Grab the Mic

By Sanmai Gbandi

The Association of Black students paired with Zeta Phi Beta held their monthly Grab the Mic event Wednesday.

Grab the Mic has been a part of Baylor tradition for many years, and it is a time for students to get on stage at the Bill Daniel Student Union building and share works of poetry, spoken word and song.

It is held in the SUB once every month, and students of all backgrounds and skill levels are welcome.

Headed by the Department of Multicultural Affairs, this month’s Grab the Mic was a part of many events held on campus since the beginning of February that are focused on Black History.

Houston senior and President of the Association of Black Students, Kamille Gaston said she encouraged students to share works that had to do with Black History month, but it was not a requirement.

“It was a suggestion, but the artists can still pick whatever pieces they want,” Gaston said.

Gaston said she thinks the forum is a good outlet for students who might not necessarily be attracted to other open mic events on campus.

“I think it’s really nice to have this outlet for students to come and express themselves artistically, something a little different from some of the regularly sponsored events by the university like Acoustic Café,” said Gaston,  “I think it’s very nice for students to be able to come out and display their talents.”

Generally, the type of art being shared is spoken word poems. According to the Smithsonian Folkways Magazine, the art of spoken word has existed for centuries. However, modern spoken word originated from an underground movement during the Harlem Renaissance and blues music. The popularity of spoken word was born out of the African-American Civil Rights movement.

The art form is word-based, but it uses the musicality and rhythm of speech to give the poems a song-like feel while being spoken.

Gaston said she thinks this type of open mic venue attracts minority students who are interested in spoken word poetry, which is historically a part of African-American culture.

“The students that we reach out to, directly and via e-mail, Facebook and social media, as well as the ones we catch in On the Baylor Horizon,” Gaston said, “I think a different type of students is receiving our communication.”

New Orleans junior and Vice President of ABS, Taylor Jones, thinks that events like Grab the Mic gives students an opportunity to expand their artistic horizons.

“It gives the students a chance to do something different. I mean, you come to college, and you expect to party, you expect to study. But do you necessarily expect to expand your artistic palette? Do you expect to be able to appreciate your friend’s artistic abilities,” Jones said, “So it just allows you to see people in a different light, I guess, and to appreciate it. It exposes you to something that maybe you’re not used to.”

The Association of Black Students meets at 5:00 p.m. every Monday in the SUB Houston Room. Monday they will have a meeting to discuss stigmas and stereotypes that African-Americans face regularly.

The Grab the Mic event is also a small part of Zeta Week hosted by Zeta Phi Beta and the Department of Multicultural Affairs. At 7:20 p.m. on Thursday in the SUB they will host another event called “Both Sides of the Track” that will also discuss issues facing African-Americans in America. The event will be held in the Bobo Spiritual Life Center.