Poetry gets personal, political in Ballroom at ‘Beatless’

By Leah Fielding

Spoken word artist HERU and other local poets took the stage to try to evoke positive change in the hearts and minds of students at Beatless last Wednesday night at the Curry Student Center Ballroom.

“Education starts with yourself,” HERU said in between poems to encourage students to keep learning and asking questions.

The open mic show, hosted by junior legal studies major Stephanie Officer and sophomore psychology major Miles Turner was put together by a collaboration of different Northeastern student groups including the Latin American Student Organization (LASO), the Haitian Student Union (HSU), the National Black Student Association (NBSA) and the Office of Affirmative Action and Diversity (OAAD). It was loaded with messages about personal experiences and candid political views.

The participants were straightforward and honest about their innermost thoughts and feelings.

“I’m not that innocent … it’s wisdom that puts bags under my eyes,” said Larayna Williams, one of the featured poets, who spoke of her cynicism regarding falling in love.

Williams read an original, called “Through the Eyes of a Child.”

“You can’t dispense what you don’t possess within,” was a poetic plea for parents to instill in children good values and a sense of self.

The large crowd showed its enthusiasm with shouts and applause, but that reaction was nothing compared to when HERU took the stage.

The former Northeastern law student and main attraction of the event floored the crowd with his witty poems about the vices of society.

His words were meant to inspire change. He tried to make those in attendance question the foundation of what they know and understand.

“Northeastern, I ask you who elects the electoral college?” he said.

He spoke about the plight of African-Americans and the corruption of government and pled for students to learn the past of their people.

“African again, sense of self never to be felt again,” he said, in one of his spoken word pieces, some of which were 10 minutes long.

When he asked if the students wanted him to keep going, they answered by loudly cheering and clapping.

In another piece, he asked why fossils of an African woman have the European name of Lucy and why Africans are the only people who do not have their own religion authentic to their land.

HERU made known his stance on politics in a poem entitled “Hush, hush, hush,” an anti-Bush piece.

“Unannointed, disjointed, self-appointed … have hearts that beat not blood but oil,” he said of the current administration.

Some of the other poets and spoken word artists talked about political and social issues relating to race.

In “Public Service Announcement,” Sophia Snow read “the authorities remind us we’re good for nothing.” Her fast-paced piece was in favor of equality among all races and more opportunity for inner-city youth.

Other poems, such as Sergio Marrero’s, were meant to inspire. He addressed Northeastern students: “You are the leaders of tomorrow, make it what you want it to be.”

Vernon C. Robinson, who carries the stage name “VCR,” took a more creative stance in his piece titled “ABC Killers.” Each line of his poem started with a letter of the alphabet. One line read, “Redneck Republicans blame rap.”

The sharing of thoughts and words will continue in Part II of Beatless tonight at 6:30. This final installment, also in the Ballroom, will feature Anthony Morales of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam along with Carlos Andres Gomez and Devynity; admission will be free.

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