Sean Slaughter Brings Together an International Lineup for House Of Poets LA
TOAN Magazine accepted an invitation to join the inaugural event for House of Poets by the poetic creator himself, Sean Slaughter. Held in the heart of the arts district in Downtown Los Angeles, the softly lit stage, exposed brick and spacious yet intimate venue collectively established the perfect ambience for an inspiring night of poetry. Slaughter hand selected an incredible line up bringing together artists from around the world such as Elizabeth Acevedo, Portia Bartley, Mahogany Browne, Amin Law and Pages Matam, just to name a few. Moving sounds from Ventage, LoveBomb and Chilean vocalist Paolo Ramirez, also contributed to the amazing turn out for the opening night. Thankfully, we were able to speak to a few of the artists, where they shared their sentiments of the night, before they floated off to bless the stage.
Born and raised in New York City and residing in D.C, the alluring Elizabeth Acevedo definitely grabs hold of your attention with her bold delivery and her Afro-Dominican pride seeping deeply through each performance. While traveling to L.A. to take part in a conference at AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs), Acevedo accepted an invitation from her high school friend and fellow youth poetry group member, Sean Slaughter, to join the House of Poets line up.
Among other things, Acevedo is a writer, performer and self-proclaimed ‘Womanist‘, part of the Drawbridge Collective, a group of artists and educators utilizing poetry as an instrument to connect cultural gaps. She tells TOAN, “Some of us rap, some of us do comedy, some of us do theatre, some of us are essayists, but the core thread that links us all together is writing poetry that disrupts the current narrative of black lives, lives of color, queer lives and immigrant lives.”
Pages “Le” Matam is a Cameroon native, bowtie enthusiast, and contributor to the Drawbridge Collective. He came through to support Sean by performing for the opening night. When speaking with TOAN Magazine about the evening, he expressed his love for the venue and excitement for the atmosphere. As well as his gratitude for sharing and exchanging in such good energy. When asked about his relationship with Sean, he told TOAN, “I’ve known Sean since he was a little tyke. It’s been dope to see him grow, to see him so passionate about his work. I respect that and I respect his work ethic and constant pursuit towards excellence.” When Sean extended the invitation, Pages mentioned, “There wasn’t even a second thought.” When Matam takes the stage, you must prepare yourself for ultimate transparency, while traveling through cultural, personal and social experiences. Le has been a resident of D.C. for close to two decades and is assimilating in the U.S. yet cultural pulls and divides are clear in his writings. We asked the multifaceted artist and educator what he had in store for the future. He replied with mentions of flights and hitting the road again. When speaking about the work he says, “They’re all poetry or teaching events. All my work revolves around art. If I’m not performing art, I’m teaching art, if I’m not teaching art, I’m organizing art.”
Portia Bartley’s spoken word is a package including woman empowerment and social consciousness. From London, the now L.A. based artist has already created waves throughout her new home. From performances at UCLA, Da Poetry Lounge and Leimert Park’s Regency Hall, Portia had participated in at least ten shows before stepping on the House of Poets’ stage. While catching up with her backstage, we couldn’t help but notice her dark shaded nail polish and had to pry. “The name of the polish is Honk If You Love OPI; it is a deep dark purple like my lipstick, called Cyber by MAC. Purple is my favorite color so it was kind of a given and I like dark shades of almost everything.” Of course while gawking at her nails we had to ask about her immense ring collection. “They’re all from different countries,” says Bartley about her rings. One an ankh ring from Egypt, two from Switzerland and one from Indonesia. The pinky-ring from Indonesia given as a graduation present, all gifted from her mum. As eclectic and magnetic Portia Bartley’s presence is, her poetry expresses it tenfold.
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