Poets Are the Colors of the Diaspora

As a celebration of the Women's History Month's opening day and the ending of the Black History Month.

Jeronimo Saldana, president of Santa Monica College's Associated Students, organized the venue of Colors of the Diaspora poets to symbolize a bridge between African and Women's History as well as to celebrate self-empowerment and awareness across color, ethnicity and gender.

Normally, between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., the SMC cafeteria is packed with a mixed crowd of students rushing through to get some quick dinner, read their notes, or just catch up with friends before their night class begins.

Last Tuesday night, however, students sitting in the cafeteria got more than they expected out of their break, as five young African American women appeared out of the blue to deliver a soulful and inspirational spoken-word performance for them.

These five women, Crystal Irby, Noni Limar, Jade Ross, Viva Liles-Wilkin and Tamara Blue are the performers of Colors of the Diaspora, an international spoken-word collective of 10 powerful and spiritual young women from Johannesburg, South Africa to Los Angeles.

"The purpose of this event is to raise students' consciousness through poetry and educate them on non-traditional forms of learning.... We want to promote art and activism at Santa Monica College," said Saldana.

The performance is a combination of spoken-word poetry, hip-hop and story telling whose message empowers students to become critical thinkers and take control over their own lives.

Last Tuesday night, students looked intrigued and sometimes bewitched by the honesty, emotion and vivacity that filled the words of Colors of the Diaspora's five African American artists who performed in solos and duets.

Tamara Blue, a featured Def Jam poet, opened the performance with a hip-hop inspired monologue on racism and sexism that successfully captivated the attention of many students who started turning their chairs towards the imaginary stage to grasp the fast-paced lyrics.

Half-way through the performance, more and more students joined the event in the cafeteria and applauded the poets with enthusiasm while nodding to what was just said, as if they had just heard the truth being spoken out through the Colors of the Diaspora's poetry.

"I really liked it because it's a political awakening of the situation that our society is experiencing right now," said Noemi Dominguez, an SMC student who looked particularly captivated by the sho put on by The Colors of Diaspora.