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Poetry Cipher "Deeply Rooted" in Black History

Staff Writer

Published: Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 08:10

Homecoming 2010 Poetry Cipher Deeply Rooted 2

Olajumoke Obayanju

Homecoming 2010 Poetry Cipher Deeply Rooted 3

Olajumoke Obayanju

Homecoming 2010 Poetry Cipher Deeply Rooted 1

Olajumoke Obayanju

 "Deeply Rooted," the homecoming poetry cipher, combined professional and student talent to showcase some of the best of spoken word poetry. 

The audience including, actress and Howard alum Phylicia Rashad, waited patiently for the event to start.

The cipher began with a powerful African-inspired performance and dance routine. 

The introduction set the atmosphere for the rest of the night. Poets like J. Ivy, Twin Poets, and Daniel Beaty brought a message of self-identity, education, and responsibility in the black community. 

While Sonya Renee, the first lady of spoken word, represented for the women artists. Def

Poetry Jam poet Saul Williams kept the crowd intrigued with metaphors about the status of the hip-hop industry. 

Howard alum Messiah, who also performed, says he was excited about returning to his second home and spreading the word about his recent works.

"It's a magnetic force that attracts people no matter how far you go. It's a new opportunity for me to reach new people with my artistry," said Messiah.

When Amiri Baraka approached the mic, the crowd greeted him with a standing ovation. As he peered into his pocket-sized poetry collection, he read a few poems to the anxious audience. His ‘Loku', what he calls the African-American version of a Haiku, spoke about real social issues in a comical style. 

"Study the stuff that you love. If you don't then you will be evil for the rest of your life," Baraka said.

The show also provided the opportunity for eight Howard University students to perform original pieces. The night ended with students discussing how they were impacted by the content of the poems. 

Sarah Brown, senior English major, says she was impressed with the show. "I thought it was a little long but it exceeded my expectations."

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