We are Poetry. We are Art.

"A commanding presence. A display of black excellence. Each contributing to growth, knowledge, and your soul's betterment. If I could've contained this energy, it would've given life to decadence, leaving behind an aroma that would draw you in and set precedent." -Roc 
Last Sunday, the women of PYNKBerri, Inc. made Brooklyn's Highland Park a literal sanctuary for young, black American artists who traveled from as far as California and as close as Bushwick. The second annual Painting and Poetry in the Park BBQ featured 15 poets who showcased their raw talents, while congregating with others who share the same passion for the craft. 
Our featured visual artist this year, Symone Wong (@Sym.Symma), created a collective community mural display of ancient Egyptian royalty, purposefully placing a little girl in the forefront, to symbolize our history as a people and remind us of our future. 

This father-daughter love is beautiful.

Our music kept the crowd moving and vibing, thanks to Queens' own, DJ Fragg (@DJFragg).


 During the planning process of the event, I was able to learn a little about each poet by asking them a few questions about where they draw inspiration from.
"I write to express my views on life and to motivate my generation. This is my verbal illustration of life." @7evenCity
"I write for therapeutic reasons that a shrink wouldn't be able to help me with. I would describe my personal craft as transparent, journalistic, and emphatic." @Edgar_Allen_Josh
"God-sent, a treasure, and immaculate are three ways to describe my craft. Everything inspires me, from the dope dealers to the welfare recipients, to the doctor who grew up in the projects, to my parents who migrated here from Afrika. To the lost boys and girls of this generation... and the men that broke my heart. Everyone and everything inspires me to write." @ATribeCalledKush
"My style is second to none." @Nova_isig
"Writing is my therapy. It enables me to understand myself, while expressing myself." @Sssanni

"Writing is the only thing that understands me. Sometimes my thoughts are too complex to explain to anyone but pen and paper." @KamillewithaK

"I'm just an artist on a mission to change people's way of thinking." @Kwasi_Hygh

"Writing has always been an outlet for me to detach myself from the world. To release what is in my own mind has always been satisfying." @McAwesomee 

"My mom is my inspiration. I write because it brings me peace." @Kyradanice

"Anything I write, do, or say is because the Spirit told me so. Every time I pick up a pencil or type in my notepad, I am doing God's work." @KondwaniFidel
Before the show began, the poets came together, all supporting and encouraging each other. I think one of the poets, Seven City, said it best when he described the event as, "A new realm of consciousness. Where ego, pride, and status is irrelevant. We united as a family of artists who would never depreciate our story for the sake of fitting in. Proud to confess the fruit of our labor and the struggle in our stride."
"How will we ever become united and almighty? This isn't about popularity. Where is the solidarity?" @sssanni
"And I'm in a trance doing that red lady emoji lady dance because you got me that giddy!" @Br00klynbetty
"I touch families, I placed a bar they could not get over they were forced to limbo, yes I broke their back and slowly snatched black people pride, on the same streets Dr. King would guide, homes are depleted and filled with empty crack vials" @Grod03
"So I took my fist, clapped my hands, and started a fight!" @Breezybrisk
"I remember my grandmother bought me a bike on my 13th birthday. My mother then stole and sold it the next day. So she can go buy some drugs from Ray Ray. If I could just steal one wish from Ray Jay, it would be to spend Christmas with both of my parents like Craig and Day Day." @Kondwanifidel

"Black people, we must become solidified. We're too complacent and pacified. Not nationwide but worldwide." @Sssanni

"Sister, I mean my sistas, even your flaws are flawless!" @Nova_isig 
"... Your guts and your glory.. all that sh*t just seems to allure me. Action packed adventure never seems to bore me. It's like AMC or Lowes but there's never any lows.. You just water me daily and it grows.." @Br00klynbetty
"Your sperm is golden! Every woman ought not to be chosen! Cause if your seed is not planted in the right garden, our lineage will be like lost like Eden." @AtribecalledKush
"Black man don't believe the hype, I am your sanity!" @AtribecalledKush
"What will we do when the sham of perfection begins to decay? You will be amazed by what your description will say: She's a bad b*tch - but is them bills paid?" @KamillewithaK
"I'm trying to figure out a simple explanation to offer my son of why me and his mother have to live in different places. See, I've learned that relationships can be complicated.. So I'd rather perform surgery and put my heart back up on the shelf.. because I know sometimes it takes losing a part of you to find yourself." @Edgar_Allen_Josh
"I'm on a journey for my vision." @7venCity

Each poet executed and delivered, leaving every listener empowered and inspired. However, the most touching moment of the evening for me occurred after the sun went down. It had to be a little after 8:30.. By then, the park was filled with about a hundred people, standing in the dark, with no street lights or citronella candles to fight off those pesky mosquitos. I was so upset.. and I just knew everyone would leave the event, even though we had only made it through the first half of the show. To my surprise, every single person stayed, still copiously listening to each and every poet. Members of the crowd even used camera flashes and lights to help each poet be viewed by the audience. That was love and genuine respect. Although I learned, as a host to make sure we start earlier next year, I have to say, I am grateful for the authenticity of this year's event. I will never forget this.

I have to thank every artist for making this happen. It was not just your poems that touched my soul but it was your presence. Each of you had a blinding light of energy that I am so glad I was able to encounter. Continue writing and letting the world know that you will be heard!
My appreciation for each of you goes beyond words.
Josh @edgar_allen_josh 
Qyana @qyanaj
Nova @nova_isig
Kamille @kamillewithak 
Seven @7venCity 
The Kooz @tribecalledkush 
Sssanni @sssanni 
Breezy @breezybrisk 
Saphia @McAwesomee 
Kwasi @kwasi_hygh 
Roc @daddy_roc 
Kondwani @KondwaniFidel 
Gerard @Grod03 
Kyra @kyradanice_ 
Meekz @BrooklynBetty

Until next year...
Love. Write. Perform.

Photography: K. Dixon @TastetheKhase 
Q. Briscoe @BreezyBrisk


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