Photo by Kayla Michaud |CIGAR| After the event students gathered for a quick photo

The University of Rhode Island’s Women’s Center spread awareness about Gender Empowerment Week by hosting an “express yourself” open mic night on Tuesday, April 5th welcoming anyone who wanted to express themselves through performance to the stage.

The night’s performances featured several slam poetry pieces, hip hop routines and beatboxing, followed by a beatboxing battle. Students got personal with their poetic pieces as they invited their audience to listen to stories. From opening themselves up and expressing their feelings towards modern day issues, poets formed a connection with the audience that kept them entertained and informed.

The messages the poets brought to the stage were insightful and the eye’s of audience members were opened up to the often overlooked problems of troubled living environments and inequalities between people that exist today.

One student, Denise Woniewala, entitled her poem “A Letter to Donald Trump.” Woniewala used her poem to share her opinion on President Trump’s actions in our country. Soon after, two dancers performed hip-hop solos that empowered themselves as women. Each dancer displayed her strength and talent in their own unique way.

Taking the night into a different direction, two individuals brought their original beatboxing performances to the stage. All they needed was a microphone as they amazed their audience with their vocal percussion talent. Both performers often compete in beatboxing competitions and mentioned they thought the open mic night would be good practice before an upcoming competition.

After their separate performances, Chery Pratas, the Women’s Center program specialist who hosted the open-mic night, brought them back on stage for a beatboxing battle, presuming that most audience members haven’t seen a performance like that before.

This open mic night also included a special guest performance from renowned slam poet Mayda del Valle. Del Valle has performed at the White House for President Obama and the First Lady. She’s also been seen on Broadway in Tony Award winning “Def Poetry Jam.”

Del Ville read aloud with great expression poems from her new book, set to be released soon. The poems she selected to read invited the audience to take a close look into her life growing up, particularly during her teenage and young adult years. Del Ville explained that she wanted her book to be one should would have read at that age, but also one that she could still relate to now.

Previous articleRI Black Film Festival
Next article‘Mary Poppins’ flying to URI
Kayla Michaud
Kayla is a sophomore Film and Journalism double major who started writing for the Cigar the beginning of her freshman year. Outside of the Cigar, Kayla works as a Speaking Center Tutor on campus and enjoys photographing events, playing the cello and the ukulele. Email: kayla_michaud@my.uri.edu Twitter: Kayla_Eileen18