BSU hosts open poetry slam

Senior+Cyere+Chatmon+sings+%22Lift+Every+Voice%22+by+James+Weldon+Johnson+at+the+Poetry+Slam+hosted+by+BSU.+
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BSU hosts open poetry slam

Senior Cyere Chatmon sings

Senior Cyere Chatmon sings "Lift Every Voice" by James Weldon Johnson at the Poetry Slam hosted by BSU.

Photo by Hannah Heger

Senior Cyere Chatmon sings "Lift Every Voice" by James Weldon Johnson at the Poetry Slam hosted by BSU.

Photo by Hannah Heger

Photo by Hannah Heger

Senior Cyere Chatmon sings "Lift Every Voice" by James Weldon Johnson at the Poetry Slam hosted by BSU.

Hannah Heger, Features Editor

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The Black Student Union celebrated Black History Month with their fifth annual Poetry Slam. Allowing students to express their individuality and their personal side, the BSU event also provides the students of Manhattan High School an opportunity to show off their poems and writing. Using themes like “Let Your Light Shine” and sub-themes like “Fight the Power” and “Pushing forward.”

“It was like a continuation of ‘Lift Every Voice,’” BSU President Gregory VanDyke, Jr., said, “because there are some students around here who are dealing with things that just need to be heard so we want to let our light shine on those topics.”

Unlike previous Poetry Slams, BSU opened the mic for any audience members to come up on stage and read a poem without the stress of the usual competition. The night started out with senior Cyere Chatmon performing the song “Lift Every Voice’’ by James Weldon Johnson.

While the members of BSU read Historical poems by famous Black Writers, they ended the night with a poem written by junior Briyona Wooten who wrote about dealing with depression.

“Briyona Wooten … although she wasn’t able to make it I did read her poem and that was like the highlight of the night,” VanDyke said, “because it really touched on depression and how although it happens we just have to link together and go through it. I mean I know as hard as that might sound it’s a process and she said one of her best choices was going through it, choosing to live and letting her light shine.”

Wooten’s poem had been awarded the unofficial winner of the poetry slam by expressing her personal struggles and showing the importance of self expression.

“It’s important for people to have an outlet to express themselves, we aren’t given a chance to express 100 percent of who we really are,” Chalice Carter, BSU’s president for next year, said. “And I think events like these or other things that we do in clubs like this allow us to be completely 100 percent ourselves and if there is a problem that you feel so you need to talk to somebody about I’m glad that we have places like this.”

 

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