FORT GREENE – This weekend the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) will present the 15th annual celebration of spoken word and hip hop with Word. Sound. Power. BAM’s springtime performance will take place on Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6 at 7:30pm at BAM Fisher (321 Ashland Pl).
“Anyone who is coming to see the show is going to see some dynamic poets, emcees, dancers, DJs, and beatboxers,” co-curator and producer Mikal Amin Lee said. “They’re all performing their original work around themes that are associated with our in-school poetry residency program called Brooklyn Reads.”
Lee, who has overseen the springtime performance for the past 5 years, is also BAM’s Brooklyn Reads Program Manager. This program is designed to build students’ literacy through creative writing, poetry analysis, and individual performance.
“Youth poets get the opportunity to work with a teaching artist for 12 weeks,” Lee said. “They work around different themes that we select each year.”
This year the program is exploring the theme of Sankofa, which means ‘go back and get it’ in the Twi language of Ghana.
“Our artists have explored their histories, their pasts, their ancestors, and they brought back wisdom and insight,” director and host Baba Israel said.
The performance will also have a chance to explore a variety of additional themes.
“This show explores themes of masculinity, gentrification, police brutality, resilience, and the honoring of elders,” Israel said. “There is virtuosity, humor, and soulful movement and sound.”
Word. Sound. Power. in particular, is important to youth poets as it helps celebrate national poetry month.
“This is a month where I feel the most creative because all these poets and rappers share their stories,” youth poet Tamia Mya McArthur said. “They help influence the way I view the world and open my eyes to new things I possibly would have never seen.”
The show will include featured performers Mumu Fresh, La Bruja, Timothy DuWhite, and Gabriel Ramirez. A number of local artists, such as DJ Reborn, will also provide support throughout the performance.
“I spin music and set the tone as the audience enters the space before the performances start,” DJ Reborn said. She has been participating in this event since it first began in 2004.
“I have spun for many spoken word events, but I also want to be a mentor for a creative writing and spoken word organization that caters to NYC aspiring poets and MCs,” DJ Reborn said.
Audiences can expect a number of spoken word and hip-hop performances through Word. Sound. Power. while also having a chance to see the impact these programs have on youth poets.
“We really strive to provide a platform for young people to speak about the things that are most important to them,” Lee said. “For [youth poets] to interact with artists from all over the country who are doing the types of things that some of them, many of them, aspire to do is so powerful.”
Tickets for Word. Sound. Power. are $20 and can be purchased online.