Spoken word and medicine

BY ALLEN A. BUCHANAN, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) teamed up with the All Kidney Patients Support Group to feature a morning of Poetry and Medicine at the Carter G. Woodson Museum last Sat., Oct 25.

Although the two organizations may initially seem like an unlikely matchup for an event, a closer look and more open perspective reveals that a healthy state of mind and spirit helps promote holistic well-being.

Cultural food for the mind and spirit was presented in the form of spoken word poetry by Marques Clark (aka Makem S.W.E.T) and R. MonaLeza, a public speaker, performance poet and photographer.

R. MonaLeza provided the historical framework for spoken word poetry dating back to the Harlem Renaissance Movement in the 1920s. Her poetry echoed the rhetorical rhythms of Maya Angelou and Sonia Sanchez.

On the other hand, the vibrant youthful poetry of Clark represented the new millennium generation of African-American poets drawing from the powerfully challenging and thought provocative rhetoric of Langston Hughes, Amiri Baraka and the Last Poets.

After the cultural recharge of the mind and spirit, Janice Starling-Williams shared her inspiring story on how she became a successful kidney donor recipient. In essence, a healthy outlook of one’s own culture perpetuates a holistically healthy human being. In reality, culture can be medicine because the way we act towards each other is driven by the way we learn to treat each other.

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