by Tanessa Dillard
“The Black Woman Speaks: A Message to All” was presented on Tuesday night in the Cabaret Theatre. In the 15-minute program, seven female African-American students performed a medley of opinionated poetry along with senior psychology major and ethnic studies minor DiShawn Givens, who wrote the pieces.
In the first poem, “The True Black Man,” the women combined movement and speech to collectively praise African-American men for their strength, wisdom and beauty.
Later in “Black Men/White Women,” African-American men were targeted for rejecting the women of their own race for women with blonde hair and blue eyes.
“I felt that it was something La Verne needed,” said Givens.
The poetry tackled themes from taking pride in one’s culture to racism, spirituality and unity.
The women sat on stage with lowered heads throughout the performance. With each piece a new voice emerged from the menagerie of performers.
In a poem called “The Healing Process,” the hymn “Amazing Grace” was hummed in the background. The spiritual served as a reminder of the role music played to comfort and heal during times of slavery.
A reception and discussion followed the performance.
Givens shared that she began writing those poems in the eighth grade and that they came from different times in her life.
“I do not think I should be apologetic for how I feel,” said Givens.
Sophomore theater major Nichole Mhoon thought the poems should be presented, so she decided to direct the show.
“My goal was to show self-love for who we all are and to uplift,” Mhoon said.
“[It was] a celebration of being who we are and loving ourselves for who we are,” said Givens.