The BLK GEN/Spittoon Grand Slam (DDC)

Part 2, 3 of June:

The Beijing Grand Slam at Yue Space.

Text by Matthew Byrne, Spittoon director.

As part of the Beijing Underground Summer Music Days, Spittoon and BLK GEN are proud to present the first ever Beijing Grand Slam competition at Yue Space on Sunday 3rd of June.

There are TWO major features of the event – a SLAM COMPETITION – and a special series of CHINESE SLAM POETS – slamming in Chinese for the first time after a series of BILINGUAL SLAM WORKSHOPS run by Zoe Xie.

What is a poetry slam? 

It’s a spoken word competition where the poets recite their own poetry and are not allowed to read from their phone or paper. Spoken word has been around for centuries but slams are a much more recent event that started in the Chicago in 1984. Slam poetry is a spoken word form of poetry that is largely influenced by the free verse and musical style.

What are the rules? 

There are no formal rules for the style or structure you must use. Poets sometimes utilize rhyme schemes, rhythms, pausing to add dramatic effects, pacing (speeding up and slowing down), and dynamics (going from a whisper to a shout). As for the rules to compete they are:

1. It has to be your own piece. You cannot use someone else’s work.

2. You can’t read from a piece of paper, book, phone, etc.

3. NO PROPS. You can’t wear costumes, play music or use props while you are performing. 

4. You will have 3 minutes to perform with a 10 second grace period.

作为北京夏季地下音乐节的一部分,spittoon 和 BLK GEN 自豪的宣布北京首次诗歌吟诵大赛6月3日星期天在乐空间举行。

这项活动有两个特色——诗歌吟诵比赛和特别系列之中文诗歌吟诵比赛。在由谢文琴举办过一些系列的双语诗歌研讨会后,我们首次推出中文诗歌吟诵。

诗歌吟诵是什么?

这是口头语诗歌比赛,在比赛中诗人背诵自己的诗歌作品,并不允许看手机或稿纸。口头语已经流传了几个世纪,但是诗歌吟诵是1984年起源于芝加哥的一个近代活动。 吟唱诗是诗歌的一种口语形式,深受自由诗体和音乐风格影响。

So FIRST, OUR GRAND SLAM…
WHO ARE THE CONTENDERS?

PJ, a Wyoming native, was dragged into slam in a meteor meets the dinosaurs kinda way… there was an impact to say the least. At 15, out of nowhere poets like Anis Mojgani and Jesse Parent would change the course and direction of his life. Parent took him in to begin competing in slams at that young age, and he never looked back. He began touring across the U.S. featuring at universities, bars, and cafes, as well as teaching workshops…. and then some devastating tragedy happened (college) and he ceased to write for 3 or more years… Finally, after moving across the world, the small underground slam scene in Beijing has helped him find his voice and pen again.

OKIN a.k.a NikolaiTNB is a Slam Poet & Hip-Hop Performer from Windhoek, Namibia was born to Namibian freedom fighters in the late 80’s & whose content ranges from a multitude of topics, including but not limited to Love, Life, Politics, the Black African Identity & Struggles experienced throughout his life & those of people he has met on his journeys.

As one third of critically acclaimed Hip-Hop/Poetry group Black Vulcanite, much of his content hinges around storytelling & he has been published in online & print Poetry Anthologies in South Africa & the United States, as well as various online & print magazines over the last 10 years.

Holly Baer is a writer and a teacher from Collins, Mississippi. She’s written for The Daily Mississippian, the Jackson Free Press, and Freethought Today, as well as Patheos.com.  She was featured in Confluence, a collection of poetry and short stories published by the University of Mississippi and Kingston University in London. She has done readings in Beijing with BLK GEN’s women’s day event in 2017, as well as Spittoon poetry and slam nights. She maintains a blog, www.HollyBaer.com . You can follow her on most social media platforms @HawliBear. She spends her days teaching small children or drinking flat whites at the nameless hutong coffee shop 50 meters from Beixinqiao Exit C.

Jumi grew up in Washington DC and went to her first spoken word event at 13 in Oakland. Since the, she has organized open mics and published two poetry chapbooks, I Luv Woman Girl Machine and Beware Of Dogs. Jumi has performed in venues in DC and Chicago, now performing in Beijing. When she’s not performing, she is teaching history or telling you a story about the ocean.

J.Penn was born and raised in New York. He has been performing and writing most of his life. Receiving theater training in both High School and College. The honest to God truth is, for J Penn, a voice is the most important possession a person can have. Not everyone has a voice that can be heard, so he use his voice to speak for those that cant speak.

Da MC (Simba Chikonye) is a Afrocentric conscious HipHop artist, poet and social commentator who’s been rapping for over 10 years. He is from Africa and his favorite art form is rap. Because of his storytelling style of rap, Da MC has begun to diversify and is not only doing HipHop music but poetry as well. Da MC has performed at various places around Beijing including Vics Club, D-One Club, Salsa Caribe, Global Warehouse club, Appreciate Africa Network’s Pride of Africa Awards and Speech Contest.

AND SECOND, OUR…
CHINESE SLAM WORKSHOPS and PERFORMANCE

This event is not only introducing Beijing’s first major instance of an organized Slam spanning two organizations. It will be the first instance of an organized Chinese Slam – with special workshops to mentor Chinese Slammers who will peform their slam pieces at the event. The workshops have FIVE PLACES and they are about to start going fast.

Zoe Xie

Slammers will learn about the criteria that Slams are judged on, from delivery, to difficulty to rapport with the crowd. Zoe Xie will work with Slam poets Okin and Hollie Montgomery from Spittoon’s Slam team to foster and grow a new kind of poetry performance in Beijing.

Performed for the first time at this event!

About Spittoon:

Spittoon is a platform that supports and sustains literary and artistic collaborations between the Chinese and the World. It organizes poetry and fiction reading nights, workshops, a music-poetry collaboration called Spit-Tunes, and the Spittoon Literary Magazine.

Magazine

About BLKGEN:

US natives Leroy Adams and Nayyir Shareef are the forces behind Beijing-born Edutainment brand BLK GEN, the city known Creative Events Planning & Consultancy Group utilizing the arts to spread enriching awareness of the displaced, disadvantaged and misrepresented African-Diaspora.

Founded in January of 2016, BLK GEN set off with one mission, to enrich to empower.

This to be accomplished thru events, initiatives, projects & other rich-works aligned with their aim utilizing the guiding principles of Creativity, Empowerment, Enrichment, Innovation and Sustainability. With impressionable influences gained from the stories of those living thru the ramifications of their history, including their own, met during world travels and using the qualitative commonalities behind the ills of social dynamics in modern culture as a compass for better sailing ahead ..grew their brand maxim, Engage to Enrich to Enspire. Along the way, BLK GEN has caught the attention of notable China media houses City Weekend Beijing, & The Beijinger among several other offshoots. Collaborations in events have also occurred with Peking University via the prestigious Yenching Academy as well as with other BLK-centric organizations to include a partnership series event with the Ambassador of Trinidad & Tobago. Laying the foundation for some serious ambitions in progressive race relations & a better world, BLK GEN sees opportunity everywhere. As an eclectic duo and institution they are now working to build strong partnerships with lesser known as well as many of your favorite household brands to deepen their efforts & further the reach around their mission.

Blkgen.com