I have always been in search for an event such as ‘Lyric Lounge’ since becoming a student at Wilberforce University in August of 2015. With countless other events held at school where the music and vibes were something that I could personally never get into, and open mic events held by organization’s on campus that also never really felt like open mic event’s (no disrespect). There were no artistic events where students could feel free to bare their soul through their art, and because of this I had the idea of creating an event that would allow students to do such.
I initially had the idea of ‘Lyric Lounge’ during my sophomore year, yet I didn’t have the confidence to pursue this idea until the first semester of my Junior year. ‘Lyric Lounge’ (A night of soulful expression art and lyricism). In my imagination would be a night where the lights were dim, candles were lit, the music selection would be dope (no mumble rap allowed.) “I’m talking ‘A Tribe Called Quest’, Nas, ‘De la Soul’, Erykah Badu, Noname.. and as taboo as it may sound I imagined fingers snapping, souls bearing all, it was going to be nothing less of the vibes visualized throughout the classic film ‘Love Jones’ .
Of course, that is a fictionalized film and Lyric Lounge did not happened as I envisioned for the first time. The night had a few mishaps but in all the event was a success in many ways. I originally told my bestfriend Samarah about ‘Lyric Lounge’, spending hours discussing the idea, she certainly was my number one support system with this event and everything regarding me following through with my vision. I humbly thank her for that. (Be sure to follow her on all social media platforms to see all that she does as an artist (@thesamarahpoe) and visit her site for other artistic explorations via: Thesamarahpoe.com.
(Samarah and I being awkward as usual)
I then proceeded to bring the idea of ‘Lyric Lounge’ to a fellow student here by the name of Matthew Vaughn (Check out my series of interviews and you will find an article discussing his artistry and more ‘Matthew Vaughn: The poet, the spirit, the tree, the human’). With Matthew already having the experience of doing shows and hosting, he was on board to co-host (SN: He basically did all of the hosting because I was nervous).
From that moment ‘Lyric Lounge’ became a vision that I imagined happening on campus to an actual event held on campus. (The power of speaking things into existence, and moving forward even when fear is trying to hold you back.)
This time around with ‘Lyric Lounge (Black girl magic edition)’, I decided to have the event as a celebration for Black women. Over winter break I told another fellow student at Wilberforce University , one of my close friends Shanyael Hinton (Slim) about this idea. (You will also find an article about her in my series of interviews as we discuss the power of literature (Beloved: Literature, love, and livelihood). I asked her to help with me hosting the event for support as I still try to navigate and practice being able to host on my own. She was down and she was a dope host throughout the night. She knew how to engage with the crowd and kept them laughing, thinking and ready for performances.
Before the event actually started, I decorated the student union with the help of Samarah (Founder and creator of ‘Arsun Productions’ and co-host slim. Samarah and I spent hours together using our creative energy to “DIY” the hell out of every decoration. I envisioned having dope and inspirational quotes from all of the classic women of Hip-Hop such as MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopez , Lauryn Hill and more, as well as revolutionaries such as Assata Shakur, Maya Angelou and Angela Davis, along with their pictures. One of my favorite quotes that I had in the center was a lyric from the classic song ‘Lyte as a Rock’ by MC Lyte, in which she says “Do you understand the metaphoric phrase light as a rock, it’s explaining how heavy the young lady is”. It was an ambience, that only I could see, and it turned out great!
I opened up the event with a poem entitled ‘ A Black girls daily affirmation’ to warm up. Slim and I then proceeded to call people up to perform that had signed up during the night. There were a variety of different performances. Singers, poets, rappers (lyricist) all came up and gave there all. I wanted this event to empower Black women in more ways than one. I wanted Black women to be able to leave ‘Lyric Lounge’ feeling beautiful, powerful and unstoppable. The Black women who came did just that and spoke their truth. It was interesting with a lot of Black men who decided to perform. Some men spoke about the wrong they did to women, some confessed their love for Black women, or simply sung a song in light of Black women. In the end everyone who decided to share something paid homage to Black women and that’s all I wanted. It certainly was a night full of laughter, support and thought provoking moments. Most importantly It was a night full of unity between young Black men and women.
When it was time for the highlight performance, Matthew Vaughn humbly came up and showed out, he did a few pieces that focused on Black women in different aspects. His style of delivery is dope, and he has a way of luring people in with every word and metaphor. His performance was captivating.
Below are a few pictures of performances by different students throughout the night:
(All captured by ‘Arsun Productions’)
‘Lyric Lounge: Black Girl Magic Edition’ was a success, and I humbly thank every student who came out and participated. This event means a lot to me. It is a representation of the aftermath and power of believing in your vision.
“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid”. – Audre Lorde