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Open mic lets students express emotion

Antonio Cortez Appling, also known as Paz 1, recited a poem he wrote at Open Mic Night in Dailey Theater Wednesday. The poem about racism elicited cheers from the audience. Appling works as an English teacher at the Soledad Enrichment Action Education Center, an alternative high school in South Gate. / photo by Candice Salazar

Alexa Palacios
Staff Writer

Snaps, daps and roaring cheers filled Dailey Theatre on Tuesday evening for an open mic night hosted by the members of the Black Student Union.

Around 70 students and outside supporters filled the building to experience the talents of more than 20 poets, singers and even a beat-boxer, all accomplished in their own right.

“I’m living on land but I’m lost at sea,” were among some of the elicit words delivered by Richard Richardson also known as News Brief, senior movement and sports science major.

He said he got his name because his friends used to always tell him that he had the news.

The enticing performers were accompanied by a stool, a microphone and a spotlight fused with an open and actively participating crowd.

The performers were given a limit of five minutes to express themselves through their words. By the crowd’s reaction after each performance, they were all amazing and each word they spoke was relatable.

The host for the night, DeAntwann Johnson, kept the crowd enthused with his welcoming personality and entertained by his own drawing words of poetry.

“I have been writing poetry for eight years and performing for two years now,” said Johnson.

Johnson said that he hopes to see if a night designated for student expression once a month, although every other week would be ideal.

“I figured if tonight was successful, I would see about having another open mic night under the Black Student Union,” Johnson said.

Each of the student poets and singers performed pieces with an array of topics and themes that were either original or a piece that was a personal favorite to them.

The most prevalent themes infiltrated through each performance throughout the night were love and relatability.

Many recited poems or sang songs describing their own personal struggles with love or the beauty of it.

One performer, Brianne Nordstrom, sang of a different experience with love and wrote a song for her boyfriend, who was present in the audience.

Relatability, the second most prevalent theme, was one of the ways that the performers really won over the crowd.

Each performer sang and spoke of a place many people in the audience obviously knew very well and it made the environment all the more comfortable and calm.

“I want to start off with this poem first because I really want to feel you guys out as a crowd and talk about something I think we all can relate to,” said Brian Oliva, also known as SuperB, who was the last poet of the night reciting four poems.

The Black Student Union’s next large event will be the Black Retreat on April 10.

Alexa Palacios can be reached at

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