Poets took to the floor two at a time, squaring up in a masterful competition of word and flow. They poured out their souls on stage to an audience that in turn listened enraptured and shouted with enthusiasm. While the competition was fierce, each poet brought a message that stood out on its own, backed by experience and passion. Together they spanned the human experience and painted a lyrical picture of black life in Cincinnati and America.
This was the explosive fifth edition of Stay Woke, a culture and creativity showcase hosted by artistic collective Blvck Seeds. The main event of the night was the Poetry Slam, the festival’s first, in which twenty poets competed for the grand prize of $150 and the opportunity to perform at Cincinnati’s Ubahn Fest, just a weekend away on September 8 and 9.
CJ Houston and Blvck Seeds member Siri Imani acted as MC for the Slam and introduced the three guest artists of the night. The first, singer-songwriter Lauren Eylise, serenaded t