School of Theater and Dance to host virtual open mic night

Open mic hopes to help black voices be heard

Courtesy+of+SOTD

Courtesy of SOTD

Colton Loeb, Reporter

DeKALB — The School of Theater and Dance’s Student Advisory Committee is hosting an open mic night 7 p.m. Friday via Zoom titled Black Art Matters.

The School of Theater and Dance wants to use its platform not only to help black voices to be heard in the theater community but also to influence other theater companies and schools to do the same.

You don’t have to be a student to attend the event, all are welcome.

Brandon Sapp, senior acting major and member of the Student Advisory Committee, had the idea to organize the event after watching video posts of people on social media expressing themselves through different forms of art.

He said this inspired him, as an actor, to be just as expressive; he knew he could find a way to organize a virtual event, calling more black artists to share their stories.

The event was made to showcase different forms of art, so viewers can expect singing, poetry, rap, acting and more.

“In the midst of the racial injustice and COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted black artists to come together and share their feelings towards the matter at hand, because their voices and lives matter in this country,” Sapp said.

Sapp said he believes performance art is the best way to invoke natural responses out of people and inspire individuals to rise up and take action. He said he believes it is much needed in the current state of the U.S.

Sapp has reached out to several black artists to speak at the event, but other black artists are free to share their art as well. If anyone is interested in performing at the open mic, they can email Sapp at branjsapp96@gmail.com.

“To begin, I’ll convey the purpose of the event, then allow the artists to perform one by one, and accept requests from other black artists to speak,” Sapp said. “Once we end, I’ll give people a chance to donate.”

Viewers can donate the day of the event, on Cash App to $BARTM20. Proceeds go to the Black Lives Matter Movement. Sapp said he encourages viewers to donate as much as they can.

“I want people to know that art is empowering,” Sapp said. “It’s necessary for black artists to use their talent as a weapon to dismantle racism.”

Ua Smith, junior acting major and black artist, created the artwork on the SAC poster for the event.

“It’s a poem/think piece/word vomit on how I feel in my skin as a black, gay, feminine male,” Smith said. “I think acknowledging both my queerness and blackness creates a space for the collective to talk about intersectionality and biases that both groups have towards one another.”

To see more beautiful art like Ua’s and to support NIU’s black artists, attend the open mic on Friday via Zoom. The Zoom ID is 993-4446-8155, password is Bam2020. If you can, donate and remember black art matters.