By: Jenna Craig
At the end of 2020, everyone endured a troubling holiday season amidst the current pandemic. When you’re isolated from your family and friends, every night feels silent. However, here at Off The Lane, we brought nostalgic holiday cheer back to our community through the Not So Silent Night, launched exclusively on Instagram.
Six talented BIPOC spoken word artists shared what the holidays mean to them, igniting all our senses with their sentences.
In an effort to disrupt the white-centered art that chronically dominates the media, the Not So Silent Night artists painted pictures of their narratives using their original, unique voices.
“My voice is mine and mine only, there is no other me.”
In her piece, Kearmonie details some of her favorite elements of Christmas, including matching pajamas, rewatching the same movies, and performing songs with her sisters, despite not being able to sing.
Kearmonie is an Afro-Caribbean Spoken Word Artist, Filmmaker, and Teaching Artist from Brooklyn, NY. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Film/Post-Production at the Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema. Kearmonie’s work often exhibits the condition of the Black American from a millennial lens, with personal accounts of love, family, oppression, and womanism.
“When one person shares their truth, people around begin to feel safe to do the same.”
Pineapple upside-down cake, midnight car rides, and a competitive family game of spades. That’s Drew Drake’s holiday season, as he puts in his poem, “Holiday Heart“.
Drew Drake is an Actor, Poet, and Educator from Huntsville Alabama; focused on creating art that facilitates healthy dialogue for people of color. He was last seen in a National Commercial for Coors Seltzer in October, in the New York Times Critics Pick “TJ Loves Sally Forever” at Jack Theatre in February, and the independent film “Privilege” in May.
“There are good and bad things about whatever place we call home…. We have to remember all sides of our stories and learn from them.”
If your family also makes up their own Christmas carols, you’ll relate to Dale Novella’s “Christmas Where I’m From,” a delightful piece detailing her experience when home for the holidays.
Hailing from the South Carolina Lowcountry with a home base in Brooklyn, powerhouse vocalist Dale Novella brings Soul, Hip-Hop, R&b, and Rock vibes to everything she creates. An entrepreneur with a cornucopia of talents, and ventures she defies conventions and singular definitions.
“Keep writing. Keep sharing it with the world. You never know who’s life you just changed.”
“Cloaked in a frigid snowstorm” is perfectly fitting for this week’s weather, says Lyrical Faith as she speaks of icy NYC winters.
A Bronx native born and raised, Lyrical Faith is a Black American educator, activist and award-winning international spoken word poet who believes in a future for her world, much bigger than she can see. She is the founder of a nonprofit organization known as Poetry For Service, the founder of a college-educated network of artists known as Black Greek Poets, and the Co-Founder of a monthly open mic and showcase for young adults in NYC known as The Harlem Bomb Shelter.
“I use my voice to share my story so that others can find the strength within themselves to share theirs. You will never see a garden with just one flower.”
Born and raised in Queens, NY, J Rose’s “Noche Buena” explores her childhood memories and the desire to reconnect with them as a grown-up.
J Rose is a spoken word artist born and raised in Queens, NY. Her love for Hip Hop inspired her to start writing poetry over 20 years ago. In 2015 she decided to take her poetry from paper to the stage and since then she’s grown into a powerhouse in the creative community. She’s always focused on providing a safe space for creatives to share their passions.
“It’s important to use your voice to speak truth to power and allow your voice to echo to the ears that needs to hear it.”
Like many others isolated in quarantine, Camryn Bruno expresses her desire to be back home, however she embraces her solidarity, houseplants and all.
Camryn Bruno is a spoken word Poet, author and Digital content creator. She is a National Slam Champion, and her work has been seen at the Apollo, Brooklyn Museum, The Met, The Public Theater, The UN and Manaus more monumental spaces.You can purchase her new book., “Queen Bee Cavity” via her website Spoken Word Artist | Camryn Bruno
We hope you enjoy re-watching these pieces as much as we did! As the pandemic persists, we can make our own nights a little less quiet by reflecting on happy memories, reaching out to friends and family, and being grateful for all we have.