Poetry reading highlights Black culture through 90s movie


Jaycie Nelson

Latitia Murdock reading her poem titled ‘Poetic Lover’ at the “Love Jones Poetry Night” in the Rhatigan Student Center on Feb. 9.

“You have me, and I have you.” This was just one of many lines of poetry performed Thursday night in the Rhatigan Student Center, which showcased the Black Student Union’s motto for the year, “community in unity.”

In honor of Black History month, the Black Student Union (BSU) partnered with the National Pan-hellenic Council on campus and hosted a “Love Jones Poetry Night,” based on the 1997 movie “Love Jones.”

“We titled it ‘Love Jones,’ based off of a movie where they have a lot of poetry scenes and actually about a relationship that forms in the scene of poetry,” Aubany Russell, BSU cabinet member, said.

The dim lighting set the atmosphere for the poetry. People signed up in advance to read poetry, but there were five minute intervals where anyone from the crowd could read poetry, either by another author or a piece they wrote themselves. Along with poetry, there was a table creating vision boards.

Omarian Brantley, BSU president, read the lines listed earlier, “You have me, and I have you,” along with the lines, “the sun has shine, the moon has beams.” He said his poem was centered about love and a relationship.

Brantley encouraged all the cabinet members to have a poem to read to help encourage others.

“People started to feel more comfortable to walk-up and give poetry, which I’m very excited about,” Brantley said.

Brantley came up with the idea for the “Love Jones” based poetry night, and he encourages everyone to watch the movie.

“I mean that was another goal, was just to introduce the community to another part of Black culture that’s not talked about,” Brantley said.

This month BSU is hosting multiple events based on movies and TV shows from the 90s that celebrate Black culture.

“The 90s is just like a small key into what our culture is — a sneak peak, a snippet,” Russell said.

Russell read the poem, “Welcome Me, Adulthood,” by Christina Cooper. Russell felt it catered to the college student audience.

“I wanted to key into the idea of us becoming adults … as we enter into this period of where we’re no longer kids, we’re starting to grow up into the world on our own,” Russell said. “I wanted a poem to represent that and express those concerns and sort of ideas with everyone in the room.”

Tamarea Jacques, BSU member, said he usually keeps his feelings to himself, but is able to express himself through poetry. The support of the community drew him into the event.

“We can bring each other together over our own written words in order to express ourselves,” Jacques said. “It’s a place where you can be vulnerable and won’t have to worry about judgment.”

Jacques said poetry is similar to hip-hop and rap, with verses just being said over a heavier beat. He writes poetry in rhyme schemes to help it flow better.

“My thought process is just gather all my thoughts and let it out all on a piece of paper or type it on my phone,” Jacques said.

The piece Jacques read tonight was title-less, but he considers  it one of his most interesting pieces. He felt encouraged to do his poem because of his peers.

“The first few lines I said, ‘sitting in a room of darkness and expectations,’” Jacques said. “As a college student, I feel like we all have done it before, sat there and just thought about it, like all the things that we have to accomplish and have to go through as college students.”