Being a part of organizing the 2nd annual hiphop expo for B.E.A.T.S (Building Education through the Arts and Transforming Society) this past weekend was a complete and total honor. Last year's expo on hiphop and sustainability was great, especially hearing Majora Carter speak and seeing Invincible perform. This year's expo surrounded women in hiphop. The theme was called When and Where I Enter: Women Beyond Gender Talk, and it featured an amazing keynote from Michaela Angela Davis along with a beautiful performance from Ursula Rucker. Although the expo was streamed live, which I hope will be archived somewhere, I taped Ursula doing her thing with my own little equipment. Not that I'm trying to start up my own little video production for this blog (like it's that serious), but I really wanted you all to get some footage of the experience I had at this year's expo. This video is her performing "The Awakening" off of 4Hero's Play with the Changes, one of my favorite albums by one of my favorite production groups, at OU's Grover Center.
When I talked to her during her poetry workshop, she was so chill with everything. One thing that stuck out to me during that session, something I should have always recognized when differentiating spoken word from music, was what she said about why whenever she speak she purposely separates poetry and music. She said although there are poetic origins in the lyricism of songs, poetry and music is like painting and photography.
So I thought about it for the rest of that day, and what she says is true. Poetry and music, as similar as they may be, are two different art forms. Poetry is aligned with painting in this sense: with painting, an artist gets the canvas AND the drawing tools in grasp for expression. The thought essentially is organic, just like in poetry. In photography, an artist may get a canvas, but it is a canvas with ideas and thoughts on them with little to no room for any outside or other thoughts. An artist's thought is primarily laid out in the presentation of that pre-made canvas. Does that mean it isn't an organic art form? I think so. Because with painting an artist is limitless with the way an artist wants to present the idea - from what colors used to the style of the stroke to where the finished piece will be on display. Although photography has many different techniques people can use, photography is not organic because an artist is limited by what is already there, i.e. the landscape or portrait being shot.
This was just one of the many things I got out of the hiphop expo last weekend. It is important to know that lyrics do not always need a beat to live. In fact, lyrics can sometime stand on its own.