By: IZZA JATALA
All is quiet as Jesse Camper, freshman at IU South Bend, walks to the front of the room ready to audition his talent as a spoken word artist for Apollo Night, the upcoming Black Student Union (BSU) and Titan Productions event.
The silence breaks when he begins energetically spitting out verses with a powerful tone. His movements match the passion in his voice as he paces from one side to the other.
He bows his head when his is finished and the small crowd of four snap their fingers in delight inside Fireside room A&B of the Grille last Thursday, Feb. 6.
“What I do is similar to poetry and almost flows like a rap, but is meant to be more powerful and inspiring,” Camper said.
The Apollo Night event is in honor of Black History Month and will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21 at the University Grill.
Jasmine Allen, president of the Black Student Union, has been busy preparing for the event and shared what it means to her.
“To me Apollo Night means opportunity because Apollo Night was the gateway for a lot of African-American performers. A way to showcase their talent and get into the entertainment industry in a time where there wasn’t many opportunities to do so.”
Mercedes Jones, student and BSU member, was in attendance at Thursday’s audition.
“It’s going to be an interesting mix of talent from poetry and singing to dancing and comedy,” she said
Jones said she hopes that they can get more to come out and audition.
“I want to see more diversity; we welcome all students to participate in this event,” Jones said.
She said she’s always surprised to see people she’s known around campus performing something that she never imagined they even did.
“I got to see Jesse’s audition, and he’s really great. I mean I’ve seen him around campus but I didn’t know he had all that in him,” Jones said.
Camper said he got into spoken word poetry a few years ago and really enjoys expressing himself in this way.
“What inspires me is what I’ve been through. I grew up in Chicago and there was a lot of violence out there to overcome. Also my family has a background as preachers. They’ve always encouraged me to preach too. So I combined that background with this kind of art form.”
Allen said she hopes people will come to Apollo Night, an event that celebrates a historic venue, honors Black History Month and supports local talent like Camper and the other performers.
“We hope to provide and night of entertainment and awareness,” Allen said.
For more information visit the event’s page on Facebook.
Students interested in auditioning for Apollo Night can contact Jasmine Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org.