On Feb. 10, 2014 at 7 p.m., the Black Cultural Programming Committee hosted a poetry slam event featuring the traveling spoken word group Striver’s Row in the UC Auditorium.
Founded by husband and wife Marcus Johnson and Latoya Bennett-Johnson, Striver’s Row is a talent relations and artist management agency specializing in representing spoken word artists. The group has performed at the places such as Sundance Film Festival, NAACP Image Awards and President Obama’s Evening of Music and Poetry at the White House.
The event began with a performance from UT’s Strange Fruit Dance Company. After the dance, each member of Striver’s Row was introduced and performed two to three pieces of original poetry.
Striver’s Row members Alysia Harris, Joshua Bennett, Miles Hodges, Carvens Lissaint and Jasmine Mans performed, each having their own themes. An additional member of the group, Zora Howard, was unable to attend the performance.
The show started with a light atmosphere as Lissaint came up and joked with the audience. With each performance, audience members went from laughing to crying to feeling anger. The artists made the audience feel what they were feeling. When they were done, a standing ovation was always giving with the anticipation of the next poet.
“I loved it,” said Chakhiria Parks, a freshman in biology. “It was amazing. Everyone came with their best performance,” said Parks.
Laquesha Wilson, Vice-Chair of BCPC, was a part of Team 1 who oversaw and put together the event at the start of the semester. BCPC has never hosted a spoken word event and that was where the idea came to seek out Striver’s Row.
“I was overjoyed by the turn out tonight,” said Wilson, “I loved to see the diverse audience and I felt as though everyone left with something great.”
Wilson said that the campus can definitely look forward to more events like this one.
Edited by Gabrielle O’Neal