by Steffany Overby
Kelene Blake & Ilbersalle Fallon got MARRIED! *hits save & hovers over the publish button* Ok…so I guess should give the full Recap and share what happened the rest of the night at NeoSoul…but everything else was pretty much eclipsed by that beautiful moment. =)
Our host of the night, Christopher Michael, opened us with humor and a haiku…then in observance of the officer that arrested Sandra Bland being indicted shared #bringbackourpens. Sunni Soper got on the MIC and showed how a twist should be writ when she spit her New Sh** You “My pen loves to write you…” LaShawn Washington gave all of the women who wear heels life in Pumps. (for real for real I think there might be requests for that piece in the future…I felt hearts stirring with “Amens”) Shelby read her heartfelt piece An Open Letter to the “Body Positive” Woman “ I’ve spent my whole life trying to be smaller, both in size and in life, and here, with this movement I’m making a stand to never make myself small again.” PSA: NeoSoul’s Women of the World Poetry Slam Qualifier is 1/14/16.
Tim came through with “Dream On” and I know I for one look forward to the stories he has to share this year. Shaunie acquiesced to my request and read her New Sh** Starving for Conciousness “I am famished…they keep force feeding my artificial foods…inhumane solutions…Let the ohm of my breaths be bread and butter…May the Simplistic yet filling nature of these metaphors bring awareness and peace…fill me up before I pass.” Ashe Vernon set the tone for her 2016 with her New Sh** Skinny Boys With Beautiful Hands “I am trying to be the woman who wears her body in double digits but does not dress her mouth in apologies.” *snaps* Malik rolled through and gave us something to reflect on in The Bullet Eats. India introduced us to the Story/Slam style of Florida in He Gave Me More Than A Gucci Purse. I am always thankful when poets trust us to share the truth of their lives with us.
Christopher Michael gave us a sample of why he a 2x APS Slam Champ when he transitioned us to the portion of our Slam Champs Night with 16th Street Baptist Church Speaks “maybe if my steeple wasn’t such a tower I could do more than Babel.” Next up APS Slam Champ, Zai, spoke to our hearts with Patience/Patients. Before any NeoSoul Slam Champs got on the Mic, Christopher Michael gave a shout out to the 2012 NeoSoul Slam Champ Brently Cabellero, who wasn’t with us that night. And just like that Scott Free, the 2010 NeoSoul Slam Champ, hit us with Lucifer. Christopher Michael was right…only a poet would think of the possible love story from that perspective. Our 2008 & 2013 Slam Champ, Korim, showed us just why he wrecked the scene at such a young age in When I’m a Man “I am a good choice you Refused to Make.” Our most recent NeoSoul Slam Champ of 2015, Doc, let ‘em have it with Black Card.
It was no suprise to learn that the 2006 & 2014 NeoSoul Slam Champ was none other than BFran who shared “For Carolyn Thomas.” (he really does know how to tug at your tear ducts.) Another PSA: The Vagina Monologues will be on 2/7/16 & 2/8/16…please see Sunni Soper for more details. And we’re back with our NeoSoul Slam Champ of 2007, 2009 & 2011 Ebony Stewart. (I always love her dialogue with the audience when she is getting ready to share “nervous is 2 clicks away from excited”) And after she shared Start With Beautiful we found out just why she was so “excited/nervous” when she took off the outer jacket to reveal the outfit beneath…that’s right…Ebony officiated the ceremony for Kelene & Ilbersalle. BAM! 1st wedding ever in the history of NeoSoul right there on stage for all of us to share as the family/friends/community of these two poets we all LOVE! (I know my eyes weren’t dry when they were done.) It has been so amazing to witness the love they share #relationshipgoals. Amidst the congratulations to the newly weds, Ebony shared the piece I had only read on her FB Profile This Poem is About Joy “today a little boy is able to play outside and be a child with a full imagination…today the only time he was asked to put his hands up was to show us how he looks when he pretends he’s flying.” (It is always a treat when you get to hear the words off of the paper and in real life.) Korim…well…he did what poets do and spit New Sh** Shovel In My Hand like he had rehearsed it a dozen times. Doc came back up and broke it down in Deductive Reasoning. In case you have been hiding under a rock and haven’t heard the Frontera Fest is coming up…You can check out Christopher Michael, BFran & Doc in the Short Fringe show on 1/15/16 and in the Short Fringe show on 1/22/16 you can catch Glori B. & Teresa Johnson. Scott Free reminded us one more time why we miss him so much with his final poem of the night Jackie Robinson. BFran closed out the night with SafeSpace…or did he?! It AIN’T OVER YET…that’s right…Christopher Michael & BFran gave us Storm. (We all know what’s about to go down when they get that mischievous look in their eye and stand in close proximity of each other when the night is winding down and truthfully the performance just keeps getting better every time.) Ok…so your takeaways for the 1st Soul Report of the year…LOVE HAPPENS! Just look over your shoulder at our personal testimony sitting at the table next to yours. Where will you be on 1/14/16?! Oh, that’s right…with us while we witness Greatness as our Poets compete to represent NeoSoul at WOWPS in Brooklyn, New York.
Photo by Katrina Simpson