Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Poets at Night

I: Hello all! Sorry again for the humongous gaps between posts: we try, we really do, but college really takes a toll on a girl's time. Anyway, as you guys may not know yet, I attend Howard University. It happens to be our Homecoming week, and so of course there's loads to see and do. I attended the Poetry Cipher at the beautiful Lincoln Theater on U Street last night, and I have to say it was phenomenal. Amid an ethereally designed stage set, complete with everlasting "flames," jewel toned lights, and of course, the fog machine, students and DC natives alike gathered to pour out their hearts. I had chills the entire night, which is usually not the case when you're sitting in a packed venue. There's just so much raw talent and intense emotion walking the campus around me, it's really a little inspiring.
    One of my favorites was a raspy voiced, Kimono-clad New Yorker named Queen Godis. Her effortless grace, wonderfully eclectic choice of attire, and her halfway between rap and poetry spit was captivating. (And of course, the woman had flawless skin- I could see it even from my somewhat nosebleedy seat.) Here's a video that I snagged from diversecityblog.wordpress.com. Of course, I happened to forget my camera in the rush to get out of my house- typical. 

      The second was a duo, comprised of D.C. Poets Ya-Ya Bey, and Rasheed Copeland that spun overlapping tales of women lost in a cycle of self deprecation and the men that promote it. Bey's charming mannerisms and eerie singing voice coupled with the emphatic, purposeful monotone of Copeland's rhymes were enough to bring the audience to raptures. Another video, this time pilfered from PenelopeAirplane on Youtube. :)

 The other performers included Omari Hardwick, Erin Rigsby, and Cameron Clarkson, all students here at HU with completely different topics and styles of rhyme, but all incredibly talented. There were reoccurring themes of self-respect, heartbreak, lovemaking, and broken homes. They had all experienced these things, lived to tell the tales so eloquently, lived to weave their stories through an unbelievable command of prose. 
      I think that's why I found it so beautiful: it was all so real and I could tell that it had come straight from the small collection of gifted hearts on that stage. 
         The headliner of it all was Talib Kweli, the outspoken New York-born rapper with some of the most relevant, truthful spits I've ever heard. He was down-to-Earth, still not big enough to be big-headed, and he had this boyish appreciation for our enthusiasm that I love in any artist, especially a rapper. In a time full of pimpin', gun slangin', booty ogling fools rapping simply to stay current, Kweli is truly a blessing. The refreshing burst of humbleness and true mastery of lyrics was honestly one of the best concert experiences of my life. 

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