Friday, April 3, 2015

Social Justice Event

For my Social Justice event, I chose to attend a house show at the Watermyn Co-op house. There are a few different co-op houses on Waterman Street, and each of them houses up to 15 people. The houses are all connected to Brown University, but the Watermyn house has only a few Brown students living there. A few of the people living there are young working professionals, and some of them go to RIC or CCRI. You can read more about the Waterman co-op houses here if you're interested.

Watermyn is known for hosting shows, where they bring in performers such as singers, instrumentalists, and poets to share their art. I have been to two shows at Watermyn, and both of them were extremely entertaining and even eye-opening at times. Many of the performers referenced things in their songs or their poetry that relates to both SCWAAMP and some of our readings.

One of the first performers I saw was a Watermyn resident, and a great poet. His poetry was extremely moving, and talked mostly about race. The poet gave a back story (in the form of a poem of course) of a few of his ancestors, some of who were slaves in the United States before the Civil war. The poem is introduced with his oldest known ancestor, and makes its way up to his parents and finally himself. Every single person mentioned in the poem struggles with racial issues. Many of these people were enslaved, many were discriminated against, and even the poet himself has been affected by racism in this country. This relates greatly to SCWAAMP because it clearly shows that whiteness is valued in our society and that racism is still a huge problem today.

Many of the performers referenced gender issues. Another poet talked about their experience with being misgendered in their poetry, and told a touching story about their best friend, the first person to get their gender right and accept them for who they were. This greatly relates to August's Safe Spaces, referencing acceptance of the LGBTQ society. Another performer sung many songs about being neither a girl or a boy, and expressed how much they felt that they did not really fit in to our society. They expressed both male and female love interests in their songs as well. I have seen this person perform many times, and they are one of the best performers I have ever seen. Everything this person does is so powerful and heartfelt, and really addresses gender issues and LGBTQ issues in a very up front kind of way. Another performer that I saw was a transgender female. In her songs, she talked about her constant struggle of trying to fit in as a transgender female. She seemed very confident and sure of who she was while performing, but she sang about how hard it was for her to find herself. Her lyrics were very touching and often quite sad, and they greatly showed the prevalence of SCWAAMP and made me think about Safe Spaces, just as the other performers who referenced gender issues did.

The community of both of these shows was very positive. Everyone who was there quietly watched the performers when they went on, and it was obvious that everyone clearly enjoyed the show. The performers often talked to the audience to get them involved, and the audience always participated, whether it was just talking to the performers or singing along to a catchy bit of their song. Everyone there was included, and no one was left behind. Strangers I had never met sat down next to me, had a conversation with me, or connected with me during a performance. It was a very 'no one gets left behind' kind of atmosphere, and everyone there was both accepting of all the people around them and accepted for who they were, no matter what. I greatly enjoyed both of the shows I saw at the Watermyn house, and I would definitely go back for yet another.

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