Southern University's weekly Mocha Room Poetry Reading has been credited with developing some of the city's hottest poets and musicians, including trumpeter John Gray, internationally ranked poet Chancelier “Xero” Skidmore and other current members of The Michael Foster Project. The Mocha Room's poetry events date back to 1987, when they were held in the auditorium of Steward Hall. In the fall of 1995, the weekly Wednesday events moved to the student union. The Baton Rouge Poetry Alliance, which puts on an open mic night at M Bar on the first Monday of each month, comprises 12 active members, seven of whom are Mocha Room alumni. Here are a few poets who got their start at the Mocha Room and continue to perform locally:
Slam master and president of the Baton Rouge Poetry Alliance, Young's first performance at Mocha Room in 2003 was to a standing room-only crowd. Young has been a member of two National Poetry Slam Teams and represented this city at the Women of the World Poetry Slam in 2011. “Within its walls, I challenged my creativity, battled performance anxiety, began to learn to trust my poetic voice,” Young says. “In addition to that, it's been a binding tie to some of the greatest performers I know.”
Having just competed at this year's National Poetry Slam, Minor's first experience at Mocha Room was in 2002. He was the winner of the 2004 Debose Poetry Writing Competition, where he was awarded the opportunity to perform for famed poet, Nikki Giovanni, and in 2005, he won at BET's Black College Tour Poetry Showcase. Minor says the Mocha Room allowed him to share and network with other poets. He hosted readings there from 2004-2011.
As the current Mocha Room co-host, Lynne’s first performance was in 2010. She graduated in 2011 and has hosted most of the readings since then. While Lynne says she’s happily lost every competition she’s entered, the Mocha Room provided her a platform to grow as a performer/poet, offering a non-judgmental ear when she needed to express herself.
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Bad Guys, Good Eats! Pop-Up Dinner at Restaurant IPO
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These swimsuits will keep you stylish all summer long
Better Block BR
On Saturday the two blocks between Bedford and Beverly drives on April 13, 2013, residents will get to see a model of what Government Street could look like if we push local and state officials to update the roadway to a safer, more "complete street" model.