In honor of Black history month, the UMOJA Community and the Cadena Cultural Center hosted it’s 11th Annual Open Mic Night at the Beat Cafe. The duration of the event went on for three hours of pure entertainment– poetry, singers, and musicians.
From Ukuleles to spoken word poems, every person was offered the opportunity to share their talents in front of a crowd of 50 people, and perform several times.
“I hopes this event builds a sense of community as well as that it helps students release the stress from classes” said President Greg Schulz.
Participants and the audience both were able to connect with each other in ways they hadn’t been able to. Everyone respectfully encouraged one another to go up and take a go at it.
Ryan, a Computer Science major, recited an untitled poem he wrote in just 15 minutes. “What inspired me was the constant duality of my emotions..about being simultaneously emotionless, but still being grateful” said Ryan.
Vodrick Anderson, a Math major, wrote a poem titled, “ Letter to my Soul.” The 20-year-old has been a member of UMOJA since the Fall Semester of 2018. Anderson said he took inspiration from ‘words’ he could never say in person.
Anderson, along with poetry performer Isaiah Roberts– also a member of UMOJA–shared that they think an open mic was the perfect way to give a voice to the people, especially with everything going on in the country. They want to promote for people to speak their truth and continue to embrace the diversity in UMOJA.
“In Open Mic. Night , you can speak your mind, speak your truth, and it’s something everyone can participate in it as well as take something out of it” said Vodrick Anderson.
Throughout the night students continued to show support, whether they were sharing their poems and music or simply enjoying the scene. Pizza, cookies, tea and coffee were also offered for free.
Moe Diallo, a third-semester Business major, sat in the audience in support of the event. Diallo attended for his first time and was astounded to see people use the ‘Open Mic Night’ as an outlet to freely express themselves.
Yechan Song, a second-semester Music major , was a little nervous about performing for his first time. Song played four acoustic covers for the popular songs: “ Fly me to the moon” by Frank Sinatra, “ Isn’t she lovely” by Stevie Wonder, “Just the two of us” by Grover Washington Jr. ,and “The scientist” by Coldplay.
Kristine Little, a Psychology major, said she was walking by and noticed the ‘Open Mic.’ sign. The 23-year-old enjoys writing poetry and found this as the perfect opportunity to share several of her compositions. Little recently moved to Fullerton and has found it difficult to locate a place like Beat Cafe.
Everyone shared a different form of art. Coordinator of UMOJA, Teresa Payne, thanked everyone that attended the event for being unapologetically brave for going up there and being vulnerable.
“Statistically, students who feel a sense of community on campus typically achieve more,” said Brandi Avila, manager of the UMOJA Community.