Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Brooklyn, Oh Brooklyn

It's taken a while to process that I'm actually in New York City.  I ventured into Brooklyn on my second day here to see the flea markets, where I saw flyers for a poetry slam that evening. A girl in the group was interested in going so I agreed to go with her as I'd never been to something like that and I felt it would add to my understanding of creativity though I was expecting it to be a bunch of hipsters.
Walking into the room where the poetry slam was held was a shock to me. The girl I was with and myself were the only caucasians in the room. This made me feel awkward and completely unsure how to act, as I felt that our presences may have made the other attendees uncomfortable, but leaving would anger them. We stayed and I am glad we did. The pieces that were presented that night were absolutely excellent and inspiring as well as being thought-provoking.

Two pieces in particular resonated with me. One was an improvised piece performed by a young man, whom I had expected (due to stereotypes) to read a poem about topics typical of young men, women, drugs and the like. I was pleasantly surprised when it was in fact about the differences between a father and a dad. This performance and its subject matter reinforced the notion that not all stereotypes are correct which made me feel disappointed as I had let stereotypes cloud my view. The other resonant piece was performed by a female and I had expected similar to many other pieces of the night on the topic of prejudice towards and/or the living conditions of people of colour in New York City. However, her piece focused on the use of the name shorty for women of colour and how it is a derogatory term that categorises women as small and inferior. It was particularly poignant as feminism is such a hot topic at present. This piece really touched me, as well as many others present, with many males in the room making comment on how it had affected them and they would stop using the term. This piece showed me that creativity can be used to help alleviate social issues.

Overall this experience further reinforced that stereotypes aren't always correct and the power behind words when they're used creatively.

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