More students line up for free pizza than to participate.
By Samantha L. Alonso
Music education freshman Marc Lopez didn’t just read his poem “Labels” Feb. 21 at this college’s open mic event.
He rapped it.
“Rude jokes and rude folks being called fat and ugly,” Lopez rapped into the microphone in the cafeteria of Loftin Student Center.
About 20 students listened and watched as they ate their lunch.
Lopez said his poem was written from his life experiences. The poem talks about bullying in schools.
“I believe poems are rap beats,” Lopez said.
He was one of four people who performed at the event, hosted by Paul Wilkinson, founder of Blah Poetry Spot, for Black History Month.
Hip-hop music played between performances.
Wilkinson encouraged students to get up and participate in the event, but only a few students stepped up to the mic.
“The more opportunity, the more people will participate … so instead of doing it once a year, doing it more often; the more people see you, the more they will break out of their own shell and try it,” Wilkinson said.
Students seemed most interested in participating when Wilkinson announced there was free pizza. When he did, about 30 students lined up immediately.
The event happens once a year on campus during Black History Month.
Prizes were given to the students who participated. One of the prizes included a book written and signed by Wilkinson titled “Underground Kings.”
Local poet Tasha Greene co-hosted the event and also read a poem.
“No matter how hot this water gets, I shiver because there is no one to block the cold air,” Greene read.
One student timidly sang “West Coast” by Lana Del Rey. She stood close to the microphone, but her voice was still little more than a whisper.
Wilkinson encourages all students to find their voices by performing at open mic events.
“It brings culture to the school, but it also shows diversity within the student body itself, so I think all students should get on stage and do something,” Wilkinson said.