ask people in our local communities and on campus if they had any talents they wanted to portray here,” said Manderville. “If they wanted to sing, do a poem, slam poetry, even if they wanted to get up there are do prayer or anything spoken.”
Many students performed some of their original songs and poems that they wrote themselves about several different topics, but some did relate to the black community. Manderville said they did not want to limit students to only doing performances related to BSU.
“I feel like to make it in relation to the Black Student Union kind of limits people and expression is more like being limitless,” said Manderville.
Chelsea Brooks, vice president of BSU, said that the event did not go as she expected, and she was hoping that it flowed better. There were some technical difficulties and miscommunications, but Brooks said they tried their best to adapt.
“Of course, I think there are always things we can improve on, and I think we’ll take that into consideration with the next events we plan, but I think it was a good turnout, good artists, good artwork. I appreciated that,” said Brooks.
Imani Fortt, vice president of Curlfriendz, said it was cool to see several different talents on campus, but that Monique Harrison’s poem stood out to her the most.
“That was my favorite, only because I related to her poem on a personal level, that’s why I liked it so much,” said Fortt.
Harrison shared a few poems, but the first one touched on the topic of mental health. She said before reading her work that she found poetry was her way of doing her part in the black community, in terms of activism.
One of the local artists that came from Bridgeport to perform was Creepa Gang, which they said ‘Creepa’ stands for “creating reasonable efforts enticing people anywhere”, and ‘Gang’ stands for “getting attention non-stop globally.” Creepa Gang members David Smith, Javid Wilson and Jonathan Tucker performed several of their songs.
“I liked the fact that it had different tastes in music and how everyone there was open to hear everything. It’s not like they were prejudice to the rap music or the poetry. I just liked the audience,” said Tucker.
Creepa Gang said they heard about the open mic night because Tucker’s sister goes to Southern. Wilson said they like performing at colleges because it is an opportunity to vibe with new people. They said they liked the energy from the audience.
“I thought it was good, to be honest. I like how it brought all the artists together, different vibes, different creative minds,” said Wilson. “We got the poets, we got singers, we got the rappers, and I thought it brought a lot of creative ideas and different tastes of music to other’s ears.”
Photo Credit: Jessica Guerrucci