Small voices make a public cry at poetry slam


Benjamin Garcia

Cagnolotti recites rap verses for the poetry slam event. Some made fun of him for being "old school."

Benjamin Garcia, Staff Writer

“Everyone has something to say and sometimes we don’t have a place to say it. (The purpose of) this event was to bring people together and let them express their words” said Taitu Negus, Business Administration major and Vice President of the Black Student Union.

Negus hosting the BSU poetry slam.
Taitu Negus hosted the event. She later received many comments in regards to her dynamism and humor. Photo credit: Benjamin Garcia


The event was a poetry slam put on by BSU on February 18th in acknowledgement of Black History Month.

Although it was titled a poetry slam, students could have performed spoken word, music, or anything else that “falls within the general category of poetry.”

The subject matter was also lenient, spanning from personal struggles (such as being bullied and wanting to change one’s body) to more global matters such as feminism and the Black Lives Matter movement. It took on an open mic format.

The idea BSU had during the initial planning phases for Black History Month and the students themselves took on most of the authority in organizing the event, only needing the proctors to facilitate.

English professor, Damon Cagnolatti, commented on the the showcase of skill, “We have a lot of talent that was revealed here at Cerritos.

“A lot of diamonds are in the rough of our college. It was an awesome of support and an exposition of talent,” he said.

One such notable “diamond” was the group Hillside who improvised a song on stage.

The Members of Hillside perform a son on stage.
Complete with a ukulele player, a singer, and a rapper Hillside performed an impomptu song on stage. They have a Soundcloud. Photo credit: Benjamin Garcia

Another performance of consequence was the Hip Hop piece titled Bad Beach by Sound Technician major Adam Lasser who later commented: “I’m a guitarist, I sing, and I write music. (Performing) is new to me. It was a nice way to see what people thought and get positive feed back. It’s a great way to vent.”

Among the numerous recitations of poems such as Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise,” rap verses such as Kendrick Lamar’s “How Much A Dollar Costs,there were a large number of original pieces.

One such was “Ocean Waves” by Communications major Samuel Carrot. This work discussed his relationship with the ocean, the tidal waves, the people at the beach, and the atmosphere.

Proctors and participants stated that they had little expectations for the event. BSU hosted this with strong curiosity and they were rewarded and fulfilled with the whims and happy accidents.

Negus concluded: “We had a good turnout. We had very good performers come up. I think over time people had to get warmed up. Then everyone started coming and contributing. I believe my expectations are fulfilled.”