Jul 14, 2020
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Local author and poet Jaie Noelle reads her poem titled "Blind Spots" at the Cross Cultural Programs and Services monthly poetry jam on Feb. 20. (Paige Gibbs/The Collegian)

Black history and poetry is the order of the night

Just in time for Black History month, the Cross Cultural Programs and Services presented on Feb. 20 its monthly poetry jam featuring black artists for an intimate group of about 15 people.

Though the theme was black history, all were welcome to attend and perform. Set up in the Vintage Room, the event had snacks and drinks available for attendees.

There were four performers who read one poem each.

Local poet and author Jaie Noelle presented her poem titled “Blind Spots.” The poem focused on the idea that if a person continues to perpetuate stereotypes about race and ethnicity, these ideas become a blindspot to the truth.

Noelle was inspired to write the poem when she considered how people often see what they want to see, she said in an interview following her performance. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama and has applied for the graduate program at Fresno State.

The other artists read poems about family, lovers and even a poem written to Lady Diana Spencer before she was Princess Diana.

Between poetry readings, the student coordinators facilitated Kahoot challenges with multiple choice questions about black history. The winners received Starbucks gift cards.

The first challenge included questions about Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela and Tarana Burke. The second challenge featured questions about African American pop culture icons like Halle Berry and Oprah.

Two short videos were played during the hourlong event. The first was ESPN’s 2016 Black History month special titled “Rise Up” featuring singer and songwriter Andra Day.

“Black history does not repeat itself,” Day said in the video. “It evolves.”

The second video ended the evening. It was a 2016 NBC News video explaining the history of the #BlackLivesMatter movement created in response to increasing police violence.

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