MTV star from “Washington Heights” and writer from Girl Mob, Frankie Reese spoke during the Afro-Latinx Voices spoken word event in the Student Union ballroom alongside students performing poems in honor of their African American and Latinx cultures.
The night began with a talk from Connecticut’s very own Miss New Britain, Sylvana Maria Gonzalez. She spoke to the crowd about her life, what it is like to be a beauty pageant candidate, and how each individual contestant is judged on their character.
Gonzalez mentioned the judges look for the creation of an organization to focus on an issue that affects the population. Her organization of choice is called Rising Stars, which aims to prepare students of multicultural background with a concrete resume that sets them up for success. Gonzalez hopes each student to have the same opportunities and successes that the majority population has as well.
Next up was a representative of a exclusive hip-hop culture club on campus. He shared a poem appropriately titled “Unity.” He wrote with it the underlying message that “we all need to forget about our differences in race, ethnicity, backgrounds, etc. and learn to come together as one culture.”
Following this performance was the lecture by Frankie Reese. Many who remember Reese from “Washington Heights” do so because of her amazing talent of writing and inspiring. The program was a reality show dedicated to people of color who were finding their way in life through art, whether it was singing, rapping or spoken word.
Reese performed the poem she calls “her ticket to fame” because it got her casted onto the reality show four years ago. Her pure talent showed through her ability to formulate her ideas and create rhythmic flow in a way that captivated the crowd.
“I loved Frankie’s performance. It inspired me more to embrace my roots,” Angela Stewart, a fourth-semester human rights major, said.
After her spoken word, Reese got down to the nitty gritty about Afro-Latinx culture and why it is so difficult for those who identify as such to accept themselves. Reese referred to Elizabeth Acevedo, an Afro-Latina poet.
“I love Acevedo because in one of her poems that I love she talks about how even with hair we have been taught to conform to beliefs. She says Dominicans do hair so well because they’ve learned how to iron out and erase the kinks of our culture,” Reese said.
Reese continued on to say how important self-love is, especially in a society that causes you not to most of the time.
She said “being Afro-Latina means you have to accept yourself for your uniqueness. Honor whatever you’ve got going on, and honor others in that process. Put the glasses on and see the good. See the better things in life like the beauty of being in the presence of your friends and other people who inspire you and make you love yourself and life more.”
“I loved when Frankie talked about hair and how we have been kind of structured to think that our kinks and curls aren’t good. We should embrace our natural hair,” Kayla Martinez, a sixth-semester economics major, said
Reese’s insight on what culture is what she displays through her writing and everyday lifestyle, which happened to embody the entire message of the event: loving who you are and where you came from, and being your natural self unapologetically.
Today, Reese pursues her passion by performing and sharing her work to inspire others through themes of self love, female empowerment and culturistic embracement.
Gabrielle Ferrell is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.