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Open Mic S P O T L

I G H T

Poe�cal Word (London)

Hosted by @Kilhapoetry

Why did you choose that name? The night is actually run by Q aka @sufi-sage. I am merely the host so I’m not sure but knowing Q I’m guessing it was a name that felt truthful and reflec�ve of what they were trying to accomplish. The crea�on of a space for the poe�cal word to flow freely. But what do I know... I’m just the host ;)

Why did you start the open mic? As I said I am just the host and I plan the line up of headliners and special events but I got involved with Poe�cal Word because I loved how it was really focused on eleva�ng new talent. It was the first proper spoken word event that I performed at and I was so nervous but I was met with so much encouragement and support that I was determined to fight through my nerves and really find my voice, I guess I just really wanted to be able to give that encouragement back to others. No one can learn or develop when they feel afraid, so in my mind, Poe�cal Word really offers that safe space from were those voices can experiment, find out what works and take risks. Some of those risks will work but having a place where you can make mistakes without fear or shame means you have a place where ul�mately you can grow and that’s why PW is so important.

What is the best thing about your open mic? I think the best thing about Poe�cal Word is how suppor�ve everyone is. Like genuinely suppor�ve and really wants everyone to do well and really express your inner truth. That concept in itself can be terrifying. I think a lot of us become poets and ar�sts through historic trauma, D.W.Winnico� says that “Ar�sts are the people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide” and that makes so much sense to me. Voices who have o�en been silenced desperately wan�ng to be seen, wan�ng to be heard but who are s�ll ba�ling with those inherited feelings of shame around being heard, suddenly standing up in front of the crowd

Poetical World

The next Poe�cal Word night will be streamed on the @poe�cal_word insta on the 30th Nov 2020 at 7pm - 9pm BST with the incredible @sjk_poetry headlining

@kilhapoetry

Connect with her on Instagram!

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“When you come from a place of love, how can you go wrong?” and le�ng it all out. It’s a bit like running a marathon when you have been �ed up all your life. I think I cried for a week a�er the first �me I performed in front of people and it was heard. That’s the important bit.. the being accepted and being heard for who you are at your root, at your core. Without the bravado, the exteriors defences or characters we become. Just this stripped bare to your soul version of you standing tall and being accepted for who you are. PW gives space for you to deal with all that that’s going on at an unconscious level so you can come out and perform and deal with the things going on for each individual on a more conscious level. . What should people expect when they come to get on the mic? That’s your �me! You’re pla�orm so use it and use it passionately. Don’t worry about anyone else, be true to yourself and your voice and it will speak to someone who really need to hear what you had to say. Don’t worry about haters, remember that people are only judging themselves when they are judging others. Do your thing and do it with pride. When you come from a place of love how can you go wrong? How did you become the host? Q asked me to become the host a�er I did an online guest host slot during the lockdown and we just had so much fun. I was so nervous and prior to lockdown I rarely ever let anyone film or video me but the thought of being isolated from people was enough for me to think you know what, I need to just get over my insecuri�es because fundamentally everyone is insecure and most of the �me people are so busy worrying about their own things to no�ce the things you’re worried about. In all honestly when Q asked me to get involved I was really torn because of this but I couldn’t bare the thought of my insecuri�es ge�ng in the way of living life to the fullest. So I just decided OK, so i don’t have to be perfect, I just need to enjoy it and that’s what I do. I can’t watch the videos back because I find them so cringey but I just enjoy the night and I think people see that and hopefully enjoy it with me, rather than concentra�ng on the things I beat myself up over.

Open Mic Spotlight

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Poetical Word Live Stream @poe�cal_word

How do you keep the crowd's a�en�on throughout the night? We try and mix up the spoken word with some beats. We have the extremely talented @solomansoul DJing and making music throughout the night plus @t.kotodama who’s never ending skills and talent seem to grow every week that he turns up with a different instrument in hand. Why should people come to your open mic? So our night is spilt into two halves. The first half (when we go back to normal) is an open mic which is for the first 10 poets who sign up on the door but what makes our night so different is that we dedicate the second half to the headliner giving them a half hour set to do as they like with, and then a 25minute Q&A with me where we sit and chat about how they started and what wri�ng and poetry means to them. It’s all very relaxed and the audience can ask ques�ons and it’s a really nice way of ge�ng to know the person beneath the poetry and really make a connec�on. I mean, at the end of the day, isn’t that what we are all trying to do anyway?

What is the most memorable night that you’ve had at your venue so far? Every single �me we do this show I think we can’t get any be�er and every week I’m amazed by not just the talent but the energy, the connec�ons and the vulnerability and passion that’s brought. We’ve been lucky enough to have the spotlight on incredible ar�sts such as @maryamfc who is one of those real life walking angels and her words connect in your soul as though you have truly been in the presence of one, @amaliathealchemist who brings fire and honesty that few people can handle @leyspeaks who is a real example of how real strength comes from allowing yourself to be vulnerable and @poet_rs who is the king of word play and blows me away with the sharpness with which he delivers his messages across with. In my mind, spoken word is made up of both content and delivery and these guys have both and that’s rare.

November 30th 7pm - 9pm BST @Poe�cal_word

"I will love you harder on the days when your heart cannot decide between the beat or the stillness" -@quintessence02


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Sin So at 17, I was young and in my mind, I was like "don't nobody else do poetry in Fort Worth. I would make a killing." words. So, I started pursuing it and I looked for open mics and the first place I saw was The Dock Bookshop and that's where I ended up. But I went one week to check it out. The next week I was performing

But, outside of that, it's hard to know what people are thinking internally. I can say it's not just based off that name, but I've no�ced, depending on what shows I'm doing predominantly, or what I'm showing most publicly, most o�en people assume different things. Two examples. I got into a period where I was going heavy on How did you get to your stage name? the ero�c shows. I was doing nasty poems all over DFW. Not because So originally, I went by my of any par�cular reason other than government name, Sergio, but I the person who kept booking me knew I had to come up with a stage for everything kept having ero�c name. I'm really compartmental shows. So I wrote ero�c poems and about my life and all ar�sts have I did ero�c shows, but people stage names. I grew up with kind of started looking at me as an ero�c a split family. My mom and her side poet and trying to box me in. So, of the family are extremely when I first started hos�ng, I was Chris�an, like capital C. Church pos�ng all of my stuff to my IG every Sunday, Bible school, Bible page to promote and everything Where are you from originally? camp, everything. Ever since I was a and people saw it and they were Originally? I was born and raised in Fort worth, kid, I had a lot of ques�ons and I like, "oh, you do poetry, too?" And I Texas. never got sa�sfactory answers. It was like, 'what you mean, I been was always just trust God and God I don't know why I thought you were doin' poetry', you know? So, people knows, and XYZ. It was never an from another state started to assume that I was only answer that made any sense to me. this, ero�ca poet and I didn't do Some�mes, people think I’m from the East coast So, it just got to a point that I didn't anything else. or somethin', you know? Like, New York. buy into it anymore. And for me, Speaking of IG, and this is way when I was going to church, it was a Yeah, you've got East coast vibes for off topic, but I just thought lot of judging going on and it was sure. When did you start doing poetry? about it and I go�a ask. What is usually from people who were this SinsBeard page you have on That can mean a lot of different things. I started doing the same thing. So, I kind of wri�ng when I was a kid, but it turned into had a li�le bit of animosity and then there? poetry when I was in middle school or early high to my mom's side of the family, <laughing> Man, I don't know. I school, but I didn't take it serious un�l my woke up one day and my beard was everything you did was a sin. sophomore year of high school. I was about 17 Everything. Me picking this name pos�ng on Instagram. I was like, when I started wri�ng more consistently. I 'what the hell, bro?'. was kinda my way of saying, you started doing daily free-writes and things like know, these people in terms of <laughing> Wait, so you're not that. Maybe like six months later, I started going being honest, they're not controlling that page? to open mics. So, I've been pursuing poetry for forthcoming with their sins. They about seven years now. want to be holier than thou and if Nah, it's not me. I don't know the i'm going to be wri�ng, I go�a be What made you change your pursuit of password or anything. The beard honest. We are born sinners you poetry? goes on some people's instagram know, so I wanted my poems to not lives and comments back and forth. I can point to the specific moment. When I was be preachy. I wanted it to be honest I don't even know what's 17, I was working nights at Whataburger. I was and real and like, yeah, I mess up. I happening. During the Dock Open working overnight. It was my first job and when I want to show the bad side of me turned 18, I went and started working with my too, not just the good side. So that's Mic, the live on IG, I got a lot of comments about my beard dad was working construc�on. I didn't want to kinda where it started. And then it because I would go for weeks go to school, so that was my only op�on. That kind of just evolved into like, you was the only way I was gonna make any decent know, in society, it's kind of treated without cu�ng my hair, beard or anything and it would just grow in money, so that's what I did. And there was a like a sin to go against the grain and thick. But, during the live shows, night where I went out with my homeboys to see like-- wan�ng to be a full �me ar�st people would comment, 'don't cut a movie and everybody went in and I just wasn't can fall into that category. So it's feelin' it, so I told them that I just need a minute kind of taken on a new meaning for the beard' or whatever. So I guess it became a thing and then to reflect. I'm really big on like self-reflec�on. I me in that respect. somebody made a page about it. take �me out to think about what's going on in What are some things that people my life and what I don't like and all of that. I that people assume about you when didn't like the idea of being employed by they hear that your stage name is Sin? someone my whole life. So I started thinking and It was actually a good choice because I figured, well, I'm always wri�ng. I've always when I was s�ll ge�ng started, I would wri�en poetry and ever since I was a kid, my teachers always hyped me up. So I thought I was go and people would be like, "Hey, why Sin?" It became a conversa�on starter. the most amazing poet. It got me talking to people.

d r a e b ns

i s @

"I wanted my poems to be honest and real"

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@sinspokenword Yeah. You know, I looked up to my dad a lot because, for my whole life he's been in the same line of work. As long as I've Nah. I think I know who is behind it, been alive, he's been an iron worker and but I'm not sure if I’m supposed to be he's been a welder. And so when I got to telling people about it. I don't know work with him, I got to see the fruit of how the e�que�e for this works. I've prac�cing a trade for 20 years. At every never been in this situa�on before. job, he knows exactly what is going on. He could play any posi�on. He's skilled Yeah, it's not a manual on how to enough to do anybody's job and he is handle stuff like that. Define respected because of what he knows. poetry, for you. His skills are just undeniable. I liken that I don't think, I don't think it's that to an ar�st. I'm not worried about how clear defined. There are no rules to dope I'll be tomorrow. I'm excited to it. It can be whatever you make it. If keep wri�ng consistently so I can see you write a journal entry, but you how good I'll be in 10 years. spit it the right way, it's a poem. It Is your father's example really driving you doesn't have to rhyme, it doesn't to keep going? Or is it something else? have to follow XYZ. I mean, I'm a rebel. If yall tellin' me that poetry I think there's a lot of things. I said this to has to have metaphors I'll leave the somebody today and I feel like it sounds metaphors out just to prove that it's cocky and narcissis�c, but I truly believe s�ll a poem. But, I think poetry is it. And, if I can say in a humble way, I beau�ful. Anything can be a poem if mean in humble way. In my heart, I don't I want it to. I don't have to do feel like I'm an employee. I don't feel like anything specific. I'm here to answer to no manager or supervisor or have no mee�ngs to argue You said that your teacher would about why I came in at 8:05 instead of 8 hype you up about being a great on the dot. I feel like my greatness is too poet. At what point did you realize much. I'm too smart. And I don't believe that you had talent? in working hard my whole life to make somebody else rich. That's like a huge Um, that's interes�ng. I don't know driver and it's just been a lot of if I can pinpoint it, but it's gra�tude. I always feel like I have a interes�ng because I oscillate window that's closing on the �me I have between these delusions of being to embody my greatness, if that makes the most amazing person on the sense. planet and like you're God's gi� to No, that makes perfect sense, man. What, earth with your poetry and then, it what exactly are you trying to do with switches to like, 'yo I'm trash. I'm your wri�ng gi�? worse than a SoundCloud rapper'. Like, I go back and forth and a lot of What I intend to do is build a fan base my life, and my poetry, has been like large enough to make a living. And if I that. It's like, yo', I had a good show can build a fan is large enough to make a so now I'm the coldest poet in DFW. comfortable living, go on some trips and And then I have a bad show or lose a invest in other things so I can diversify, SLAM and it's like, 'I'm trash.' It can then I'm cool with that. I want to have depend on how you're feeling any financial freedom and I want to not have given day. I think that how I feel to worry about that. I just want to enjoy mentally and how well I've been life be able to sustain myself from my art. caring for myself in that area will Have you ever had like a moment on determine how I feel about my stage where you completely messed up? work. I'm learning to be easier on myself, which I think is important. But I think recently I think recently I Yeah. I mess up all the �me. I'm just learning to embrace it.. finally became sure that I'm good. Maybe even as recent as this year. Tell me how you overcame it and kept coming back to the stage I'm really me�culous about rehearsing. That's real humble though. Cause So there's been a few �mes I've dropped you've been doing it for a long �me poems, but there's a lot of �mes that I've and for you to just now be saying, lost SLAMS because I just don't like to "I think I'm pre�y good", that says SLAM. I don't like to play the game of a lot. slam. You go�a be strategic about it and I get all artsy about it and I get up there and I'm like, 'I want to do the poem that That's crazy. I thought that was you just clownin' around.

"I'm excited to see how good i'll be in 10 years" - Sin

is on my heart' and I get up there, spit it and lose the slam. I had to lose a bunch of SLAMS before I realized that, hey, maybe I'm just not compe��ve and I just need to get on with something else. But I think it is huge to embrace mistakes. Online, I constantly mess up, I trip over my words, but it's fine. It happens. We're human. I just embrace it. I laugh at it and I move on. Once you learn how to embrace the fact that you're going to make mistakes and you stop being afraid of making mistakes, everything is a lot more comfortable and easy. Just accep�ng the fact that you're going to make mistakes Yeah. Don't be afraid to mess up. What's the worst thing that happen if you trip over your words? Nobody's going to care and 10 minutes later, the next poet is on the stage and nobody remembers. So we're going to get into the hos�ng. What was the hos�le takeover of Fort Worth Slam poetry like? <laughing> No, man, it wasn't that at all. <laughing> I know, i'm messing with you. But, explain what that was like. I'm gonna try to say it as fairly and accurately as I can. There was another host, named Mike Guinn, who ran the show for years before me. He hosted the open mic and coached the youth slam team and there was a disagreement between him and the youth slam team and they had some grievances with him and I wasn't there to know either side who was right or wrong. But, they came out and aired their grievances with him in the middle of a live open mic.

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They showed up and bogarted the open mic, is my understanding. I wasn't there yet but that's what I was told. I got there later night. I got there right a�er everything was over. They bogarted the open mic and aired out everything. When I got there, he basically said that he was going to take a hiatus and step away for a while. said, I'm going to take, you know, a hiatus. I'm going to step away for a while. He le� Chuck, my co-host, and somebody else to run the open mic. But, the other cohost had to back out for whatever reason, and I put my name in the hat as somebody who wanted to cohost. So, me and Chuck started co-hos�ng and Mike never came back, so, we're s�ll there. So, was hos�ng a desire of yours or did you stumble into it? Nah, I actually started an open mic before all this had happened called Decadence open mic and it only went for like two months. A friend of mine was a co-owner of a hookah lounge and he was like, 'I don't give a damn if you bring one person in here, we have no business. I don't care.' So, I basically had a free rein to use that venue whenever I wanted, I threw an open mic once a month over a few months, but the hookah lounge changed ownership and the new owners weren't fans of it, so it didn't con�nue. A�er that, I didn't want to start another one. I'm not a promoter. I learned I was not a promoter. I don't want to try to sell �ckets. And you know, it was just taking away from wri�ng. I didn't want nothing to do with it, but then this happened and I was like, I don't remember what my thinking was at the �me. I really don't. I don't remember what my reasoning was. I think I just wanted to help them keep it going and then once I got into it, it became my thing. Yeah, I can see how you slid into it. Right. And on top of that, I had my first college gig a li�le while a�er I had been hos�ng. I did some shows a�er I had been hos�ng for a while and I realized that my performance as a poet had improved because as a host, I was already used to like, not just ge�ng up and doing my stuff and .

leaving, but interac�ng with the crowd. As a host, I have to fill two hours. I have to shepherd this crowd and audience for two hours and keep stuff going. And if there ain't nobody else here to spit, then i'm going to do an hours’ worth of poems myself or something. So, I started valuing that more. Hos�ng has become my gym for performance. I never considered how that would make you a be�er poet, but I absolutely see how it can. Yeah, it's just you and them for two hours and nothing happens if you don't say stuff. So you go�a like get out your head and find ways to keep the show going. Keep them entertained and wan�ng to come back. It's performing. Do you have a favorite poem of yours? And if so, can you spell it like two, two or three lines? A favorite poem? My, you know, it's funny. Like, it's always, always some poem I haven't dropped yet. This is a nasty poem though. Let's go I freestyle a love note with my tongue on your neck, gli�er on my lips, by the �me I'm done that smells like your skin. Take a swim in your eyes. My hands, try to massage the �red out of your thighs. You dress up like that for me. Let me help you treat yourself for all the hard work you've been pu�ng in. Since you like both. I put on a show switching between aggression and tenderness hand on your throat, kissing you like waves meet the coast. I can see why you excelled with that type of poetry. I'm sure the ladies go crazy when you spit that. Who are some of the poets that influenced you the most? I'd have to say Rage (Almighty) and AJ Houston. Rage was the type of person you could learn from even when he wasn't trying to teach you something. One of the earliest events I went to, he hosted and there were only like four people in the audience. He went on to spit like it was super packed. Another �me, I saw him get super anxious before going on stage and i've always thought, 'if this legendary dude could get this anxious before

going on stage, then I could probably go pre�y far being a nervous wreck myself. He always did a great job at winning crowed over and I just try to learn from him. AJ just plays with words and make things make sense that shoulnd't make sense. He has these dope, conflic�ng metaphors and vivid imagery, so stylistaclly, i've been trying to learn from that lately. How do you want to be remembered? Man, that’s a tough ques�on. I’ve thought about the impact I want to have, but not really about how I want to be remembered. I want people to remember that I lead by example. I feel l like I’ve been fortunate enough to have room to grow and figure out healthy ways to maneuver and keep myself sane. I want them to remember the posi�vity I bring to everything. I would like people to take the healthy and posi�ve things I said and evolve it into something be�er. I hope, through my ac�ons, people will remember me as somebody who has done right by everyone. I want to prac�ce doing right by family and friends and being the best ar�st that I can be.

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