Campus Life, News, Profiles

Cultural Creole icon performs at USpeak

Mecca a.k.a. Grimo, a spoken word poet and musician of Haitian descent, performed at U Speak's event on Tuesday night. He captivated students with a sample of his powerful work featuring personal stories and the use of kreyòl. Becca Magrino // Contributing Photographer

Mecca a.k.a. Grimo, a spoken word poet and musician of Haitian descent, performed at U Speak’s event on Tuesday night. He captivated students with a sample of his powerful work featuring personal stories and the use of kreyòl. Becca Magrino // Contributing Photographer

Spoken word poet and musician Mecca, also known as Grimo, performed at the USpeak Open Verse and Short Story open-mic event Tuesday night.

At USpeak, participants can read their written works and play their music, and the performances are open to the public. The University of Miami literary journal, Mangrove, hosted the poetry readings.

Mecca performed three different spoken word poems in the second floor of the University Center. His love for music in conjunction with his love for his Haitian heritage helped him transform his art into a vehicle of hope and pride

“My poetry is how I express myself,” he said. “Just like a painter and his canvas. My words are my brush.”

His first single, “Ayisien,” was a Creole remix of an American rap song that received major rotation on mainstream radio. Ever since, Mecca has been an icon for the Hip Hop Creole movement.

Mecca’s poetry is inspired by his Haitian heritage. During the event, he described the discrimination he faced growing up and wanted to dissolve prevalent stereotypes about Haitian culture.

“So I started to research, document, archive historical events and facts that may have fell through the cracks,” he said. “No longer will I hide behind these silly stereotypes that would denounce the legacy of my ancestors. Now I was conducting educational workshops for the youth that once felt like me. I wasn’t born in Haiti … but Haiti was born in me.”

Mecca’s love for poetry blossomed at a young age, especially after he moved to Miami from the Bronx. Thirsty for knowledge and understanding its power, he immersed himself in reading and writing.

“Knowledge is power, but without the mind, knowledge is blind,” Mecca said. “I’ve always looked at myself as a messenger, whenever there was a lack of information the Griots would retell the story and reinterpret the message for the people.”

Griots are West African orators, performing poems and telling stories about their heritage.

Mecca feels that the most important aspect of his poetry is “the message.”

“Whatever the message is in that particular piece, it’s always been the message that drives me in particular,” he said. “It’s not just words that I put together, but it’s inspired by incidents, thoughts, emotions and experiences.”

November 6, 2013

Reporters

David O'Connell


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Miami coach Jim Larranaga is staying on the Hurricanes while they keep piling up wins. Dewan Huell h ...

Shakey Rodriguez, the Miami high school basketball coaching legend, vividly remembers the first time ...

It was a good day for the Miami Hurricanes basketball team. They moved up to No. 6 in the AP Top 25 ...

Erykah Davenport and Shaneese Bailey made key plays back-to-back late in the game and four players s ...

1. MARLINS: Jeter's Fish trade Gordon. Stanton next?: While others spend -- like the Angels to ...

William W. Sandler Jr. Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education earns national recognition for it ...

Retired baseball star Alex Rodriguez gives "Major League" advice to UM’s fall graduating c ...

Becoming the Man of the Hour ...

Always a little bit of a flair for the dramatic. ...

A scholarship created by retired Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez and born out of his love ...

Dewan Huell recorded his second double-double of the season as Miami improved to 9-0 with a 59-50 wi ...

The Miami Hurricanes football team hosted the 2017 Football Awards Show at Gusman Hall on the Univer ...

The Miami women's basketball team begins play at the Puerto Rico Classic Monday against Sacrame ...

The University of Miami women's basketball team capped its seven-game homestand with a 79-31 wi ...

University of Miami senior wide receiver Braxton Berrios earned 2017 first-team 2017 CoSIDA Academic ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.