Poets, painters, vocalists, and writers gathered at the Anacostia Arts Center in southeast D.C. on March 7 to lend their voices, and insights to unsung stories and issues conflicting their community.
Tyece Wilkins, is the founder and director of the annual See. Speak Feel. Night of Performance and Arts.
Since premiering the show last year, Wilkins has embarked on a mission to lend a platform to today’s artists and truth seekers. “I think it’s a strong conviction that [these] things are supposed to be in the universe,” Wilkins said. “I am just the vessel that they come through.”
The sold out event encouraged the audience to listen, feel, and be healed through poems, songs, and visual artistry that touched on experiences, the good ones as well as nail-biting ones.
It was a first for some of the artists who performed at the showcase that night. Jazmin Goodwin, a 19-year-old Howard University freshman stage named The Lyrical Jaz, premiered a spoken word piece about sexual assault, which stemmed from a personal place for her. “This platform that Tyece provided I feel was very liberating for me. To be able to have an opportunity like this to share moments and experiences that people can relate to is refreshing,” Goodwin explained. “I would say as an artist, every day is a challenge, but it is a beautiful challenge”
Wilkins hopes the show left the audience energized and inspired to go and live by their own truths. “There are so many underground talents that just need an outlet. They just want their voice to be heard,” Wilkins said. “Even though this show only captures voices of 14 artists, I just think that there are so many people in here tonight who were inspired by the piece they heard.”
Female vocalist Karis Baker, 22, said she was immensely captivated by the crowds receptivity to her musical performance. Baker believes she heals people through her music. “I know that the sound of music is very powerful,” she said. “I use my magic and voice to help others.”
“Anytime you’re on a platform, whether it’s a singing platform or a spoken platform, you’re giving voice to something else that somebody else feels, thinks, is dealing with, is going through, and they just don’t have the words or the same platform to say it. These artists are connecting with someone else in the audience when they step up to perform.” said Wilkins.
Wilkins, an artist herself, has been on a constant mission to find her place and voice in a world where young voices can easily get lost. Since 2012, Wilkins has been chronicling her twenties through her blog called Twenties Unscripted. This is how she lends her voice to and connects connects women to the untold stories of other women in the community.