Brown Noise Part II Shakes the Motley

On the night of Thursday, Nov. 3, members of the Claremont College community gathered in The Motley Coffeehouse for the second installment of Brown Noise: An Open Mic. The event was hosted by the new 5C slam poetry club, Motormouth, and centered specifically around POC voices.

Motormouth was founded this year by Eliamani Ismail SC ’20 and Avery Jonas PO ’20. Jonas decided to start Motormouth after hearing that the previous 5C slam team had died out.

Motormouth is both a casual club open to those interested in writing and exploring spoken word, as well as a slam team that plans to compete in various competitions throughout the year.

“Motormouth strives to create an uncensored, safe space for young writers and artists at the five Claremont Colleges to express themselves through spoken word,” states the Motormouth Facebook page.

Brown Noise Part II had just as much turnout as the event’s first installment. Students packed into the crowded Motley, eager to experience an evening of beautiful and impactful spoken word.

The open mic gave people of color in our community the opportunity to express their truths and vulnerabilities in a safe space. The poems that were shared explored a wide range of topics: racism, sexism, mental illness, homophobia, and more.

Ismail was the wonderfully dynamic emcee of the event. She ensured that the room was filled with positive energy and lots of snaps, gasps, and “mmhmms” to encourage the performers.

“I wanted to hold Brown Noise because I wanted to have a space where POC performers could feel affirmed in their identity and feel safe in sharing their craft,” Jonas said.

Zemia Edmondson PO ’20 was one of the night’s performers. When asked why she connected with slam poetry, Edmondson said, “I think there's this essential vulnerability the performer / writer has to undergo when they know their work will be heard out loud, and that when they perform they'll have to see people's reactions.”

Jonas also shared why spoken word resonates with him, saying it “speaks to me because it expresses certain emotions and intangible thoughts that wouldn't sound right in regular speech and in prose. Poetry is unique in that it can be free-verse and one has the autonomy to do whatever they like with a single thought, topic or idea.”

Motormouth will be hosting more open mic nights throughout the year, including the highly anticipated Brown Noise Part III.