In the video below, captured at the 2015 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, poets Darius Simpson and Scout Bostley passionately deliver their poem “Lost Voices.” Their performance is particularly timely in light of the conversations surrounding race and racism with the recent hate-fueled Charleston murders and Rachel Dolezal, a White woman who lied about being Black but claims to “identify as Black.”
The Eastern Michigan University students’ poem hits on the struggles and experiences of Simpson, a Black man and Scout, a White woman. The delivery was particularly impactful as the two poets switched places and passionately delivered each other’s verses through the other person’s narrative.
Simpson delivered Bostley’s poem as she mouthed the words revealing experiences tied to being a woman such as,
“…My body has become cause to write legislation, cause for a** smacks in the back of a class, my body has demanded everything except respect…”
Similarly, Bostley speaks through Simpson’s narrative, touching on his experiences being Black like,
“The first day I realized I was Black, it was 2000, we had just learned about Blacks for the first time in 2nd grade, at recess, all the White kids chased me into the woods chanting ‘slave’…”
The impactful visual of seeing Bostley and Simpson deliver experiences through the other person’s narrative, powerfully tied together in the end when the pair brought home their point that being an “ally” is welcomed as opposed to speaking on another group’s behalf.
“Never will I turn away an ally… but when a man speaks on my behalf, that only proves my point. Movements are driven by passion, not by asserting yourself dominant by a world that already puts you there,” the duo asserted together.
They switch back to their original places and proudly end their piece by speaking through their personal narrative and maintaining their “voice.”