By Mitali Pradhan, June 17 2020—
On June 6, Something to Say, an open mic event, was hosted virtually to celebrate Black lives, stories, and experiences. Artists from around Canada and the United States were present to voice their music and stories on the open mic. The event rose out of concern over the current situation regarding racial discrimination. The open mic attracted 33 individuals from several cities to its free Zoom call.
“We want to make sure the people who need to be heard the most are heard,” stated the host.
Jay F’ass, from Atlanta, was the first artist to take the mic and used this opportunity to perform an original and personal music piece. He also commented that he loves using music as a form of expression. Soul, another artist, also used the opportunity to sing a song centering around the theme of love. Samuel Bonhart, an artist from Detroit, presented a song which he used to represent where he is from. King Khali performed unreleased music at the open mic stating that this was the perfect platform to do so considering its involvement in promoting Black artists. The artists, in addition to performing, also made statements regarding current events.
“With police brutality and everything that’s going on, I know that in my community I have had crazy instances with police,” stated Soleil Bashale, an artist from South Dakota. “I have seen injustice, I have felt some type of prejudice”
He reiterated the importance of sharing perspectives such that people can take action.
“This is not just a representation of white on Black violence. This is an issue of many individuals coming together and saying ‘I matter more than you,’” stated Rusur, another artist who performed. “There have been too many names made known due to the brutality of people believing that bullying, threatening, killing someone they see as lesser than them doesn’t hold the same consequences as it would to people whom they believe matter.”
The artists also used the opportunity to raise important questions amongst the audience.
“If George Floyd did not die, would you still care?” questioned theempathsrevenge. “If you had cared would we even be here?”
The event was hosted by Elsewhere and Pretty Decent, an internet cafe. Pretty Decent focuses on providing a platform for creative entrepreneurs and creators to connect with each other. They prioritize ensuring that everyone has the digital tools and strategies to allow for diverse voices to be heard. Elsewhere is a community centered around the sharing of ideas utilizing online platforms. Over the past few weeks, Elsewhere has been hosting many shows to create meaningful experiences for people. Their goal is to empower artists and creators and connect communities using the power of social media.