National slam poetry champion and acclaimed spoken word artist G Yamazawa kicked off Brookdale’s 2016-17 Live at Lunch series Oct. 13 with a college hour performance in the Student Life Center.
Dozens of students packed into the Navesink rooms for a free pizza lunch and a sampling of G Yamazawa’s unique blend of comedy, social commentary and inspirational poetry, much of which centers on his experiences as a minority growing up in America.
In “10 Things You Should Know About Being an Asian from the South” – a popular piece he has featured during performances on the TV One program “Verses and Flow,” the Sundance Film Festival, the Bonnaroo Music Festival, and even at the Pentagon – Yamazawa explains the social “rules” he learned as a young man in conservative North Carolina.
“Laugh along with their ignorance; it will give you strength,” he said. “Find time to search inside. You see, a smile don’t shine unless you wear it with pride. I remember every time I would laugh, I would cover my eyes. But now, I realize I have nothing to hide. You see I like my chicken teriyaki or fried; I like my fried rice with hot sauce on the side.
“See this is for all those ridiculers and racists as a child, and this is dedicated to all them Asians from the south,” he added. “But there were plenty of things I had to sacrifice too. I used to sell half pounds to half of my school. But I ain’t swagger-jacking; I won’t rap like you. Because dog, I’m Asian, and I eat cats like you.”
Yamazawa also took time out between poems to interact with the crowd, which included international students and second- and third-generation immigrants from countries across the globe. His blunt social commentary, punctuated at times with raucous comedy and frank recollections of his own life as a college student, resonated with the Brookdalians in attendance.
One student – second-year video communication major and aspiring musician Arthur Zamot – was even invited on stage to perform one of his own songs in a spoken-word style.
“I figured I would give it a shot,” said Zamot, who received a wild ovation from the crowd following his performance. “I was talking to G Yamazawa beforehand and mentioned my music and he asked if I wanted to perform. My friends really pushed me to get up and do it, so I did.”
Live at Lunch, sponsored by Brookdale’s Office of Student Life and Activities, is a year-long series of arts and entertainment performances offered during College Hour in the Student Life Center. Admission is free and includes free lunch.
For more information about upcoming campus events, check out the Student Life and Activities events calendar.
Check out more photos of G Yamazawa’s performance here.