EMU’s Poetry Society hosted the 19th annual Color of Drums Poetry Celebration on Friday, Jan. 17 dedicated to the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. as well as a member of EMU Poetry Society who passed last year, Tiran Marion Burrell.
Burrell was a former EMU student, Poetry Society member and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Tiran Marion Burrell. Born March 7, 1991, Burrell passed on June 25, 2019. People spoke very highly of him, telling stories of his legend.
"[Tiran] was not only special to the Poetry Society, but to the campus as a whole. We are here today not to be sad, but to celebrate his life,” said Adams
Throughout the show, time was taken to recognize his family, who was also present. Dedications to Burrell continued with a moment of silence and the playing of his favorite song by Kanye West.
The event was themed “Legends Never Die” which related to Burrell’s time in EMU Poetry Society, as well as to Martin Luther King Jr. This event is one of several events dedicated to MLK over the weekend.
Doors to the event opened 30 minutes prior to the show allowing guests to come in, circulate and get comfortable. They were surrounded by music by today's popular artists like; Kanye West, DaBaby, Young Thug, Drake, Megan Thee Stallion, Roddy Ricch, Lizzo, etc.
Once the lights flickered and the music lowered, people began to settle. The two hosts of the night, “Ash Cash” or Ashley Adams and Tiraj Lucus entered with a warm welcome. Both were members of the EMU Poetry Society and have since graduated becoming a skincare entrepreneur and a published author.
“Freedom of expression; there is no censorship, no holding back and a lot of community behind events like this. It is the whole MLK weekend, it gets you the platform to say what you feel in front of an audience of your peers - and a positive environment to do so,” said Adams.
The first act of the night included an introduction performance by the Poetry Society, which showcased all members reading a group poem. Words spoken included, “Legends never die if they live within your memory.”
The show consisted of eight skits from the Poetry Society as well as performances from the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, EMU Gospel Choir and Diversion Dance Troupe. Skits brought up issues such as rape, drugs, racism, stereotypes and financial problems in the community. All skits incorporated audience participation, allowing snaps to applause and members to yell “rewind” to lines of poetry they found powerful, in which case the poet would restate the lines.
“It is where acting and poetry collide on stage. It's our staple event of the year. When you think of the Super Bowl, when you think of Wrestle Mania, that's what Color of Drums is. It's the biggest venue, it's the most amount of time that we invest going to practices and performances. We really try to convey a message that will socially educate our audience,” added Ivory Harris, Past President of the Poetry Society
According to EMU’s website, the EMU Poetry Society regularly performs pieces of this nature and “challenges stereotypes, breaks down barriers and expresses untold stories through a series of scenes, intertwining various messages with poems.”
To learn more about EMU Poetry Society, visit their Twitter: @EMU_PS