On Monday, at 7 p.m. to be exact, as one walked into Grambling Hall, the lights dimmed as soothing soul music played from Stevie Wonder to Lauryn Hill and fingers snapped as stanzas were memorized and recited.
Lyrical Quest, an open-mic group that originated in 2008 on Grambling State University’s campus consist of students who breath, sleep and eat poetry. They put together a show with a number of talented poets who gave Grambling students an understanding of words that are relatable to the college lifestyle-from finances, to politics, self-acceptance and African American culture. Their performance was entitled ‘Great Poets Perform.’
By just rhyming words, these poets conveyed a message that left the crowd in awe. One particular poet, Tommy Payne, recited a poem describing a woman in the image of the controversial four letter word “love.” Having the theme of the show being “Feel My Pain” the crowd interpreted these poems as just that.
Taking a month to prepare the show, hosts Hasani Banks and Ardella Smith, known as the poet Poetic Norma Dee, pulled off hosting the show. But as each poet finished their poems, their faces read the reaction shocking more and more as the show went on.
With stunned faces as though they hadn’t prepared this very show themselves, they continued to introduce another poet that had the audience on the edge of their seats leaning forward as if they were leaning into every word she spoke.
Ending the show was Azania Briggs. With her strong delivery and meaningful message, Briggs, or Azania X to everyone else, won the crowd over with her heart-felt poem describing her relationship with her brother and the differences that their physical appearance bares.
Finishing the poem with an unexpected transformation of her poem, ultimately giving people the impression that she once was sad but now has come to the understanding that loving herself and the way she carries herself is the happiness she needs.