Fresno Stateâ€™s local talent pool took center stage at Friday nightâ€™s Spoken Words of Freedom in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The event featured an eclectic group of artists that included students, teachers, and professional performers from all over California. They gathered in the Satellite Student Union. The styles ranged from pure poetry and spoken word, to comedy and rap.
The two most prominent acts of the evening were poet Dahlak and junior English major Rion â€œChicagoâ€ Spears.
Dahlak has been featured on the HBO original series â€œDef Jam Poetryâ€ several times, and has toured the nation with his group Ill-literacy. At the beginning of his set, Dahlak said he was going to â€œedutainâ€ the crowd, which he described as both educating and entertaining at the same time. His style both educated the audience on social issues and kept things lighthearted by presenting his poems with signature comedic delivery.
Spears, who writes and performs poetry under the name Chicago, said he has been spending much of the last couple of years performing poetry all over the nation from New York to Los Angeles. Spearsâ€™ name circulated so much that â€œDef Jam Poetryâ€ contacted Spears and asked him to be on the show.
â€œKnowing that Chicago is having a big performance, we wanted to do something where we can celebrate on campus within the community, and kind of send him off saying â€˜Fresno State has your back,â€™â€ said junior psychology major Dalitso Ruwe, the head organizer of the event.
â€œI feel extremely honored,â€ Spears said. â€œThis is not about me; this is truly about the community, spreading words, the truth.â€
Spearsâ€™ set featured many strong, heartfelt and emotional poems that regular attenders of the monthly Poetry Jam at The Bucket are accustomed to. His topics ranged from unhappines with the government, to imagining himself in the position of his incarcerated brother.
â€œThe talent pool was amazing, the poets ridiculous. I mean the comedian, the host, he just tore the house down,â€ said Pro, a rapper that traveled from Los Angeles to perform at the event. â€œEverybody altogether did an amazing job.â€
Local comedian Feather Da-Wyz hosted the show. Da-Wyz has been featured on the BET series Comic View and commonly organizes different types of entertainment in the city of Fresno.
Da-Wyz kept the crowd laughing throughout the event. When he wasnâ€™t giving away free tickets to the many events he promoted, he was making fun of someone or something in the show.
â€œTonight was mild, because I go real hard,â€ Da-Wyz said.
There werenâ€™t many free seats in the building; many people had to stand up.
â€œThe event was a success,â€ said Deana Pierro, a Fresno State alumna and professor that performed at the event. â€œIt was good to have all the different people come in and just listen to poetry.â€
Pierro said she was most impressed with the fact that a large body of students came to an educational event on a Friday night when students could have been doing a number of other activities.
â€œItâ€™s good to see students drawn to something that doesnâ€™t cause bad behavior,â€ Pierro said