Kweli, Poets Rule Poetry Slam

Before there was Twitter, texting and phone calls, there were words. The purest form of communication. And with words and language being the basis for poetry, it’s an expression that anyone can pursue. This sentiment was expressed and conveyed in Carnesecca Arena on Tuesday, April 24th when the Food for Thought Poetry Club put on its second annual Poetry Slam competition.

“I think it went phenomenal,” said Reginald Amedee, up-and-coming president of Food for Thought about the success of competition. “I felt like the talent was stellar and everyone did a phenomenal job with their pieces.” Amedee noted that the metamorphosis of the Poetry Slam, such as the move from Marillac Cafeteria to Carnesecca Arena due to size constraints, was all because of hard work and determination.

“A lot of blood sweat and tears went into this event,” said Amedee. “To see the turn out that we had was great, and it’s only getting bigger and better.”

Hosting the event was hip-hop veteran Talib Kweli. He introduced the first round of performers while also surprising the crowd by dropping a few lines of the conscious rap classic “Get By,” off his classic 2006 album Quality.

Kweli, a Brooklyn native, also got around to doing an a capella performance of his Occupy Wall Street-inpsired tune “Distractions.”

“We were truly honored to have Talib Kweli host,” said Amedee. “Not only did he host but he performed so that really hyped the crowd up.”

Aspiring poets from St. John’s, Hofstra and SUNY Old Westbury performed their poems both solo and in groups that determined an overall championship for the competition.

The grand prize went to No Wasted Words from SUNY Old Westbury who saw strong performances in both the freestyle and group competitions. One of those performances being a dramatic group portrayal of a trial prosecuting George Zimmerman, the alleged killer of Trayvon Martin who has become a symbol for racial profiling in America.

No Wasted Words’ freestyle performances in the final round dealt with drug abuse, poverty and a longing for love.

The second place group was St. John’s and the Food for Thought troupe. Their final round performance displayed themes such as social injustice and the constant striving for racial equality.

Despite the handing out of trophies, the phrase that became the mantra of the event was unity through poetry. And that’s something that Jaquon Heath, founder of Food for Thought, intends to keep for as long as there is a Poetry Slam on campus.

“We’ve definitely been proud of what we’ve accomplished,” said Heath. “The main focus of this event is to bring poets together and we will continue to do that.”