Poetry slam to be held on campus tonight

Fueled by America’s tolerance of prejudice, hate crimes and anti-Semitism, three distinguished poets will perform tonight at 9 in the MLK Plaza.

“These are three of the best spoken word artists in the country and the subject matter they speak on – race, religion, anti-hate – is clearly something we want our students to learn about,” said Christopher Chell, graduate assistant of programming for the Office of Multicultural Activities.

Bryonn Bain, Jason Carney and Kevin Coval will participate in a multi-part spoken word program entitled Critical Minded, co-sponsored by the OMA and the Campus Activities Board. The program combines spoken word performances, workshops and round table discussions to educate students on the social climate around them.

All three artists have received national acclaim and have a history with the subjects they speak about.

Bain has been featured on 60 Minutes, is a graduate of Harvard Law School and placed second in the 2000 National Poetry Slam. He also is the founder of the Blackout Arts Collective.

As a former skinhead, Carney speaks to numerous college campuses as well as juvenile detention centers around the nation on the issues of gay hate crimes and racial intolerance. He has employed the use of poetry to reform himself and help others in similar situations.

Internationally known, Coval uses his religion and knowledge of current events to instruct and inform listeners on issues in the world around them. Coval has performed for groups in India, South Africa and is featured on Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry.

“Students would probably feel more empowered by the level of popularity the performers come with,” Chell said. “They are very renowned not only in their performance but also in their field of study. Students can be touched when they hear someone of this caliber speak to them.”

The first workshop will be held at 10 a.m. in room 296 of the Phyllis P. Marshall Center and will include an educational session taught by the trio on speaking to groups and the art of spoken word. Students will have the opportunity to interact with the speakers as well as complete coursework provided to them.

A similar class will be conducted at 3:00 p.m. in room 109 of the Physical Education Department. The day’s events will culminate with a spoken word performance from Bain, Carney and Coval. A follow up discussion will be held at Campus Two East on Sept. 24 at 5:00 p.m.