Rhymes with a reason

“Monday through Thursday blues. Friday we get f---ed up. Saturday we get f---ed. Sunday we ain’t alive,” poet Alex Cuevas stated firmly.

The second annual Young Poets Of Color show was lit. The energy was so elevated, it was more of an essence. Looking at the audience of more than 100 people inside Sol Collective, I could see the ’hood of South Sac, the ’burbs of the Fabulous 40s and generations of ancestors’ wildest dreams—all in the same room.

My friend Lydia and I hadn’t seen each other in forever and decided that watching Sacramento’s youth in action would create the perfect bonding moment. Beautiful shades of brown surrounded us—#BlackGirlMagic and #BlackBoyJoy were in full effect. Before the young’uns came out, the DJ took us on a trip through time with Mac Dre. We threw up our “T” hand signals with hyphy tracks. I damn near sweat my hair out before the real show even started.

Then, poets Khaya Osborne and Kali Ausselet exclaimed, “Why are you so concerned about the hair on my body in places you’ll never see?”

The young lyricists left their hearts on the stage one by one as they spoke on life and society in today’s world. I’ve been waiting for an event like this where young voices of color are heard. The poets wove unapologetic and genuine words and the crowd was ready to listen.

Author Salvin Chahal spoke about what it means to be a man and be vulnerable, and Kari Jay shared a gorgeous piece about recently murdered youth activist Brandon Harrison. My favorite part was seeing all of the different shades of skin dropping knowledge on each other about the world from their points of view.

The artists from this year and last performed in the name of poetry and out of love for Sol Collective. The first event raised $1,500 and put Sol that much closer to owning the building they’ve rented for almost 11 years, and this year, the shows at 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. both sold out.

Spoken word artist Chahal said he curated the event to provide a platform for powerful, young voices.

“I’m just doing the same thing people did for me,” he said. “I’m trying to do the same for my peoples and change the lives around me.”