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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Black Women Poetry shares art through inclusive event

Hosts+of+the+Black+Women+Poetry+event%2C+which+includes%2C+from+left+to+right%2C+Alexa+Hurtado+and+Ivylove+Cudjoe.
Photo by Sydnei Miles

Hosts of the Black Women Poetry event, which includes, from left to right, Alexa Hurtado and Ivylove Cudjoe.

On Friday, Feb. 24, students joined together at the Texas A&M Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research and enjoyed poetic recitals of Africana poetry read by other fellow students as Black History Month nears its end.

The Department of Hispanic Studies and International Studies held the two-part Black Women Poetry event, which consisted not just of Black women’s poetry, but that of other cultures as well. The poems performed in the first part of the event covered Africana poetry in multiple languages such as Spanish, Portuguese and French. In the second part of the event, students conveyed more of a personal message from their experiences of life, diversity, philosophy and inequities.

Africana studies professor Rebecca Hankins attended the event and gave a brief presentation on the history Black women’s success in politics and literature in between the transition of the first part of the event to the next. Although rarely talked of and promoted throughout campus, Hankins said that the poetry event has had its history here at A&M for over two decades.

“This is carrying on a slam poetry tradition that started when I first came here in 2003,” Hankins said. “It has history, go to Cushing [Library], they have all the materials about the earlier slam poetry programs that were done by an English student. This is a long tradition, I’m glad that they’re reviving that.”

Hispanic studies graduate student Alexa Hurtado, co-host of the event, said that events like these are safe spaces for students to communicate and express their emotions to students who are willing to listen. Hurtado said that poetic events like these not only allow for the flow of thought, but the introduction to respect for other cultures and backgrounds which may not be as represented here on campus.

“It’s really important that we keep doing these types of events,” Hurtado said. “So that we can all feel safe, that we can all share and to be in tranquility that my words won’t [negatively] affect others, but on the contrary, motivate others to keep doing these types of activities.”

Hispanic studies Ph.D.  student Ivylove Cudjoe,, co-hosted the event and said art events like these showcase the hidden talents of any student. Although A&M is presented as a majority engineering school, there is an important artistic side that needs to be expressed, Cudjoe said.

“There is a poet in everybody, just you have to touch your creativity and let it out,” Cudjoe said. “We are not just about engineering, and these other departments have people who want to express themselves and they want to express themselves through poetry. You can be digitally in any department, including engineering. This is a way to just merge everything together, all of the departments and shout that arts people are here and we need languages in each and every one of them.”

Hurtado and Cudjoe both said they hope to turn this event into an annual seminar for the artistic expression of Aggie poetry.

“Next year, I can definitely see more funding and to have more people participating and actually competing,” Cudjoe said. “I want to just encourage people that they shouldn’t be silent on their creative stuff, they should come up and share that with the world.”

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About the Contributor
Sydnei Miles
Sydnei Miles, Head Life & Arts Editor
Sydnei Miles is a communication sophomore and journalism minor from Houston, Texas. She began reporting for The Battalion in the fall 2022 semester covering culture and community events happening on and around campus. Since January 2024, Sydnei has served as The Battalion's head Life & Arts editor and previously served as the assistant Life & Arts editor for some of the spring 2023 semester and for the fall 2023 semester.
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