WO(C)ke open mic night allows marginalized voices to spit, speak, and sing

by Nina Campli, Contributing Writer

“A well read woman is a dangerous creature”– Lisa Kleypas

Women’s Herstory month continued at Drew with the Wake the F* Up (*Feminism) Open Mic night which invited people to come out and acknowledge women of color.  The event was made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Arts for Common Good Grant and organized by Ivy Wong (’17), Alexa Young (’17), Serena Rosenblatt (’17), Sabrina Chmelir (’17). MSA, ARIEL, DASA, KUUMBA and DEBS all co-sponsored the event. Olivia Rios (’19) took photos of the performances, and Aya Newman (’19) helped to prepare the Space. The event was designed to give women of color a voice, however, the microphone was open to anyone who had something to share. If you missed it, you missed an empowering evening, and for myself, as a white woman, a humbling one.

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A line gathered at the door to The Space hoping to be one of lucky attendees to receive a free t-shirt. There were many goodies available after the shirts were gone, including pins and stickers with the event’s name and the feminist symbol of the fist inside the Venus symbol. Raffle tickets were also handed out. There were nine prizes, eight of which were books written by women of color, such as Milk and Honey. The ninth prize was a bag with the quote above, which contained two mystery books inside, also written by women of color.

To kick-off the night, OADN, the all female acapella group and a co-sponsor of the event, gave a stellar performance. Then, those that wished to speak were invited to put their name in a tin can and were picked at random. Each person that spoke was asked to name a women of color they admired. There was a wide range of performances from all shapes, colors, and sizes of Drewids. Poems were by far the most popular medium. Some read poems by others, like Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman”, some read poems they had written themselves and others read poems in their native languages. Others chose to show off their amazing singing voices, and one person spat some inspiring bars. Still others shared stories about personal experiences that they wanted to share. All of them had a message, and an important one at that: “We matter and we will not stand down.”

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