Spoken-word event will help students find voice and connect, host says.
By Grayce Trevino
Students can recite their original poetry, perform stand-up comedy, play music or sing at Black History Month’s Open Mic Poetry event 11 a.m.-noon Feb. 21 in the cafeteria of Loftin Student Center.
Expressing themselves for an audience can enhance their confidence, organizers say.
Any student may participate, but students can ensure a spot by emailing organizer Dee Dixon at firstname.lastname@example.org or by signing up on the BHM OpenMic/SpokenWord Facebook page.
There will be door prizes for performers and free pizza for students.
Students may perform anything from poetry to comedy to music. There is not a set time limit.
Dixon says Open Mic Poetry will “introduce students to spoken word.” According to The Poetry Foundation’s Glossary Terms, spoken word is “characterized by rhyme, repetition, improvisation and word play.”
Students usually perform pieces that are “relevant to the time and climate,” Dixon said. The pieces are usually statement pieces.
Open Mic Poetry has also been known to “boost people’s confidence,” Dixon said.
Local poets Tasha Greene and Paul Wilkinson will be hosting Open Mic Poetry as they have the past couple of years.
Greene, who has been performing since 2010, says many students “express their views on politics, family, prejudice. It is a great platform to express themselves.
“Poetry in general gives an opportunity to express themselves … like fiction writing,” Greene said.
In her experience, many students are frightened of being on stage, but many also overcome their fears.
Open mic is important to Black History Month because “it’ll give us an opportunity that gives us a perspective that is different from our own,” Greene said.
“Spoken word is the vehicle that has been used to pass down tradition, history,” Dixon said. “When people couldn’t write, when it wasn’t safe to write, there was the call and response.
“There’s power in the spoken word, it can move people, move people to act, move people to not act. There’s times when the spoken word is more than a performance. Sometimes the audience becomes part of the spoken word. … Sometimes they are a part of it.”
For more information on the event, call Dixon at 210-486-0598.