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Last night I attended SLAM! Changing the World with Words, a poetry show brought to Roosevelt University, by SPEED Chicago.

I'm in my second year of the MBA program at Roosevelt and have never made it to any school function or event - But I spotted the above poster when I left class last Saturday, and when I saw the line up, I knew I had to be there!

"Do not just sit back - But lean forward and pay attention! With your ears, your hearts, and your mind...."
- last night's host

SPEED did not half step when putting this event together - The night featured poets, Isis, Alvin Lau, and the Dynamic Duo (Ken Arkind and Panama Soweto) - An incredibly talented group of word artisans who have traveled the country with their rhymes. From making appearances on HBO's well known "Def Poetry" to headlining numerous shows, and claiming Poetry Slam Champion titles, this group displayed nothing but pure skill! And with their poems covering a range of topics, they had a little something for everybody.

Isis hit us with a thought provoking piece about the status of hip-hop that my sister would have loved! "Hip Hop is a feminine space..." she said as she prefaced her poem. "..Because men are drawn and attracted to it. They become passionate about it, and want to conquer it."

Hmmm...she totally had me thinking on that one. Though I've heard both Pharell and Kanye refer to Hip Hop as female in songs, it's an idea that I hadn't really considered before Isis mentioned it. Her explanation was brief. Didn't want to start preaching, she said. So she jumped right into her poem - delivering it with an energy that I could feel in my seat! But afterwards I was certainly feeling like if hip-hop is feminine, then music is definitely my homegirl!

Alvin Lau, and the Dynamic Duo recited pieces that had the crowd laughing, clapping, snapping, and shouting out in agreement, as they cleverly covered hot topics like pop culture (specifically BET and MTV), and race relations.

One half of the Dynamic Duo even jokingly played an Anderson Cooper role when he polled the audience by asking who was voting for McCain and who were the Obama supporters. Not suprisingly, of all the people in the room, McCain garnered only one raised hand and a very sincere boo. Lol. Good times.

Now y'all know how I am...always tryin' to teach somebody something. So here's a quick history lesson on slam poetry:

"In 1985 a construction worker and poet named Marc Smith started a poetry reading series at a Chicago jazz club, the Get Me High Lounge, looking for a new way to breathe life into the open mike poetry format...In this new style of poetry, [the poets] gyrated, rotated, spewed, and steppd their words along the bar top, dancing between the bottles, bellowing out the backdoor, standing on the street or on their stools, turning the west side of Chicago into a rainforest of dripping whispers or a blast furnace of fiery elongated syllables, phrases, snatches of scripts, and verse that electrified the night." (

Now for a few pics from last night:

This young lady is a 16 year-old aspiring poet. Last night was her first poetry slam. We snapped this pic just before heading into the show.

Alvin Lau socializes with the crowd before the show.

Isis stopped for a picture during a break and encouraged this teen to keep writing.

Nola Divine and Isis

More on the poets:


(Ken Arkind and Panama Soweto)

1 comment:

ash said...

im jealous!!!!