Category Archives: poetry/spoken word

LTAB And Baltimore Art Rising – A Day Of Poetic Youth Excellence

I had the opportunity  last month to attend the most amazing event, actually it was  two events held by the same entities on the same day. The people at Dewmore Baltimore  teamed up with Maryland  Institute College of Art (MICA) and put on two spectacular events. It was a big  day for Me and My son personally because My son was  being honored at one of the events.

LTAB
LTAB

We attended the LTAB ( Louder Than A Bomb) finals for middle and  high school before attending a book release event that My son was taking part in. The LTAB was amazing, I’ve written about  Dewmore Baltimore before, this local  group of poets give these kids a way to express themselves unlike I’ve ever heard from minds and hearts so young.

These children write their own  poems and  perform them  with  meticulous  execution. Some of the teens  brought tears to my eyes  in telling their life stories through their writing.

I had  shared a few videos from that  day below and more  are available on youtube. If you go through My videos you will find even more youth poets.


The  middle school and  high school LTAB events were separated by a book release event called Baltimore Art Rising.

Baltimore Art Rising
Baltimore Art Rising

Baltimore  Art Rising  is a poetry anthology  put together  jointly by  MICA and Dewmore Baltimore featuring the poetry of youth  under the age of 18. My  own  son was one  of those  youth represented in  Baltimore Art Rising and  we were so excited to be a part of it.

Book Release Event
Book Release Event

The set up was  really nice  plus they  set out a beautiful spread of appetizers and snacks. Each  student who had a poem published in the anthology also had their poem  turned into visual art and it was hung gallery style at MICA. The young poets had their poems turned into visual art and also  received a copy that visual version of their poem framed.

Marquis with his poem
Marquis with his poem

One of the  young women I recently introduced you to through the site was also one of the featured youth poets. You guys  remember  Mecca right? She was a judge for the  high school LTAB finals as well.

Marquis Receiving His Poem
Marquis Receiving His Poem

It was so wonderful  to watch the kids  all lit up and  beaming with pride as they walked up to accept their visual poems. I was such a proud parent. Spending the day with My son and  kids his age while listening to them speak about such  adult topics was eye opening. We’d like to fool ourselves into thinking they are children like we were, but they aren’t. The  world they are  growing up in is  so different than anything we experienced at their ages and they have to stories to back it up.

such talented kids
such talented kids

Want to  see more pics from the events? Check out the  gallery below and remember for more  videos check this link.    Click a  Photo  to make it bigger.

 

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Spotlight On Talent: Poet Mecca Verdell

Name: Mecca verdell
Age: 18

Sapphire: When I met you I was introduced to you as Mecca but I’ve come to know you as M E C C A ~M O R P H O S IS. How did the name come about?

Mecca: I got the name from another nickname actually, “Meccaroni” and I wondered what other words I could play around with. So it went from Meccaroni…to Meccatron…then one day Meccamorphosis was born and it sound awesome to me so I stuck with it.

Sapphire: You perform as a part of DewMore Baltimore. Can you tell us about the program and how you got involved?

Mecca: Getting involved with DewMore had to be the best experience of my life so far. I came into the program through a club they had for western high school then started writing more and more. I was looking for an outlet since Western didn’t have a theater club at the time and poetry was a perfect blend of acting and writing. Now to be a writer is a career I hope to have.

Sapphire: How long have you been writing and performing poetry and spoken word? What influenced
your start?

Mecca: I’ve been writing for little over a year now, and I owe it all to my mentors at Dewmore Baltimore.

Mecca
Mecca

Sapphire: You’re not a Baltimore native but you’re making quite a name for yourself in the city. Where are you from and what was it like relocating here? Did you find it easy to assimilate?

Sapphire: I’m from New Jersey and I was just starting to have a footing there but right when things started to go right it went sour with family issues and such. So having a complete new start in Baltimore was a huge change for me. Especially with Baltimore being so other worldly but then again so am I in my own way. I awkwardly felt at home as soon as I started to meet the right people.

Sapphire: You recently hosted your own open mic event for the first time. How’d you pick the name
Ryhmin Noodles? What was it like to host your own event?

Mecca: Recently I started the first independent youth open mic, and it was the most stressful time of my life. I was worried but it was nice seeing my dreams come true. I called it “Rhymin noodles” after a verse by one of my favorite artist Chance the rapper. “I should rhyme, rhyme with ramen noodles.” Its was a good success for a first open mic and I owe to my poetry family, my parents, also the owners of Breaking Bread restaurant for letting me host the show at their establishment.

Mecca 2
Mecca 2

Sapphire: You’re a co-host on VVC Radio? What is your show about and when is it on?

Mecca: I started co-hosting on VVC online radio in November I believe. It was right after my first interview they asked me to join with Speak, the main host of the show. The show is called Speakeasy Poetry Radio. We talking about current events in music and poetry locally and nationally every Monday at 8 on VVCRadio.com

Sapphire: What inspires you? What topics do you find yourself compelled to write about?

Mecca: I write about everything, at least I try to. Because I don’t want to be limited at all. I wanna make poem on almost every topic in a new refreshing way.

Sapphire: Switching gears a little, you’re not just a spoken word artist/writer, you’re also an activist. You marched for justice for Freddie Gray and locked yourself in a government building
overnight in the name of justice. Were you arrested? What inspired you to get involved

Mecca: I got involved because my friends needed me to but I don’t like calling myself an activist just because I got arrested. It wasn’t solely for the cause even though I was in the moment. I did it because I wanted to make sure my friends were safe. And that they weren’t hurt in way. But now I’ve been more active ever since. I’m an ambassador at LBS (Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle) where I use art to give attention to different issues. I still feel like I cant call myself an activist. Not just yet.

Sapphire: What can we expect to see from you in the near future?

Mecca: I hope to push poetry to new limits as my writing grows. I don’t wanna give to much because I have such a big mouth, but I’m working on a poetry mix tape called “Unaprosegetic.” It talks on all social issues about blackness in a new way. But I’m also making this mix tape to kind of “scratch” black lives matter poems off my list. I also have a lot of projects coming up so stay tuned.

Sapphire: Where can people follow your work? Drop them links on us.

Mecca: As I always say “you can follow me everywhere but my house” @meccamorphosis on all social media.

Youtube

Instagram

Facebook

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Spotlight On Talent: Sicxfive

Sicxfive
Sicxfive

1.) Tell us Sicxfive, how did you start rapping and how long have you been perfecting your craft?

I started rapping from a base of poetry. I was always good with words and wordplay and loved the power of word usage.
In High School I was more the ghost writer and didn’t want the spot light. As I embraced my gifts I then started to enter open Mics and contest and freestyle on military bases. Once I got the good response that I received it just motivated me to go further.

2.) Who were/are your biggest musical influences?

My biggest influence musically were Biggie, Tupac, JayZ,  Wu Tang, Outkast,  NWA,  Michael Jackson,  Ray Charles,  Stevie Wonder.
Currently I check for some new acts like Kendrick Lamar,  J Cole,  Rick Ross,  Jeezy,  Weezy,  2Chainz,  A$ap, etc…

Rapper/Poet Sicxfive
Rapper/Poet Sicxfive

3.) You were what we call and “army brat” growing up. Did your fathers military career encourage you to enlist yourself?

Coming from where I came from, inner city Philadelphia, I didn’t see many options coming out of school. I didn’t understand how I could afford to go to college coming from a poverty stricken household. I knew my parents couldn’t afford it and they never took the time to explain how I could go to college. So I looked at the military as my escape and chance to not fit the statistics.

4.) What is it like as an artist to be stationed so far overseas where your passion of making music can not be easily fulfilled?

It’s painful….I really love the creative experience of writing and getting in the booth. I enjoy finding the right feel and voice to fit the track. I enjoy music..the good and the bad.

5.) What do you think of the state of mainstream hip hop and rap today?

I think the current state of hip hop is on a downturn. It’s not lyrically appealing to me on the whole. Yes there are some who are outstanding but the majority are not groundbreaking and won’t be around 2 years from now.  And for the record I like some non-lyrical rap also.

Sicxfive on The Mic
Sicxfive on The Mic

6.) You rap with a level of consciousness not displayed by many artist today. Do you think not rapping about the stereotypical street life will help boost or deter your mainstream appeal?

I just try to rap about my reality. I am from the streets, the hood, the ghetto. I was raised around drug dealers, drug users,  robbers, gangs and gangsters, pimps. The whole gambit. But I don’t lie about my stats. I totally fine being who and what I am and letting the fans know that there is more to the hood and streets than pure ignorance.
It may hurt my sales and it may be a tougher road but it’s my truth.

7.) I see you write poetry as well. Do you ever plan to release a poetry project?

I actually had someone contact me about doing it and I was surprised by it. I mean I am open to sharing my personal thoughts and ideas and verses but it will have t be in the right way. But in the near future I may release a concept I have that I think would really move the needle.

Rapper Sicxfive
Rapper Sicxfive

8.) What advice would you give to someone trying to get started in the music industry?

Believe in you.
Be ready to work.
Trust in your mental ear.
Listen to ya engineers and producers.
Get rid of all yes men around you.

9.) Any upcoming projects or events we should look out for?

Currently looking to release 3-4 new singles in lead up to my project in 2016.

10.) Where can people find more of you?

http://www.sicxfive.com/

You can reach me on social media under

@sicxfive – Instagram, Tumblr, Vine
@sicx_five – Twitter
Sicxfive@gmail.com

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A Cute Ode To A Friend – Check Out this poem “My Condolences” By David Miles

David Miles
David Miles

 

I met David a few years ago and  his spirit is so  beautiful. He is a true testament to show that no matter what state the body is in the mind can be alive and active. In a nursing home  for many years , David  writes to pass the time. Check out his ode to a furry friend below.

MY CONDOLENCE

THE TIME HAS COME TO SAY GOOD BYE TO A FRIEND. I USE TO FILL MY BAG WITH SNACKS THAT HE WOULD EAT. MOUSES HAD NO MONEY TO SPEND.  GONE ARE THE DAYS OF PISTACHIO’S AND CHIPS, EVEN THE MIXED NUTS THAT WERE EATEN OFF AT THE TIP.  BUT THE STAFF GOT WISE AND SAID THERE IS AN ENEMY AMONG US.  SO THEY PUT TOGETHER A PLAN WITHOUT A FUSS/  WELL IN COMES A MAN WITH HIS BAG OF TOOLS SETTING HIS TRAPS TO MAKE THE MOUSE A FOOL.  THE DAYS WENT BY NEVER HEARD A SOUND MY AIDE CAME IN JUST THE OTHER DAY SHE SAID IT SMELLED REAL STRANGE.  SHE COULD NOT STAY WE LOOKED AROUND COULD NOT FIND A MOUSE. I HOPE HE IS RESTING IN HIS MOUSE HOUSE.  BYE BYE MR. MOUSE

THOUGHTS BY D.K. MILES LEVINDALE POET

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What A Deep Piece Of Poetry, Check Out “Tired” By Sicxfive

Sicxfive
Sicxfive

 

I’m tired

I’m tired of turning on the news and hearing political views that don’t coincide with a true picture of America,

I’m tired of hearing politicians spew and project an attitude that there is nothing wrong in America,

I’m tired of States banging Red and Blue and arguing about which side is true today …I said today… In America,

And I’m tired of racist views by police and people reporting the news who spin lies about America,

See I haven’t been around forever but I’m clever enough to see when you feed lies to me about the body that’s found deceased in the middle of neighborhood streets and yet you tell lies and have us think that innocent you will be until they blast the truth across the TV screens……
and we have the truth laid out for us….
Cops killing our children, our mothers our fathers, our brothers our sisters, our past and our futures,

And then I turn on the TV and I see more violence…..

But this time the hood is quiet, cause the science is that someone has shoot an Officer of the law and now he is in the ICU slowly dying…..
Do we not see that this human being killed is someone child, or mother or father, or brother or sister, ……this was someone’s past and future,

And I turn away….I can’t stomach it anymore, I need fresh air, I can’t breath, my feelings are raw and open to the core, I’m sore from the inside out because death has become so common that after I’m told someone died I turn around 5 mins later and ask what was the score to the game… And they told me,

But what they should have told me was that the score is a lot to a little,
A lot of death to too little life,
A lot of pain to few memories of joy,
A lot of sorrow for those who died today and will never see the beauty or horror of tomorrow,

I am scared to raise a child in a world where keeping it real is WSHH material,
I’m afraid to raise a child in a world where kids are snatched out of front yards,
killed inside the schools they learn in,
and preyed on by adults we are suppose to trust,
I fear raising a son who has to navigate adult choices at tender ages because our youth is looked at as a walking statistic…
Likely to be the next…athlete, drug dealer, gangbanger, deadbeat father, or felon,
I fear raising my daughter in a world where she must always be aware that someone is out to do her harm,
where her innocence is precious and a thief waits in the dark to steal it from her,
where a nice word must be looked at with skepticism and caution,

I want my children to grow up and be all the great things that they dream of when they sleep that drool soaked sleep wit a slight smile on their faces,
I want our children to know that we are doing things today so that they have a better tomorrow,
I want these children to know that we can get our act together so there is a safe world for them to raise children in in the future,

And all of this has me tired
This world this day and age when we are so advanced and yet still so behind,
I’m tired of the talk and rhetoric about what’s wrong while we never take the time to do what’s right,
I’m tired of the finger pointing and grandstanding and the me as the center of the world movement ,

I’m tired of it all…….
But I won’t stop because I have someone who expects more and deserves more from me,
I will continue to work to make my circle of influence better,
And if that keeps me tired then I know when I finally rest that I gave everything I could to make the future better for our future….

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I Attended The Hottest Open Mic Last Week

Burnin Mic Open Mic

I’m the first to say you can find talent in all places but  I was  shocked to find it flowing  from My own  womb. I  entered My son into this  poetry writing/spoken word program for the  summer with the  Maya Baraka Institute directed and ran by various National poetry  slam winners and  contestants. The  program is  for youths age 13-20 and  focuses on spoken word and the creative arts with an afro-centric flair.

We were invited to their  first  performance last week which was in the  format of an open mic which was also open to the public sponsored by the Maya Baraka program along with Dew More Baltimore.  The open mic was hosted by the  youths of the program and  many of them blessed us with their talents from singing, to poetry and rapping. I  recorded  quite a few of the performances but no where near all of them nor did I capture what I think were some of the best performances.

Hopefully you will enjoy  a peek into  what you missed. These talented teens and young adults blew Me away.

I have  a few more  videos  from the event and will be continuing to  upload them to youtube at http://www.tinyurl.com/sapphiresyoutube.com

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