By Cache Cantrell
Senior Staff Writer
Music played and the room began to fill with students gathering to watch other students and members of the community showed off their poetic and musical talents during the poetry slam/open mic night in the Roost hosted by Black Men on Campus and Black Women on Campus.
Volunteers took to the stage, some getting personal and others providing comedic relief. Junior psychology major Tenika Avila recited her self-written poem and gave the audience a glimpse of her personal struggles with lupus entitled “Lupus.” Sophomore history major Brent McClanahan II took a lighter approach and shared an audio version of a spoken work entitled “From Rat to Ratchet,” explaining the evolution of the hood rat to the ratchet female. As soon as McClanahan read the title the audience broke out in laughter, most already knowing what the poem was about.
LeRhonda Lofton, a member of the community, took the audience to church singing “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” a song she said she sings to help her get through tough times in her life. The audience enjoyed her singing so much; when there were gaps in the program some audience members suggested an encore from Lofton.
While some students recited works of their favorite poet, others used the poetry slam as a chance to bring life to their own words. Senior public administration major Joseph Johnson performed a rap he titled “A Petition to the Rich” and to show his support for Black music producers he shared music from his blog theworldofeternalrelfection.wordpress.com. Senior psychology major and author Shamir Griffin also shared some of his work, including “Transcendence” and “I Wanna.”
Lawrence Lyons, senior music major, sang and Paxton Garner, youth minister of Younglife Youth ministry, recited a poem to commemorate Black History month. Lyons, after his first performance of “Let’s Stay Together” by the Rev. Al Green, sang the freedom song “We Shall Overcome” as the audience joined in. Garner’s poem titled “Are You Free?” was given to make audience members think about the fact that their freedom wasn’t free. “Is freedom free or does freedom come with responsibility?” asked Garner. “I want freedom with emancipation I want freedom with a proclamation,” he said in closing.
The closing events of Black History month include the Natural Hair Panel tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the University Grill and Food for the Soul Thursday evening at 6 p.m. in the multipurpose room in Student Union.