Open mics are the perfect place to go to hear undiscovered talent, and Kreativity’s Open Mic Night did not disappoint. Held in the Cafritz Foundation Theatre of The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, an intimate black box theater, the event gave students, graduates or anyone who likes to perform a chance to do so without having to face intimidating stage.

Kreativity Diversity Troupe, a performing arts group at this university, holds two open mics every semester, along with a final show where they perform original works they’ve written. Current members April Monu, a junior theater major, and Rebecca Bradley, a senior psychology major, were the hosts for the show. They introduced the performers while plugging the Troupe’s end-of-semester show on Dec. 7, making the audience memorize the start time and even put it in their calendars.

The performers came from a variety of creative backgrounds, with some possessing more than one talent to show off. The first act of the night, freshman theater major CJ Robinson, kicked everything off with an a capella cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt.” The already somber song became even more emotional with no backing instruments, and Robinson’s performance was met with enthusiastic applause. A real jack-of-all-trades, he later came back to perform a short comedy routine.

Whitney Geohagan, one of Kreativity’s artistic directors, also gave a standout performance, as she read two poems she wrote, the first about love and the second, titled “Colored Women,” about the strength of black women in the face of hardship.

“We really, really try to make Kreativity–especially our open mics–a safe space,” shared Geohagan, a junior theatre major, who has been a member of the group for three years. The group’s provision of this open forum allowed every performer to freely express themselves without fear of judgement.

The next act was a duo, going by the aliases of DJ Language and De LaGhetto’. DJ Language went first, reciting a spoken word poem about his frustration with racial profiling, police brutality and the criminal justice system, punctuated with the sound of police sirens in the background. De LaGhetto’ followed with a rap about the same subject matter, with audio from news clips about police shootings ending the powerful performance.

The mic was not just open to this university’s students, as demonstrated by acts Winston Geohagan and Ronald Payne. Geohagan, a freshman music major at Montgomery College, rapped two original songs and pleased the crowd as he comically sauntered around stage. Payne, a junior film major also at Montgomery College, performed a self-deprecating standup comedy routine that made the audience simultaneously cringe, laugh and cheer.

Robinson, in his third appearance on stage, closed out the show. A change in pace from the previous poignant displays of talent, his comical performance allowed the open mic to end on a light note.

“One of my main goals with theater or arts in general is to tell stories that aren’t often given the space to be told,” Avery Collins, a 2016 theatre graduate of this university, expressed after his performance as De LaGhetto’.
Kreativity’s Open Mic Night gave that space to everyone who had a story to tell, and proved something important: whether you’re singing, speaking, rapping or dancing, if someone has something to say, people will listen.

Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of Mohammad Jangda’s Flickr account.

Setota Hailemariam is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at setotah98@gmail.com.

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