Delta kicked off the Black history month celebrations on Thursday, Feb. 11 with a performance from Stockton’s First Poet Laureate Tama Brisbane .
“Black History is soil of the soul, if you don’t understand the soil around you how can you continue to grow?” said Brisbane during her performance.
The event was directed by the Delta College Cultural Awareness Program (CAP) and African American Employees Council (AAEC).
Brisbane presented “Her Spoken Words” in the West Forum with an audience of poets in training.
“I enjoyed the presentation a lot, how can you not with Ms. Tama Brisbane! She helped me to appreciate that I can have a voice and write poetry. It’s not just about rhyming words together, its about what you feel and the emotions that live inside you transcribed into words,” said Secretary of CAP James Forte.
The program started with her background and her significance to Stockton.
“Mama Tee is a strong community leader and in contact with human experiences,” said Robert Duran, president of ASDC.
In the early 2000s, Brisbane moved from Oakland to Stockton because housing was more affordable and because she said she felt a pull of energy.
“Theirs an energy about Stockton, you can feel it in the air but you have to be a self starter,” said Brisbane.
Since 2004, Brisbane has created safe spaces for youth to express themselves.
Brisbane and her husband are founders of a nonprofit slam poetry collective called W.O.W Inc. (With Our Words).
“I wanted to create a platform where there wasn’t one, to start one specifically for youth and young adults,” she said.
During her performance Brisbane had everyone stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
However, it wasn’t to see if the audience knew it. It was to show that it doesn’t matter how you recite it but how you give emotion to your poetry.
“A job of a poet is to create … a writers approach to language, free speech advocate and to give youth a dictionary,” she said.
Brisbane gave helpful tips to aspiring poets on how slam poetry works.
Meanwhile describing how to create poetry using creative self-expression and experiences as a black poet.
Throughout her days as a poet hearing, “Why you trying to talk white?”
She would answer, “Because my select weapon is a tight vocabulary… It’s a gift, how I channel my blessings and I had to find my own voice.”