The cadence, the flow, the cutting glares and the finger snaps. All of these are great aspects of a spoken word poetry performance. But when applied to the world of social justice and politics, it can be an emotional journey and a form of storytelling more potent than any speech. It can communicate what others often cannot communicate via an Op-Ed. That’s why we have collaborated with or presented poets to organizations and businesses so often that want to reach audiences in a stirring way.
In January 2019, we worked with a talented young poet named Khamal Iwanyanwu, who created an MLK Tribute poem. It was part of some work we did for the LA County Federation of Labor at its annual Martin Luther King, Jr Breakfast.You can see him in action in this special spoken word performance video called ‘Daydreamers’. He is part of a larger cadre of young poets who are in the Get Lit program in Los Angeles. Get Lit is doing some incredible work while instilling a greater sense of pride, confidence and creativity for the students that are involved.
Khamal takes us on highs and lows with black history references, current matters of race, while dropping pop culture references to Black Panter and author Ta-Nehisi Coates (who was in the room at the time of this performance) There are many great lines in this poem, but one that stuck with us — especially in these turbulent political times with so much blaming and inflaming by our current President — was “The wise build bridges, the foolish build barriers”