Fine Arts

Coast 2 Soul: Voices of the Island

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By: Lauren Elizabeth Ware

On the first and third Tuesday of every month, people from all walks of life gather at The Proletariat Gallery & Public House to hear some of the finest words projected on stage. Upon entering, a sense of belonging is immediately bestowed upon you; people are greeting you and welcoming you into a world that shuts out the chaos of reality. A fine selection of wine and beer is at your disposal and art from local artists is put on display, decorating all the walls.

Before The Proletariat became what it is today, poetry had always been in circulation there, waiting to be released, heard, and understood. Tassie Wooldridge, also known as Big Mamma Tass, had been pushing for poetry for two years to breakout and to have a place where others could speak as well. She had a dream team in mind and had every intention of bringing it to life. Two years later, Big Mamma Tass sat in the living room of Myles Cooke with Lord Abraham Greatson and the three of them conjured up a name. A name that would change the face of poetry and spoken word. A name that felt natural rolling off the tongue, something unique, island-like, and showcased who these poets are. Thus, Coast 2 Soul was born. After successful poetry events, The Proletariat was born and co-owners Becky Major and Brian Visker decided to take a chance on Coast 2 Soul.

On March 7th, 2017, Coast 2 Soul had it’s very first Open Mic Night at The Proletariat with Myles Cooke (also known as The Legendary Gentleman) himself as host and the Houston Poetry Group, Write About Now, as a feature. I had been invited by a friend who knew I had been writing poetry for almost a year now. I agreed to go, wanting to dive more into the scene and see what could come of it. We arrived early enough for me to sign up. It was all new to me; writing poetry, throwing myself out there and getting on stage was something I had always been afraid of doing. A few of my close friends came out to listen to me speak. I was overwhelmed and my heart rattled in my chest until I had finished reading. I was surrounded by like-minded people: people who had passion and dedication fueling their every syllable and ink running through their veins.

It was a hit, an Island epidemic. Specialty drinks were being made that coincided with whom the featured poet was to be, people of different race, orientation, and background were being one with each other, and with every open mic that passed, people were becoming more courageous to get up on stage themselves to share their own stories. Soon enough, Visker gave word that there could now be Open Mic’s twice a month instead of one. This poetry community was growing and people were relying on this to be their getaway, an escape, a chance to go above the outcasted stereotype society places upon artists.

This is a place where everyone is given a chance. Not just to speak, but to be who they truly are. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or where in life you are right now, you are welcome. To believe in poetry is to believe in the supernatural. So grab yourself a glass of wine, check out the artwork of local island artists, and grab a seat to listen to words that will shake up parts of you that you were unaware existed. It is free to attend!

For more info on Coast 2 Soul go to facebook.com/coast2soul. For more info on The Proletariat go to facebook.com/ProletariatGallery.

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