The Simmons Multicultural Center hosted its annual Open Mic Night to a crowd of Florida Southern students Wednesday night.
At 6 p.m. in Tutu’s Cafe, aspiring poets and musicians gathered to share their work to a packed crowd. Host Jason Alexander, of Smart Mouth Saturdays, encouraged 17 students as they gathered their courage at the mic.
“I saw many people came for the free coffee, but it was the largest and most engaging audience we’ve ever had,” Alexander said. “We had significant amount of students from different locations and backgrounds ready to give their all.”
Being the fourth year the event had commenced, the Multicultural Center was excited to see how the turnout would compare to previous years. Nearly 112 students, alongside faculty and local residents, attended, breaking the record of 80 from the previous year.
Derrick Jean-Baptiste, Intern of the Multicultural Center, said though difficult, it was interesting to host the event this semester. Despite location issues and maintenance at the Roux Library, Tutu’s proved to be a successful location.
“Even though Hurricane Irma pushed back Greek Week, which pushed us out of Eleanor Searle,” Jean-Baptiste said. “I would like to say it was beneficial to host in Tutus. Jason had great interactions from our audience, even the most shy members.”
A visitor to the campus, William Mores-Reyes, was impressed with the lineup, but regretted he didn’t participate. An avid rapper and spoken word poet, he spoke of his impression of the college after the event.
“I thought it was great, but I wish I could have been a Hispanic male voice in the lineup,” Mores-Reyes said. “A lot of the speakers spoke about their backgrounds and ethnicities, and I just wish I could have been one of them.”
Poetry dominated the event, with smaller performances of live music and other forms of literature. Jean-Baptiste, who performed a monologue, said the center is open to all performers of all trades.
“At previous events, we’ve had a tap dancer, actors, and even some who was just mad about their day and wanted to vent,” Jean-Baptiste said. “When we say everyone is welcome to perform, everyone is welcome to perform.”
Another poet, Ashley Augusty, a junior Film Studies student, who had performed for a previous Open Mic Night, spoke of her desire to keep attending the event.
“It’s just nice to get to share and cultivate my own words to such a great crowd,” Augusty said. “I’m glad the Simmons Center does their best to give us this opportunity each semester.”
Another Open Mic Night will occur next semester. The venue has yet to be determined, but with the crowd success at Tutus, the cafe will definitely be considered as the host site in the future.