In the University of Northern Colorado’s second Open Mic Night of fall 2017, several poets took the stage in a wave of self-empowerment and self-love, providing unique variety to the musically-dominated event.
UNC sophomore Torrence Brown-Smith shifted directions from music to poetry with a risky piece he had written only moments before. Touching on aspects of sex and relationships, Brown-Smith delivered his fresh piece to an affirmative audience, prompting an encore at the end of his set.
“I like doing my poetry like a conversation,” Brown-Smith said, in commentary to his witty style and word choice.
Brown-Smith explained the poem to be a piece meant to empower women and display the power of sex, an idea he believes people often misuse. Attributing his sexual mindset to his Spanish ethnicity, the sociology and political science major stressed the correlation between sexuality, respect and the importance of human connection.
As for why Brown-Smith writes and performs poetry, he explained that art is the key to expressing himself. Brown-Smith said art helps to release stress and depression, and that he enjoys sharing his art because he wants listeners to have an escape from the stress of everyday life.
“I want people to get lost in what I’m saying,” Brown-Smith said.
Following his performance, more young poets took the stage in a new wave of spoken lyrics. Among the artists was UNC freshman Kendrick Trujillo, who performed an original titled “Mirror, Mirror.” Trujillo described the piece to be a “compilation of [his] best work” that was initially featured in a film about body image conceived during his senior year of high school. The poem encourages body positivity, self-love and acceptance.
“Hopefully I impacted someone’s day even a little bit,” Trujillo said. “There could be someone in the audience that needed to hear that.”
The aspiring teacher hopes to someday take his passion for performed self-expression to the classroom, to encourage kids like himself to write. Growing up in a single parent home, Trujillo recounted that he had a rough childhood experiencing and observing his mother’s struggles. He explained that his childhood taught him to appreciate what he has.
“Her emotion translated onto us,” Trujillo said.
In the small apartment Trujillo grew up in, he was soothed by the outlet he found in writing songs and poetry. As a fan of “darker themes,” he has explored topics relating to self-acceptance, body image, beauty and suicide, some of which have manifested into videos posted on his YouTube channel, The5th3lement.
Off the screen, Trujillo said he trusts a gut-feeling to perform his works.
“I wish I had more opportunities to do it,” Trujillo said, referring Open Mic Night. “I want to do this again.”
Trujillo is also a member of the UNC Club Dance team, and its schedule conflicts with the biweekly University Program Council event.
The next UPC Open Mic Night will be at 9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 18 in the University Center first floor atrium.
Follow Kendrick Trujillo