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Black Arts Festival 2019: ‘Sing it, Sister!’ Open Mic Features Poetry, Song

By Molly M. Martinez, Contributing Writer

Chatter rose in anticipation for “Sing it, Sister!” — an open mic that was part of the Black Arts Festival (BAF) — to start. The event, located at the Queen’s Head Pub, was an opportunity for the Harvard community to come together to sing, speak, and rap about what was on their minds.

BAF co-chair Antonia L. Scott ’20 opened up the mic with an introduction to the evening. “Black women are marginalized in a particular way,” she said. “We are honoring the black femmes in our lives.”

Sign-ups for the mic occurred all night, and one at a time, students came on stage to share their work. Several students performed spoken word pieces, with topics ranging from feminism to the blossoming of the inner self.

One performance included two short spoken word poems about singleness and the various ways love can transcend traditional romantic labels. Another poem, a rendition of Adele’s “Someone like You,” provoked a standing ovation from the crowd. Each performer was met with loud applause from the audience.

Along with the Black Arts Festival, the Harvard Women’s Center co-sponsored “Sing it, Sister!”

“I am really excited to see all the amazing talent of black women and femmes and the Women’s Center mission of celebrating achievement and being intersectional,” Mirielle E. Wright ’21, an intern at the Harvard Women’s Center, said.

For some students, the open mic night was an opportunity to step on stage for the first time.

“It is my first time ever performing in front of everyone, and I am pretty excited and kind of nervous,” Peace N. Madubuonwu ’19 said.

Madubuonwu premiered an original rap that she had written, with subjects ranging from overcoming adversity to having confidence in one’s capabilities.

In addition to featuring undergraduate voices, the open mic also stretched beyond the College student body. Azmera Hammouri-Davis, a graduate student at the Divinity School, said that she “loves celebrating the Black Arts.”

Davis’s act included both spoken word from Audre Lorde’s “Sister Outsider” and a musical rendition of James Bay’s “Let It Go.”

“Poetry has been a part of my passion for several years,” she said.

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