BASE and Warriors in Words’ Lift Every Voice Coffee House

On November 9th, the day we all find out that Donald Trump was elected the next president of the United States, I find myself in the SLC. This is where BASE and Warriors in Words have organized a coffee house. The timing of this event seems almost too perfect: the day where somebody who has said such hateful things has been elected, there was a group of students who were prepared with song, spoken words and poetry about injustice.

Before I talk about how amazing the coffee house was, I want to take a minute to give you some background on both clubs.

BASE, the Black Association for Student Expression is a club that holds on-campus events throughout the term which aim to promote cultural diversity, encourage peer mentorship, and enlighten the University of Waterloo community.

Warriors in Words is an on-campus club that gives students a platform to share poetry or spoken word in a safe environment.

Both clubs promote creativity and individuality in a safe space, setting up an ideal atmosphere for this coffee house.

The coffee house began with a setlist. The whole audience was celebrated for their attendance at the event, and from there, the first act was introduced and the performances started. This portion of the evening included original compositions, piano, guitar, ukulele, spoken word pieces, as well as covers and mashups. During one of the performances, the karaoke track stopped working, but in a strong display of unity the song continued with the audience clapping along to the beat, bringing everyone together as a community. After each performance, the audience gave an enthusiastic round of applause, surrounding the atmosphere with positivity.

After the scheduled portions of the evening, they opened up the floor for an open mic. The event ended up going well over time, but no one was concerned with the clock. Hell, even I went up to perform a poem and sing a capella because, why not!

Overall, the coffee house had a very relaxed vibe, with artists joking with the audience, not  always following a strict schedule, and a lack of urgency or formality. It was so much fun to go and listen to different people speak or sing about their experiences. I love that our university, BASE, and Warriors in Words especially, allow students to come here to get things off their chests amidst an open, accepting audience.

If either group holds a coffee house again, I would definitely recommend attending or even performing.

For now, here are the links to the club’s respective Facebook pages.

BASE

Warriors in Words