Arts and Culture

iSpeak’s “I Am…” showcase presents poetry about identity

Under the red glow of ambient lights, members of iSpeak and guests Raw Elements gathered in the Kresge Experimental Theatre in Watson Fine Arts on Friday, April 4 to share spoken word and poetry for their spring showcase entitled “I am…”

iSpeak is a campus slam poetry group under the direction of Tyrek Greene ’15. They perform at various events throughout the year such as a cappella jams and dance performances. However, at this show, the poets took center stage to display their craft.

This year’s performers included Nataja Flood ’16, Jillian Valerio ’17, Kayla Kennet ’14, Milana Meytes ’15, Lual Charles ’16, Alinafe Chanza ’17, Kate Bartel ’17, Jonathan Korns ’16, Audrey Dubois ’17, Patricia Vazquez ’16, and the group’s president, Greene.

The theme of this year’s spring showcase was identity. Performers spoke about their individual experiences with love, mental illness, family, and more.

iSpeak were not the only performers to take the microphones that evening. Raw Elements, a spoken word poetry group headed by Cliften “Cliff Notez” Bonner-Desravines ’13 and Elaine Ventola, led a program  called “Art of Words” that was designed to give youth the tools they need to become effective communicators through the integration of writing and art. Representing the program in this performance were three high school students and Bonner-Desravines, who also hosted a screening earlier in the week of a web series that he worked on about healthy relationships, “The Halls.” Despite their age, the high schoolers from Raw Elements matched iSpeak’s members in the power and resonance of their performances and were very well received.

Overall, iSpeak’s showcase was a night of finger-snapping awe for all who attended.