This past Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, Kean University's Pan African Student Union (P.A.S.U.) and the Poetry Club hosted Rap Meets Poetry in the Cougar's Den, an open mic where students came to showcase their talents while celebrating the art of music as well as poetry.
The event ran for two hours, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Many people filled the Cougar's Den to watch different students from around campus grace the stage and share their gifts in the arts.
Some students performed rap music whereas others recited poetry and sang. All the performers were well-received by the crowd with some being cheered on by their friends.
There was a sign-up sheet for attendees to perform if they chose and throughout the night more people signed the list.
"Rap Meets Poetry was an interactive open mic, taking the edginess out of rap and connecting it with poetry," said Rahkim Fleetwood, creative board member of the Kean Poetry Club. "This event aimed to combine both of the two."
In between performances, there were a series of discussions centered around issues within the African community with the audience talking of ways they could be tackled.
Fleetwood had a few thoughts on the discussions and why they were so important to the event.
"Here at Kean University, we have a vast black student body on campus. Whenever we do our events, we want to talk about what's important to the African community," said Fleetwood.
He continued, "If we don't talk about it, then no one will. No matter the event, we must take time to educate ourselves and have these discussions around the problems in our community whether if it's easy or hard so that there are solutions."
The artistic significance of African Americans shaped contemporary culture as it is known today, ranging from a variety of music genres such as jazz, rock, country, rhythm and blues, along with classical music. Notably, The Black Arts Movement was a huge influence. This was a period that spurred a massive flux of artistic and literary development from 1965 to 1975.
According to Britannica, the movement sought to create a new form of art centered around black separatism. To this day, the significance of this time period is still being talked about and looked back upon for inspiration.
Many artists such as Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, Larry Neal, and Sonia Sanchez heavily influenced The Black Arts Movement.
The Pan African Student Union unites people of African descent across campus, helping them to gain a sense of who they are as individuals.
P.A.S.U.'s mission is to provide knowledge and empowerment on the pre-colonial roots of Africans, keeping those of African descent informed about their history and how it originated.
Kean's Poetry Club consists of musicians, poets, emcees, and artists aspiring to use their talents for expressive purposes while making a difference in their community. The club provides a safe space for these artists to share their works without judgement while receiving encouragement from people who are willing to support them.
For information about the Pan African Student Union please click here and to find out more about the Kean Poetry Club you can visit this link. Both organizations can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.