Black Student Council invites major talent to Open Mic Night

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Photo by Richard Nwabuzor

Richard Nwabuzor, known as Richie Buz, preformed at the event.

On Oct. 8, Black Student Council invited local talent to Marquette University’s 707 Hub for an Open Mic Night. Creativity ranged from written music, rap, poetry and dance. It was a great opportunity to witness local talent. It’s something I’ve never experienced before.

Andrew Nash, a former Marquette Student, came to support his best friend Anthony Davis, who performed two beautiful poems. Nash did not perform that night, but he plays the drums. He even has an Instagram, @drewskidrummer, where anyone can view his craft. Nash also came to the open mic for the groove.

“I’m looking forward to hearing some new creatives in the city and to get some inspiration,” Nash said.

Sirlawren Tender, another former Marquette student, participated at the open mic in 2018. At the end of the event, he shared a poem called “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou. The poem was his way of sending off everyone with positive vibes.

“I came to support everyone: Black [people], people of color, everyone who has words to share,” Tender added. Tender brought his friend Danecia Mccullouth, a former Marquette student.

With the stress of midterm exams looming, the open mic was a great outlet for students to let loose for a couple of hours. “Everyone expresses themselves in rhythm, rhyme, even art and music. It’s just a creative way to, especially on a Friday, to not think… [but to] be a receiver of people’s words,” Sirlawren said.

The event’s atmosphere was centered around community. When I sat in a chair listening to poetry, songs, spoken words, I felt a sense of belonging as if I had a friend in everyone who came.

Another performer was Richard Nwabuzor, a 2020 College of Arts & Sciences graduate. Nwabuzor, whose stage name is Richie Buz, rapped one of his songs.

Nwabuzor said he wanted to hear everyone’s art in his chest. “I like it when people have their heart and soul in their art,” Nwabuzor said. Nwabuzor tries his best to make BSC events.

“Art is a beautiful thing; art is one of those things that keeps society going,” Nwabuzor said.

Interestingly, Marquette has talent within faculty. Simon Howard, a professor of psychology of race and prejudice, decided to perform that night.

Unfortunately, Howard will be leaving for a new position in January at the University of Miami, a position he couldn’t pass on, he said. Howard came to support BSC, the youth, and the glory.

“Black folks are glorious, and we are witnessing glory today.” Howard said.

He used the metaphor of food representing spoken words, like feeding your soul. “There was no better way to end a Friday and start the weekend.” Howard said.

Sierra Thomas and Nadxely Sanchez, both juniors in the College of Arts & Sciences, came to support everyone there. Thomas said the performers’ art was a breath of fresh air.

Thomas stated she looked forward to being around black students. “Especially in computer science, [there are] not a lot of Black students. I feel I am the only one as a junior.” Thomas said.

Sanchez was touched by Toni Neal, a first-year in the College of Arts & Sciences who shared a poem written for her brother who she lost due to gun violence.

Manny Rodriguez, a senior at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, rapped two songs he wrote himself. He used the open mic as an outlet to share his passion and really get himself out there.

Rodriguez wanted to come to support every performance, his friend Richard Nwabuzor, and Marquette BSC. Rodriguez loved the atmosphere, calling it chill and friendly. He even said the open mic exceeded his expectations. It was something to relax to as MSOE midterms were, as he referred to, “kicking his butt.” In general, Rodriguez came simply for his love of music.

Not surprisingly, Lonny Clay, BSC president and a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, stated he wanted the open mic to be family based and the performers who were invited came with positive, happy energy.

Pam Williams, a senior in the College of Communication, shared open mic was originally inspired by the Durag Fest she and two other Black women hosted here in Milwaukee July 25, 2020. Open mic was to fund the festival, but the event was enjoyable. Now, Open mic is a regular thing.

On Oct. 15, BSC hosted a Black Dialogue event. The organization is hoping to have another soon.

Open mic was a friendly, relaxing, creative space anyone would have enjoyed. It’s an event I will never forget. I will definitely attend more events. If you didn’t come, you most definitely missed out.

This story was written by Jonillia Davis. She can be reached at jonilla.davis@marquette.edu.