moca-poetry-3_fc.jpgMIAMI – My idea of poetry used to include people in their black, beatnik outfits and sun shades, making serious faces, talking about the Revolution.  It’s hard to admit, but I had stereotyped the beauty that is poetry and had not realized it.

The only way for me to redeem myself was to review a night dedicated to the art of putting words together and making them march to an artist’s beat.

The fast talking and rhyming that goes into reciting a poem, coupled with the hand gesturing and inhaling can look like quite the work out.  And like any good work out, if you know what you’re doing, you can have amazing results.

Each month, Mocha Soul Promotions hosts an entertainment series dedicated to amusing the masses.  Showcasing some of the best talent around, Mocha
Soul is a quality entertainment company geared toward entertaining the people of color who can’t get enough quality entertainment.

In honor of National Poetry Month, Mocha Soul presented a small group of poets to deliver their best poems to a Caleb Center auditorium audience. 

The event in the South Florida Soul Series, as it’s called by founder Chai Footman, showcased the talent of five unique individuals: Lizz Straight, Motown Pride, Jahipster, Triple Black, and Helena D. Lewis. 

Each talent, when faced with a stage, microphone, and disc jockey providing transition music, brought forth an energy that can only come from knowing your craft, honing it to your level of personal excellence, and shining without a spotlight. 

Straight, hailing from Tampa, is a conundrum.  While appearing to be the chic, stuck on herself type; closer inspection reveals a down-to-earth sister with an extremely likeable style. With her poems of empowerment for women, love for men, and the bad things we put into our bodies, Straight is as straight forward and unassuming as her bald head. 

Pride, of Detroit, Michigan, looks like he just came from a golfing tournament where he placed middle, but was proud of the trophy nonetheless. He struck me as an under dog, with no girlfriend. 

Of course, looks can be deceiving.  Pride’s style of reciting was poetic, artistic and descriptive of how he fell in love with the woman sitting next to him; but the rapid pace made it difficult for this reviewer to keep up, (which I chalked up to my novice status).

Jahipster means, “God made me who I am and these hips will make me famous.”  The Baltimore resident has that sister girl spirit.  Her poems about loving yourself, relationships from a male and female’s perspective, and the plight of racial portrayals in films make her seem like the friend you have from around the block who is always giving good advice and is best friend material

Black, from Chicago, is an intense brother.  He’s passionate about love, the “second coming,” and the dangers of unprotected sex.  Black’s style is serious in nature and context, but he had this totally unpredictable soft side. Black seems like a soul brother who is looking for the right woman to settle down and grow old with.  He’s the man who’s been there, done that and is all the wiser for it.

Lewis, a New Jersey native, is a cartoon character. A ball of energy that appears out of nowhere and tells you all of these things that you’re not sure you want to hear about, but as long as she’s telling you, you’ll listen. 

Her topics ranged from the humorous (bad breathed fans) to the tragically serious (the deaths of her three siblings.) Lewis’ caffeinated brand of reciting was quite enjoyable.  Lewis is like your crazy friend that’s always the life of the party.

My first poetry night experience wasn’t bad.  Despite the hour and a half wait, most likely due to technical difficulties, Mocha Soul’s idea of celebrating National Poetry Month piqued my interest in the genre. 

Yes, there was talk about the Revolution and there was talk about love and relationships – all to be expected.  I’m just glad I enjoyed it, too.

For more information on upcoming events, visit

Photo by Khary Bruyning. Jahipster