The Student Activities Board invited spoken word poet and arts educator Jinahie to perform Sept. 6 in the Student Center Ballroom.
A college student herself, Jinahie is currently on a college tour and is juggling performing and pursuing a master’s degree in psychology.
“A lot of my work is super interactive and I am also an arts educator, so I teach spoken word as well. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how much that looked like therapy, so in the future I am interested in using art as therapeutic expression,” Jinahie said.
Jinahie has performed more than 100 shows, both as a part of her college tour and including performances for noteworthy individuals and organizations, such as Michelle Obama, Delta Airlines and TEDx.
She said she highly values performing on college campuses.
“I find that it’s such an empowering place to be because you find people at a stage in life where everyone is trying to put things together. To meet people and offer some form of relief is really rewarding,” Jinahie said.
She also thinks of performing as her own form of personal therapy, she said.
“When you open up a room, people start sharing their own stories, their own vulnerabilities and creating that safe space for other people to express themselves, and that is really therapeutic for me,” Jinahie said.
Her performance included various poems on topics ranging from her childhood to her identity as an Egyptian-American woman.
“I consider performing a form of activism, taking stories that are sometimes in the shadows and putting them on a platform. With performance there is a kind of humanity that is able to seep through the performance while raising consciousness and inspiring conversation that we are sometimes too afraid to have,” Jinahie said.
Students interacted during the performance by participating in a “potluck poem” in which each member of the audience wrote one line of a collaborated poem.
“I hope to one day to publish my collections of potluck poems as an artwork,” Jinahie said.
Jinahie also invited students to perform their own pieces on stage, and brought up volunteers to introduce one of her poems. At the beginning of one of her pieces, students who volunteered revealed some of their own vulnerabilities to the crowd.
“I thought the performance was beautiful. It’s important to have events like this because it brings people together,” senior Ayana Williams said.
Many of the students attending expressed their liking of both Jinahie’s performance and SAB’s choice in pop culture performance.
“Events like this are meant to inspire, laugh, cry and promote community. We all learned a lot about each other tonight and it was great,” freshman Aisha Ausler said.
Jinahie is the only spoken word poet lined up to perform per invitation from SAB this semester; however, it is possible that SAB will invite more spoken word artists in the spring.
“Jinahie has a different perspective as an Egyptian American poet, and we hope to invite more artists who promote different backgrounds,” SAB pop culture chair J’me Eddinger said.
Photo by Alexis Leyva