Tag Archives: Am I Next

LCFC Journal #11: “Poetry in Motown”

21 Feb

resized_20170114_191048A little over a month ago, I was able to visit Detroit, Michigan for the first time on a poetry tour called #AmINext.

#AmINext is a poetry show created by social worker, poet and social justice advocate, Felicia Henry.

Ms. Henry created the show as well as her non-profit organization, “Behind The Walls, Between The Lines” in 2015 and brought a collection of artists together to build awareness around mass incarceration, gentrification, socioeconomic disenfranchisement, and police brutality.

Because I am truly passionate about the topics of social justice on a grand scale, I was more than excited on the evening of Friday, January 13th when me and the other artists crammed ourselves inside of a sea blue van and made our way to Motown.

Throughout the entire journey, I had a great time socializing with the other artists while getting to know them better. Although I had already done two show dates with many of my tour mates, I learned that people we often encounter through work or business related circumstances have more layers to them that can’t be dissected or figured within a span of a two-hour time crunch when performing on a show.

And so, the following day we arrived in Detroit, sleepy, but happy that we had made it safely and in one piece.

After getting ourselves situated and settled within our hotel rooms, it was then time for rehearsal in one of its conference rooms. We made our way through every single performance piece expected and scheduled for the evening’s show.

Once we were confident in our poems and songs, we all departed towards the van and headed to the venue where we were scheduled to perform at called The Jam Handy.

At the event, many people came from various parts of the city in order to watch us perform. A lot of this stemmed from Ms. Henry having and maintaining connections from graduate school which were instrumental in aiding us secure the performance.

After a successful event, we went to Applebees and celebrated the evening with a group dinner. And so, dinner for me was a truly remarkable moment. Hearing the conversations of other artists and how their creative endeavors intersected their morals, values, and professional work and aspirations seriously made me appreciate the great energy surrounding me .

I say that to say often times people are so invested within the work that they do that they tend to forget there are many people who want/do the same work that they find themselves in. It honestly humbled me to hear my peers talking about what undergraduate schools they attended, what major they studied, future plans of advanced study, teaching pedagogy etc.

As I sat there entranced by everyone’s conversations I proceeded to ask myself: Why aren’t we portrayed more positively?

There are many talented, intelligent, and gifted people within the world doing groundbreaking and admirable work. There should be no reason as to why we aren’t spotlighted, celebrated, and appreciated for our achievements and our all-inclusive goals that plan to better the society.

What I took from that moment of us getting to know each other better is that we all wanted to be there because we understood that the fight we are in is bigger than us. Way bigger. The purpose of that entire weekend was to remind ourselves that social justice is important and by doing work that affects the way people think within the processing of our realities, only then can we go about devising any forward thinking solutions to bring about systemic change.

In parting,  I ended up learning a lot about myself while on the road in Detroit. Because of it, I can only hope that more road trips through poetry performances with “Behind The Wall, Between The Lines”will provide us artists with more solutions  for the betterment of it going forward.

A major thanks goes out to Ife Nira, Leah James, Jherelle Benn, Alia Pierre, Ashley Clarke, Zachary Durham, and Felicia Henry for allowing me to share the moment with them.

Sincerely,

– Kevin Anglade

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KEVIN ANGLADE is the author of frankly Twisted: the lost files, a collection of detective fiction. Kevin was featured on NBC’s The Debrief with David Ushery in 2014 where he provided insight and purpose about small-press publishing. He is also the author of the recently published debut poetry collection Life Comes From Concrete: a poetry memoir (2016).

Find him online at:

www.kevinanglade.com

Twitter/IG: @velevek