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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Black History Month Poetry Open Mic Night Hosted in Student Center

Ose Emafo

To celebrate Black History Month, WLOY Loyola Radio teamed up with the Black Student Association and the Student Government Association to hold an open mic night in the Andrew White Student Center. This isn’t the first time such an event has been held at the center, as the Loyola Belles have hosted open mic nights of their own in the past. But whereas those focused on music, this one had a focus on poetry from various black voices, speaking from their heart on their experiences.

The Open Mic Night brought together not just Black Loyola Students, but also local Baltimore talent and students of Govans Elementary School’s creative writing club.

Some of the performances were recitations of existing works. Malcom Kiiza ‘25 did a double recitation of the poems “Rise” by Maya Angelou and “Hymn for the Hurting” by Amanda Gorman. Other poems such as Langston Hughes’ “I too Sing America” and “Love after Love” by Derek Walcott were also performed amongst different participants.

Most of the poems, however, were original works. One of them was recited by student Markus Dudley, entitled “Living the Dream.” The poem was inspired by the works of Author Ta-Nehisi Coates and Markus’ own experiences growing up in a predominantly white town.

There was a plentiful amount of professional talent. Angelo White, local poet as well as rapper, was notable for the open mic night being his first time performing in front of an audience. He had positive thoughts on the experience.

“It was pretty nice. Nice atmosphere. My anxiety put everything into perspective… but it was a nice environment and I felt welcomed,” White said.

Unique Robinson, Baltimore poet and Professor of Maryland Institute College of Art, hyped up audiences to snap during a “Black church moment,” shouted out the poets belonging to her old elementary school and performed poems both off the cuff and from her published book “Not a Service.”

She also had words to share on the significance that poetry held to her.

“Poetry is a means of telling the truth and a source of liberation. It’s the freest I’ve ever been,” Robinson said.

Talking further, she elaborated on what she wished for the audience to take away from the night, talking about how she hoped they would feel.

“Feeling inspired. Feeling like ‘woah, you can do that with words?’ That they remember to always hear and respect other people’s stories,” Robinson said.

Ose Emafo

The last to perform for the night and the last to offer up some words for the press was host Onye Kninen ‘26.

“It’s Black history month, and we did something to open up to the community and show our heritage. As we are the minority of the campus,” Kninen said.

She also discussed what she hoped that guests came to take away from the event.

“Everyone’s voice needs to be heard and everyone’s voice needs to be expressed in an open and safe space. To show that everyone just wants to be heard,” Kninen said.

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