Poet pair lead Spoken Word Night in Thad

The bold and powerful Kayla Lacey performs at the Spoken Word Night hosted by the Southern Miss Activities Council (SMAC) for the black history month.

“It’s lit in here, I can feel the lit- ation,” Kyla Lacey said when she took the stage.

Lacey, a spoken word artist from the sunshine state, has performed at numerous colleges and venues in almost 20 states. She has been nominated and received numerous awards including APCA’s Poet of the Year and Campus Activities Magazine’s Best Female Artist and was also a finalist in the largest regional poetry slam in the country in 2012.

The Spoken Word Night, sponsored by SMAC on Feb. 6, hosted Kyla Lacey and Lacey Roop, two talented performers.

Lacey leads poetry workshops for college and high school students. Her poetry tells her real life experiences which range from her stories of domestic abuse, to her experience with white privilege and even poems about her hair. Lacey is often invited to speak at programs during Black History Month, Women’s History Month and domestic violence awareness programs.

As an advocate and ally, Roop’s work discusses gender and sexuality, marginalized voices and women’s empowerment. According to Roop, she writes because it hurts not to.

Her bio on Bass/Schuler Entertainment promises, “She will make you laugh, cry and feel utterly inspired.”

Roop placed sixth at the Women of the World Poetry Slam, been a two-time member of the renowned Austin Poetry Slam team and ranked several times as a top-scoring poet at the Individual World Poetry Slam. She has also opened for the Grammy Award winning band – The Wailers, performed her poetry with the Grammy Award winning and transformative musical group Conspirare and been a featured performer at the sold-out Desert Rocks Musical Festival. Roop was also featured on PBS’s highly acclaimed show, “Roadtrip Nation.”

While the two artists performed their poetry, the audience responded with snaps, claps and shouts of agreement. Both women were able to share experiences in their lives that resonated with the audience. The atmosphere of the room allowed both Lacey and Roop to speak freely and discuss real issues.

One of Lacey’s most powerful poems was her account of how she escaped an abusive relationship which she prefaced,

“I’m a survivor of domestic violence,” Roop said. “I dated this guy named Satan for about four years. They say that I’ll heal, everything in due time. Well, maybe the judge should have given him a little more, because I still have nightmares, gasping for air, of how he tried to cut short mine.”

Lacey’s first poem used math phrases as she spoke on the topic of problem solving for an ex.

“And even Pythagoras couldn’t help us solve them,” Lacey said. “If I’m ‘A’ and you’re ‘B,’ we still can’t ‘C’ the square root of our problems.”

Lacey said she performed at a college where someone listened to a video at full volume during her performance. When the attendee’s friends apologized for his behavior, she said, “Nobody with a mullet will ever make me have a bad day.”

Roop followed Lacey’s performance with her own poems about “growing up crooked” in Mississippi and how “love is something that human beings need more of.”

“I’m from Mississippi,” she said. “And if you weren’t picking up what I was throwing down, I’m also gay.”

Roop said she had conflicting feelings about the concept of “home,” especially not being straight in the South. She described her first poem as a bittersweet love not to the South.

Roop played music alongside some of her performances. Roop said she was dissappointed in the state of education, and denounced the confirmation of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

“I’ve been calling all kinds of senators,” she said. “They love me.”

Roop began a poem by poking fun at Cosmopolitan sex tips, including one which advised someone to say at the dinner table, “You see how I’m devouring this piece of meat? That’s how I’m going to devour you later.”

“You could look at a body like that – something to be consumed instead of enjoyed,” Roop said. “I would rather pretend you were a bottle of wine, a slow intoxication.”

SMAC plans to host more events in the upcoming semester.