The Associated Students hosted an open mic event in the BMU called “Soul Corner” on Wednesday night. Encouraging all forms of spoken word, the event created a safe space for students and artists to share their individual experiences through art.
Hosted by Brandon Leake, a competitive spoken word artist from Stockton, the night was open to people with every type of spoken word talent. Leake served as the first performer of the night, reciting an original piece titled, “Steps”. He performed several other originals throughout the night while concurrently bringing a positive, safe atmosphere to the show.
Leake talked about the process of his poetry and how it has evolved since he was younger.
“I started writing poetry in middle school for girls I thought were cute,” he admitted. “But I started really sharing my story probably around junior year of high school.”
Leake, who is also a ninth and tenth grade english teacher in his hometown, said that much of his work is created with the audience’s interpretation in mind.
“Once you make a poem it’s never yours again,” Leake says, “it’s always what people perceive it to be.” He explained that part of the reason he believes poetry is such an interpretive art form, is because it’s meant for other people to relate to one’s experiences.
“I take so much time to make my narrative not only just my own, but one that is accessible for everybody else as well,” Leake said.
The show welcomed Chico State students to perform as well, and a handful of brave students grabbed the mic on stage to read original poetry, rap, and even sang.
Senior, and member of the CCLC, Cassandra Arechiga sang an original untitled (for now) song about the hardships of relationships.
Arechiga said that in many ways the act of writing down your emotions is a powerful and therapeutic technique.
“I feel like that’s something I had to tell myself,” she said of her past experiences, “if I’m feeling something I just write it down and even if it doesn’t turn into a song it’s healing to get something off your mind.”
Arechiga said that a lot of her songwriting came from simply writing about what she was experiencing at a specific moment, and it ended up turning into a work of art.
Many students, like Arechiga, performed their own original content, some being very fun and light hearted, and some being very personal. A variety of stories were heard, and each performer had a vastly unique story to tell which made for a night of self-expression and individuality.
“Soul Corner” gave a spotlight for people to feel truly free and able to contribute to the art of storytelling.
Danielle Kessler can be reached at [email protected] or @reserv0irpups on Twitter.