Friday night, the Black Student Association hosted a poetry slam titled “Black Artists Matter” in Douglass basement.
Around quarter to seven, Chadwick Smith, the president of BSA, got up and introduced the event. He said it was being hosted by BSA alongside the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) and Word of Mouth. Smith described it as a time for oppressed voices to be heard as well as a space to step out of the box that the dominant white power has put these voices in.
Smith introduced one of the presidents for Word of Mouth, Bird Jackson ’18, who introduced the three scheduled performers.
As this was happening a notebook circulated the room to give the audience a chance to sign up to perform their own work, and at least 15 people signed up.
Those who participated gave powerful testimonies of black culture and touched on many different issues. For example, D’Khorvillyn Tyus (Khorkie) ’19 performed two poems dealing with white perceptions of black people. The first dealt with white teachers and the differential treatment she feels in class in comparison to her white peers and the second was about her feelings on being called white by those who think they know her.
Jackson and Caira Lee ’16, the vice president of Word of Mouth, then performed a poem together addressing how black girls are perceived by black boys. Their poem spoke directly to the men who don’t date black girls and how that behavior makes black girls feel.
Kevin Compliment ’18 then to performed a poem he described beforehand as a persona piece. His poem came from the point of view of a white cop, new to the job but high on power. Compliment’s poem was delivered intensely.
After many students, a father from the audience also went up. He had a poem prepared that responded to an earlier one and spoke to black boys. In his poem he reflected upon the difficulties that come with race for black males in modern culture.
Though only a few of the performers were highlighted here, all were engaging. Black Artists Matter highlighted crucial issues in an engrossing and moving manner.