By Joanna Tavares
Wit and emotion played key roles in Wednesday night’s Spoken Word Contest.
As part of the Black History month events, the Spoken Word Contest gave performers a chance to get in touch with their creative sides and speak from their souls. Though two performers were unable to show up due to car trouble, the host, Bethany Springer, was able to coax some audience members, and even one of the judges, into reading some of their own poetry.
Gregory Marseille went to the contest to watch and listen to some amazing talent. Little did he know that he would soon become the talent.
“I’m not a very outspoken person in like normal events,” says Marsielle. “I tend to write poetry as a way to express myself. I like speaking because my voice is heard behind the mic.”
Marseille read a remixed edition of a poem he found on Youtube called, “Poetic Bloodline.”
One of the judges, Mariama Toffa, explained before the show what she was going to be looking for. “Creativity, passion, feeling. You know, get into it.”
Toffa was asked to be a judge for the contest and was excited for the offer. “You get to see different sides and different aspects of different cultures,” says Toffa. “It’s coming from them so you get to see the uniqueness.”
Spoken word is an artistic word-based poem. The performers spoke on topics from mental slavery, life and school.
“There are so many mediums to express yourself,” says Janaea Eads, an audience member and girlfriend to the emcee. “I definitely think spoken word is one of the most beautiful.”
The emcee for the night, Matt Gillis, carried the show through its delays and gaps in the program. Yet he remained positive that the event was effective. “Spoken word is great for cultures,” says Gillis. “It brings people out to a performance standpoint to do a performance generally accepted.”
Danielle Meyers performed her piece called, “Proclaiming Emancipation.” Her piece focused on mental slavery and how people must free their minds of the societal influences to change themselves.
“I use black people as a microcosm to the community at large,” say Meyers. “Everybody at large says that we all need to change, we all need to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery. What I wish to do with this is just influence people, just with my words of encouragement.”
The winners of the contest will be announced on Thursday, Feb. 27, at the Black History month closing ceremonies. Along with the top prize of $100, winners will perform on air with WUSB 90.1FM radio.
Isobel Breheny, general manager at WUSB and co-organizer of the night’s event, says, “The students will get good exposure for their work and it brings the competition up another level.”