‘Words and Verses’ showcase a range of talent during the National Black Theatre Festival

LB the Poet was the host of “Words and Verses” at the 2019 National Black Theatre Festival.

‘Words and Verses’ showcase a range of talent during the National Black Theatre Festival
August 08
00:00 2019

By Monica Fatorma

The Benton Convention Center’s Salem Ballroom had a packed crowd for “Words and Verses,” an event to showcase the talents of an array of singers, poets, musicians, and performers. Hosted by Winston-Salem’s own “LB the poet,” who has been hosting this event for several years, the audience showed their appreciation for each performer and waited patiently for the next artist to deliver their piece.

One after another the artists came on stage and performances quickly changed from light and interactive to more solemn and serious. It felt like each message was being delivered personally to each member of the audience.

“The fact that we can get together and express things that are going on right now, express things that have been going on for the past 400 years … the energy, you can feel it,  you can feel God’s presence, and it’s just a blessing to be here,” said Delano Davis II, also known by his stage name Fat Daddy. He expressed the motivation and drive of all the performers. Davis is a Winston-Salem native who has participated and hosted showcase events like this for many years in the community.

The headliner for the night was Abyss from DefPoetry Jam, who has participated in the National Black Theatre Festival for the last ten years. As the lights dimmed and Abyss walked on stage, the audience could feel an energy which drew them to this man who used a variety of methods to convey a great range and depth of emotion. Upon asking Abyss what made him fall in love with music, he said, “Running from depression. I lost my mom in a tragic car wreck. That’s what got me into it, but running from the mourning is what kept me into it.”

These types of events encourage many young people to do the same. More involvement of youth in the arts has been shown to help them better cope with hard times and even improve performance in school. “It’s very imperative that we have this, because we don’t have a real big platform to speak out some truth outside of what’s contrived in today’s society of what we deem as news and important, but what I like about coming out here is, I get to see my people be unapologetically us, ” Abyss said when asked about the importance of these types of events.

There is a general feeling that it will continue to grow and thrive. Over the past 30 years, the National Black Theatre Festival has grown as more actresses, actors, and other talent are finding their voices and platforms for their work. Abyss also expressed his vision for the future of this event. “I see it growing legs and even watching the younger generation, I feel like I’m in the J.Cole position, so I feel like the ‘middle child.’ I’m old enough to love hip-hop but I’m also old enough that I got to be more responsible, so I’m torn in between the two where sometimes the elders don’t understand the youth, so it’s my job to basically transcribe that.”

He did just that and others both on stage and those watching the performance clearly recognized the importance of this platform and their support of it as well.

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