The Difference Between Love and Hate: Review of BEATS’ “Fall in Love”

By: Annalisa Smith

When I first walked into the dimmed, lounge-like setting of Fall In Love, I immediately expected a night of smooth, sex-drenched poetry scathing with the triteness of forbidden lust, unfulfilled desires, and broken hearts. As the band warmed up with a dulcet new age version of Michael Jackson’s “Butterflies” my expectations only got worse, but then the poets began to perform. What ensued was a night of revelation, fun, and freedom given an atmosphere of rhythmic harmony by the fantastic soul-band named ‘Cut the Check.’ The effect was a cathartic and life-endearing night of poetry, well-needed before the hectic onslaught of finals week.

As each poet stepped up to reveal their own truths about love and sex, the jazz-laced mellow lounge music (complete with electric guitar) created a relaxed atmosphere, brought to life by the poets who performed throughout the evening. There were, of course, presentations from the audience; some seasoned BEATS performers, and a few new performers trying out poetry and the stage for the very first time. The highlight of the evening were performances by Baltimore based poets Love and WordSlave who brought the heat with poems like “Just Love Me” and “Heaven Can Wait”, revealing love to be a living and multifaceted presence in all of our lives, whether it be platonic, self-love, or the various loves we share with others. The message of connection was manifested in their chorio-poem rendition of Billie Holidae’s “Strange Fruit”, urging us to look beyond ourselves and the hate crimes which threaten our community, to take control of our destiny and keep pushing forward since “[we] are not the crop/ [we] are the seed” for the next generation.

Oluponya stepped on the scene with a new rapper Alex who versed Eminem-style on the harsh realities of love between two people. The dialogue unfolded between the two personalities of the lyric expose the impossibility of a singular truth in any relationship, and that in some cases the only way to find a common ground is “to love someone enough to leave.” Latoya Edmonds (Class of 2007) performed a magnificent rendition of “At Last” alongside Charles “
Cary” Blundon on guitar.

The evening was given a lively twist by BEATS Apollo-esque poetry challenge to make the best poem out of the words “chocolate, wax, and blockbuster.” The entries ran the gambit from unabashed seduction to coy entreaties, leaving some gasping for air between laughter and the rest shamefully pleased from the excitement. Tsion the Wordsmith from Cut the Check freestyled passionately on the love that existed between himself and his young son despite his arguments with the child’s mother, stating there are bonds in life that can never be broken no matter how far they stretched.

What was expected to be an average night of mediocre poetry was in fact a celebration of the life and love in a relaxed atmosphere, giving a dreamer the space to dream and speakers the stage to speak their versions of the truth. Fall In Love was not just a reprieve to the wintry season, but a night of freedom to remind ourselves of the bonds that shape our lives and the expectations that face us as individuals in love and as a community against hatred.

 

Special Thanks to Khalifa Lee for additional information

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