Poetry for Progress: A night of Black poetry

On Feb. 29, the Minority Excellence (M.E) club hosted a Black history poetry night in the fine arts auditorium. A variety of students and community members presented prewritten or freestyle poetry and prose. Senior Naveah Harper presented her poem titled “The Bare Minimum.” Harper’s poem focused on the disparity between the amount that Black history is taught in February versus other months.  

“We don’t talk about Black history year-round like we should. It’s only in the month of February and it’s not enough because Black people contributed so much to our country,” Harper said. 

The inspiration for Harper’s poem came from the role that her culture plays in her life.

“I’ve always loved to express myself in words, and my culture plays a big part in that,” Harper said. 

After Harper and six other performers presented until roughly 5:30, community member Marcel Mincey took to the stage for the rest of the event. Mincey performed three poems. Mincey, who calls himself “The Hip Hop Educator,” utilizes rap and poetry to teach in schools across the country.

“We are really rhythm learners, and anything that you do to a rhythm, you can remember it if you tap back into that rhythm. That became my thesis. That became my album. That became my method to teach,” Mincey said.

Two of the poems that Mincey performed were prewritten – but not in the traditional sense. Mincey says that he commits some of his freestyles to memory to perform at a later date. 

“A lot of people write their stuff down on paper. I’ll write my stuff in the air so I can remember it,” Mincey said.

The event was planned and executed by the M.E club and spearheaded by M.E leaders Jada Hunter and Jamyria Wise. 

“We hadn’t had our Black history meeting for the club yet, so we just decided to combine it and make the meeting for everyone,” Wise said.

M.E club sponsor Montu Miller thought that the event went well, but that it could have been promoted better.

​​”We got a little bit behind on the promo because this was sort of a last minute thing,” Miller said. 

Miller notes that the event will probably happen again next year during February. Community member and mother Laetange Wise says that she will likely attend the event if it were to be held again. She thinks that events like this are important tools to disseminate awareness about Black history. 

“It’s important to keep people in the know and to have knowledge about Black history.” Laetange Wise said. 

Tumelo Johnson

Junior Tumelo Johnson is the News Editor for his third year with Cedar BluePrints. He hopes to pursue history and eventually go into academia. In the meantime, he plays the cello, participates in Model UN and loves to read. Johnson would like to learn more about editing this year. The Southern Interscholastic Press Association attendee appreciates the opportunity BluePrints gives him to bond with people.

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