2017 Launch Event: Spoken Word as a Way Home:
“Words create worlds and we are alchemists and magicians.”
Our host MC Angel rapped at last week’s launch event.
Often when we think of home, we assume a fixed place, perhaps somewhere we grew up, or feel safe. But what is home to those who are homeless, lost, or displaced?
Our launch event, featuring performances by spoken word poetry group, Mind Over Matter (a charitable events company focused on dismantling the stigma around mental health) explored what home means to different people beyond the idea of a fixed place. How home can be a movement, a conversation, and a mindset. Like our host, many of our spoken word poets see writing as a way of creating ‘Home’. Through figuring out the world around them, and finding a safe space in themselves.
For some, the body can be experienced as a home. As the only person of any ethnicity on her masters course, Anna explained spoken word helped her relate to herself, instead of the people around her. But that ultimately this comes from a place of power, “because home can be created within yourself, and whatever space you’re in.”
For Sanaah, “writing came from a place of feeling unhomed.” From Kashmir, and with displaced Grandparents, Sanaah explains growing up feeling unrooted. She says, “when we grow up, we take on their stories, and they become our own.” For some, home is an inherited feeling, and figuring out what home means is more of a journey. In her poem, ‘My Father’s Accent’ she spoke:
“I was raised on stories of return, and that hope is still alive in my Father’s eyes.”
Stood in the dark, and circled by fairy lights, you can imagine the electricity in the atmosphere as our speakers shared these raw stories. Even though each audience member will have a different idea of what home is, MC Angel says this authenticity, “gives a powerful, binding effect.”
Sometimes it’s the energy between a certain group of people that make a place or a home. She says spoken word is special, because it opens up an alliance where we can share our traumas, instead of keeping them inside.
“You always leave feeling connected and healed, your heart feels so full because you know it belongs to everyone else’s heart.”
Mind Over Matter is an independent project working to break down the stigma attached to mental health through hip hop and spoken word poetry. For Paul, the founder, spoken word and hip hop have always helped him find a way home.
After the trauma of losing his Mum, and growing up in an environment where people don’t talk about the difficult things, Paul fell into a 20 year battle with depression and addiction.
On finding the spoken word scene in London, things changed. He finally found somewhere that felt like a home. Often we feel we can’t talk about the difficult things, “but we can, you just need to go to the right place.”
“Spoken word helped me realise I wasn’t the only one struggling…for a long time I thought I was.”
Paul founded Mind Over Matter to give people the space for expression he never had. The supportive audiences at Mind Over Matter events make each poet feel comfortable. He explains, everyone’s nervous at first but,
“even when you mess up, you get applauded more, because everyone’s in the same boat, and they know what it’s like.”
Mind Over Matter host bi-monthly events, creating a safe, collaborative space for people to express themselves, with each event promoting a particular mental health organisation or project. The next event will be Sunday 22nd October, tickets are £6, with money from sales and any donations going to Broadway Lodge Addiction Centre. (www.broadwaylodge.org.uk)
Find Mind Over Matter Here: