Mayhem Poets hold performance to honor MLK weekend
Swallowing her nerves, Lyman Briggs sophomore Jaliyah Turner belted out a rendition of “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele to a hushed audience of about 100 people Saturday night as part of the annual “Speaking Like King” poetry slam held at the International Center.
The University Activities Board and Project 60/50 hosted the poetry slam, which consisted of poetry by the New York based poetry performance group Mayhem Poets, during which students had the opportunity to take the stage for an open mic between sets.
Addressing racial stereotypes, self-discovery and life’s anguishes, The Mayhem Poets look to open a dialogue they believe is too often closeted.
“We will throw some thoughts out there to open up the floor for discussion and try to live as examples of breaks in that stereotype, if there is one that exists,” Mayhem Poets member Mikumari Caiyhe said.
In an attempt to disprove the stereotype that poetry is often uneventful, Mayhem Poets member Mason Granger said he believes the group’s exciting performance helps to make the experience an engaging one.
“The fact that we’re doing what we do and saying what we say in the style, and multiple styles, that we do use in one show is like showing poetry doesn’t have to be one thing, it can be that with a twist,” Granger said. “By doing it we don’t have to directly address we’re breaking stereotypes with our style.”
The event not only featured The Mayhem Poets, but opened the floor to students willing to share their voices.
Surprised that it was an open mic, sophomore Jaliyah Turner was quick to put her name on the list.
“I love poetry... It’s just something that gets my attention instantly,” Turner said. “I didn’t know there would be an open mic part of the poetry slam. When I found out I decided to sign up last minute because I love singing.”
Aside from song covers, students took this opportunity to express their thoughts on religion, race and current issues. Pre-nursing sophomore Vincent Gannon-Piacentini was inspired to perform by a number of racial issues that have been highlighted in the news.
On stage, Gannon-Piacentini said he hoped to encourage others to keep an open mind and express themselves.
“Everyday events inspire me, just whatever is on my mind I like to put into writing,” Gannon-Piacentini said. “Since racial conflict has been all over the news, it really made me think about it and write about it.”