Arts and Culture

“Drop the Mic: Urban Political Issues” one of many student-led discussion initiatives on race

On Thursday Nov. 3, TWAP House and iSpeak presented “Drop the Mic: Urban Political Issues” in the Lyon’s Den. Centered on spoken word poetry, the event aimed to shed light on racial tensions in the U.S.

Akrofi Akotiah ’17, the president of TWAP House, along with other house members, felt that given America’s current political climate and the crucial role race plays in voting, there was no better time to tackle such issue in a community setting.

Prior to “Drop the Mic,” members of TWAP and iSpeak held a workshop, which concentrated on the process of powerfully and purposefully scripting words. The workshop also focused on creating a sense of unity between each group, being on the same page and leaving the audience with an amalgamated message.

Not only has the current political atmosphere made race an important topic, but so has the cultural appropriation that occurred during the Halloween season. There is a fine line between appreciation and appropriation, as Akotiah pointed out. Events like “Drop the Mic” instill hope that more people will learn to be culturally sensitive.

If there was one thing Akotiah hoped people would take away from “Drop the Mic,” it would be an understanding of race. Akotiah wanted the audience to understand what race means to people of color in America and that understanding each other’s perspectives is the only way toward progress. “To gain awareness, know your privilege,” he said.

In addition to “Drop the Mic,” Akotiah hopes to bring more events to Wheaton that focus on race discussions. For example, TWAP and Renaissance House presented the documentary “13th” on Thursday Nov. 10. “13th,” in reference to the Thirteenth Amendment of United States Constitution, explores the thesis that the mass incarceration of racial minorities in American prisons is a modern day extension of slavery.

Akotiah’s aspiration is for a higher presence of students at these events, which will in turn encourage discussions of race.