Poetry is many times referred to as the greatest form of expression that gives any creative mind the freedom to express their inner most feelings and stories about life’s most meaningful moments. New York native Beny Blaq was able to make his poetry come alive in front of an audience here at West Chester University on Creative Minds: Spoken Word night. As Blaq began the evening he announced that he would like the night to be informal and encouraged students to move up closer and also encouraged writers to come on stage and recite some of their work. The room then became a relaxed and comfortable open forum for artistic expression, including performances by one of West Chester’s favorite bands Tangible Truth. Blaq recited a variety of poems that many members of the audience found relatable. His poems ranged from topics like his relationship with his father, the genocide happening in Africa and Somalia, and how hip-hop has gone dead. His first poem was about love and described in very intense detail the emotions love brings and how it can control his every sense and every thought. “African Queen” was his poem that focused on the current genocide in Somalia. He feels that our president is so focused on defeating terrorism and helping Iraq that he has ignored the 136,000 malnourished babies and the 24.5 million infected with HIV.
His main message is that the American people need to be movers and shakers in order to fight for the help that Africa needs. He feels it is the responsibility of the African Americans here in the United States to start making moves towards pressuring the government and pharmaceutical companies to further assist the current health and poverty issues in Africa.
Following this controversial topic he brings up another issue that hits close to home, Hip-Hop. Growing up in Brooklyn, New York hip-hop was a part of Blaq’s culture, yet his poem professed his deep disappointment with the negative direction hip-hop has taken. He is concerned with the violent and sexual lyrical content that many artists are aiming at their audience, which mostly involves kids. He feels hip-hop artists no longer think about their audience and the effect their lyrics have on our youth. His poem showed the lack of respect he has for the countless artists, who have made “hip-hop dead,” as he describes.
“Selfish Lover” was the title of his poem about how his father was there for him physically, but not emotionally. His father was one of the people in his life that told him not to pursue his artistic career. The poem described his father as a jealous lover who never cared for him because he spent most of his time battling with his mother and was very much into his religion. So at the end of the poem he describes himself as a “boy still crying for his father.”
Blaq explains that his issues with his parents while he was growing up inspired him to begin writing at the age of 13. He began as a closet writer and then decided to pursue a career. He uses his spoken word as a way to inform the world of the issues he feels most passionate about. “Silence if Forbidden,” one of his most popular poems, expresses his strong opinion that in order for things to change people need to stop being silent and begin making some noise. Blaq has definitely lived this idea of making noise, as he has made appearances on radio and television shows like HBO’s hit series “The Wire.” He encouraged members of the audience follow their dreams. His artistic journey is a personal testament that one should pursue their passion even in the face of opposition.