By Stephanie Harper,
Special to the AFRO
April is National Poetry Month and this year’s Women of the World Poetry Slam took over Baltimore’s poetry scene for the first time.
Thanks to the Black Arts District, the city had a chance to experience competitive spoken word at its finest from March 29 to April 3.
The event was held over 4 days, in a myriad of local venues. As an event that highlights women authors and poets, residents saw it as a refreshing take on a genre of entertainment that also educates its spectators.
Women of the World Poetry Slam offered virtual opportunities for the preliminary rounds, and the finals were hosted both virtually and in person at the Baltimore Soundstage. Baltimore is ready for this form of entertainment and it shows- this year’s event featured no shortage of talented women in the lineup.
“We decided to do something different this year with WOWPS,” Lady Brion said. “We made it virtual because we knew COVID would make it difficult for some people to participate.”
Open mics, panel discussions and workshop opportunities with poets Crystal Valentine, Ebony Stewart and Freequency were also part of the days-long celebration of women and poetry.
Baltimore poetry scene legend Love the Poet commented on the event.
“I am an artist from Baltimore and I adore Lady Brion, who brought WOWPS to Baltimore,” said Love, adding that “it’s exciting to see events like this” in Charm City.
Women of the World Poetry Slam is an international event/festival that is specifically for individuals who identify as a woman that would like to compete. Started in 2008 by two women slam poets, this specific poetry slam has traveled around the United States and finally lands in Baltimore.
The event took place in Orlando last year, and in Baltimore organizers were sure to follow with a lively and high-energy show that transcended the screen.
Over 30 women competed and it quickly became an intense battle of words. With scores pouring in on the virtual platform, spectators and poets could experience an authentic poetry slam reminiscent of dark stages and heavy wordplay.
Lovey Afrodelic, host of the Preliminary Bouts, praised the platform for its “family vibe and warm feelings,” creating a positive space for the poets to perform.
This year, WOWPS featured several artists including one of Baltimore’s prolific poets, Mecca Verdell, who placed sixth.
It all came down to 10 amazing poets and Queen Keiani took the crown.
“I’m completely shocked,” she said. “I’m just so proud of us as women and I’m thankful that we all have the gift to be able to use our voice to share our stories because they’re so important. I’m inspired by every single poet I was able to hear throughout this whole competition and I’m just overwhelmed.”
Keiani added, “Thank you to for not only making this a fair competition but also making this a safe place where women can feel safe in being ourselves.”
Help us Continue to tell OUR Story and join the AFRO family as a member – subscribers are now members! Join here!