Story and Photos by: Steve Tressler
When Kentucky Soldiers, who are also big Kentucky Wildcat fans, are deployed, sometimes they can get a little bored when they can’t watch their beloved Wildcats!
Most servicemembers, stationed here in Djibouti, don’t have a television in their room (CLU) and some don’t even have internet. They scramble, scrape, and beg to get word of the Cats! So any time a new event comes up that can distract them from missing the games, a lot of them jump at the chance to go.
‘Djibouti Poetry Night and the Spoken Word’ is more commonly known as ‘grown-folk time’ to its patrons.
The dream for the event began with Navy Chief Petty Officer Alonzo D. Baker, a Chicago native, who not only writes and performs his own poetry, but is a fan of the ‘spoken word’ as well. He goes by the stage name ‘Real talk’ and serves as the MC for the evening.
On this night however, Real Talk left the MC duties to J-Spot and White Chocolate. Both of which did their best to dazzle the crowd with poetry and keep them laughing with wild humor and crazy comments that they bounced off of one another. They were not Real Talk, but served well as his replacements.
The soundtrack for the evening was brought to you by DJ Disc Jockey (his name) and Disc Jockey ‘Shorter than me.’ It was comprised of smooth R&B, Jazz, and a little 70’s, 80’s and 90’s R&B. No Rap.
The nights performances ranged widely from poetry, to dance, to a country music singer (who does a great Johnny Cash), to many other open-mic performers, with an array of talent as eclectic as the night itself.
The performer’s names were as cool as the poems they read; Queen Tye, J-Spot, Tresdawg aka ‘White Chocolate,’ the ‘Voice,’ Glover, and ‘Foxy’ Roxy, just to name a few.
Task Force Longrifles HHB 1st Sgt. Robert Burns sang a beautiful song for his wife. To listen to it click the link here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igc3QEt3bX4&feature=youtu.be
Michael Franklin, the ‘Voice,’ wowed the patrons with an original song and Davey T had the crowd smiling with his soft guitar rendition of Michael Jackson’s song ‘Human Nature.’
Many Task Force Longrifles Soldiers enjoyed the nice, quiet atmosphere. “It was so much fun, I had a blast! We’ve got some really talented people here, wow!” said Sgt. Michelle Buford, a Philadelphia native, who serves with Task Force Longrifles in the S1.
The nights fun ended with everyone in attendance forming the old ’Soul Train’ line and dancing through!
Although the ancient Greeks at one time had poetry as part of the Olympics, the modern day spoken word poetry became popular in the underground African-American community in the 1960s, via the ‘Last Poets.’
Now it would be fair to say the spoken word, thousands of miles from its roots, continues on here in Djibouti…..at least until these ‘Wildcats’ are back in the Bluegrass State!