Art can be a somber affair. Dramatic romances may writhe onstage with emotion, while a poem might wrench the heartstrings at a critical verse. Expressions, a spoken word night hosted by the Black Student Union, reminds that art can both stir the soul and make us laugh at the same time.
Rather than a serious exercise in soul-shattering artistry, the BSU’s Expressions was closer to an open mic coffee house. Expressions has been around for at least seven years, often appearing at Crossroads Café, though this year it was held in the more spacially accomodating McClaren Complex.
Junior Tiffany Gresham said, “It’s probably my third or fourth time coming to Expressions, but every time it’s different. More people perform. I performed last semester with all my sorority sisters. It’s really fun.”
The first performance was a poem about black pride, while the second was a cheery, clap-along love song. The singer, songwriter and guitarist was Sebastian Hughes, a freshman from Honolulu. “Songwriting is my passion,” he said. “I’ve been playing guitar for four years and writing music for three years.” And what made him bring his skills to the masses? “My RA actually told me to come down. I’m next to his room so he hears me playing all the time.”
Novels in progress and even rap music jived onstage, but the expression of choice was poetry. Subjects ranged from humorous Facebook stalkers to shooting a pig for Christmas dinner, but most often, the subject was love in all of its many forms. “I like that I can express myself and hear my words and thoughts come out,” said Chioke Walker, a freshman poet. “I like to see other people’s reactions, too.”
This is what Expressions is all about, especially for Courtney Ball, president of BSU. “I hope that students will have the chance to express themselves in any way possible.
Expressing yourself does not have to be a poem; it could be expressing the frustration you have with moldy grapes in the cafe or the joy you have when you go to Ocean Beach in 80 degree weather.”
Expressions will return next February for Black History Month. In the meantime, BSU will also be organizing the Breast Cancer Tea and Gospel Extravaganza Fundraiser, in October in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness month.