Spoken-word artist Ebony Stewart returned to campus for the first time in over two years and facilitated an open mic event Tuesday evening in the Culp Center Cave.
The event hosted by Buctainment and Black Affairs was open to the students and faculty.
Stewart’s poetry often reflects on her own life.
Along with performing and coaching poetry, she also facilitates workshops on sexual health and women’s empowerment.
She is also the only adult female Three Time Slam Champion in Austin, Texas.
Stewart began the evening by welcoming everyone to the event and explained to the audience how the night was going to go.
“I will break the ice and then I encourage anyone with a talent to sign up to take the stage,” she said. “That talent can be spoken word, music, any talent that you have to share.”
After the crowd finished getting refreshments, Stewart took the stage once again asking the audience to verbally let her know if they like something she says during her performance.
“I can’t usually hear snaps, so if you like something I’ve said, make a noise,” Stewart said.
Stewart began with a spoken word poem about who she is and what her name means.
She then transitioned into a poem about flirting and love titled, “How to Properly Flirt with Someone You’re Attracted to and Want to be Yo Boo.”
At the close of that poem, Stewart introduced and welcomed the first volunteer to the stage, but not before speaking her own opinion on unshared talent.
“It is selfish when you have a talent, and keep it a secret,” she said.
The open mic performances included covers of popular songs by Sam Smith, Bob Marley and Alicia Keys.
Others took the stage to rap and sing original songs as well.
Some of the poets who performed combined spoken word with a cover of a song or an original one.
One group piece on a single parent relationship between a mother and daughter really shook the audience.
Throughout the night, Stewart created an inviting, casual atmosphere, which led many hesitant students to participate.
If someone expressed that they were anxious, Stewart pumped up the crowd, cheered and spoke many words of encouragement for that person.
To bring things to an end, Stewart took the stage one last time to perform a final piece, “Sway.”