One Imagination presents Break the Silence! (BTS!) which is a community open mic held every LAST Thursday of the month at Pizza Pi in Long Beach, CA from 7:00 - 10:00 PM.
This may be contradictory to the name of this open mic, but sometimes it is better to listen than to speak. Two members of forWord, Stephanie and I, made it out to listen to some dope poetry and music. The last time we were here was at their 4th anniversary celebration, and it felt damn good to be back. This is community organizing at its finest bringing together people from all backgrounds into one room to share their stories and passion. Speaking of people from all backgrounds, there was one emcee who stepped up to the mic today reminding me that Hip Hop knows no boundaries.
The older white woman on the right went up on stage and rapped some verses about her experiences, such as one about being bullied as a kid. In the words of one of the main BTS! organizers, June said, “Hip Hop transcends borders. Hip Hop transcends ethnicities. Hip Hop transcends age.” This alone inspires me to keep going and going so that when I am 60 years old, I will still be able to express who I am because everyone, no matter what age, has a story to share.
A good friend of ours, Timothy Cheung, otherwise known as BIG BROTHA was featured tonight. I first met him briefly at Da Poetry Lounge when he volunteered to be a calibration poet for the slam happening that night. But I didn’t really “meet” him until we were in the cast together for SP!T II and it has been a fun journey since from A.P.O.E.M. to SP!T You’re It! to That’s Write writing workshops. Personally, it was a pleasure to support him at his feature!
BIG BROTHA blessed us with an array of his poems. Some were from his chapbook entitled, “Peace. Poetry. Progress.” Others came straight from his black notebook. And even more were from his mind. He opened up his set with “Happy” about childhood memories. His second poem described his writing style as being that of a conversational poet. He then asked the audience to pick a number to choose his next poem, “Just Friends (Friend Zone Poem #34),” which is about a close friend who kept falling for the wrong guys while he was there to pick up the pieces. His fourth piece, which is currently untitled, was dedicated to his late father which reminds us to always appreciate those we love. Lastly, he ended his set with “No Boundaries” about writing in your own voice that speaks to all artists who pursue the written and spoken word.
Steph and I were more than happy to listen to the silence being broken tonight! Much respect to all the organizers and artists who made this night possible. Without any doubt, Break the Silence! lives up to its name. Four years going strong. Support the venue!
- Eddy M. Gana Jr.