Open Mic Night displays intersection of art and identity

Monday, April 15, 2019 - 9:59pm

LSA faculty member Arielle Chen performs two of her spoken word poems at the hAPIness: Open Mic Night in the Michigan League Monday.

LSA faculty member Arielle Chen performs two of her spoken word poems at the hAPIness: Open Mic Night in the Michigan League Monday. Buy this photo
Sarah Kunkel/Daily

A group of approximately 50 students, faculty and community members gathered Monday night in the ballroom of the Michigan League for an open mic night, showcasing the stories and experiences of Asian/Pacific Islander Americans.

Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs hosted the open mic night as a part of the Asian/Pacific Islander American Heritage Month. The event, titled “hAPIness: Open Mic Night,” was co-hosted by APID/A Staff Association (Asian/Pacific Islander Desi American). 

LSA sophomore Anooshka Gupta, a member of the programming board for the A/PIA Heritage Month, said one of the key reasons for hosting the event was to offer a single, inclusive platform to display diverse forms of art.

“One of our ideas behind open mic night was that, in the A/PIA community, there’s so much performance art and visual art and dance,” Gupta said. “...We were like, ‘Okay, we don’t want to have separate events for each, so how do we create a space where everyone can share their art?’ And that’s the key to open mic night.”

During the event, students performed various forms of fine art, ranging from spoken-word poetry to musical performance, as a means of expression and cultural representation.

University alum Javier Solorzano Parada, a program manager for MESA, discussed the importance of events like this to help understand and communicate the identities of those in the A/PIA community.

“A/PIA Heritage Month has really been working towards the understanding that it’s not just about thinking about one specific identity,” Parada said. “It’s really about creating awareness of all of our different identities and how we are all each unique.”

LSA senior Maki O’Bryan, one of the emcees for the event, echoed the importance of finding individuality and personal meaning within communities and identities.

“I’ve been involved with the A/PI community on campus for the last four years, I’m pretty involved with the Japan Student Association and I just recently kind of got involved in the broader A/PI community,” O’Bryan said. “I’m hoping this event will be a culmination of Heritage Month, but also my time at Michigan and my involvement with the community.”

Correction: A previous version of the article listed APID/A Staff Association (Asian/Pacific Islander Desi American) as the Asian/Pacific Islander Desi of America Staff Association.