Spoken Artistry and Stories: Slam Poet, Pages Matam

Thandie Brown

Staff Writer

The College Affairs and Student Engagement Department has plenty of events for the students at Broward College to attend this Black History Month and featured well-known vocal artist Pages Matam, for a mid-afternoon Slam Poetry experience.

The Cameroonian Creative opens the stage with transparency and incorporates a tone of liberation into most of his performance pieces. Matam reveals his story of his transition as a medical school student into a Creative who abandoned all studies in order to pursue his passion. He says, “I knew I wanted to help people, but maybe that wasn’t the way to help people – and that’s okay,” while reiterating the need to invest in and support the Arts. 

As a man who currently writes for HBO and previously taught Creative Writing, Matam shares a variety of performance styles ranging from life lessons at home to lessons learned on his own. 

Matam performs his multi-lingual piece, “My Momma never had wings,” to the PCAT audience and verbalizes the reality of people existing within diasporas, but also made sure to add in humor throughout the set. 

 “I remember when I was too black for Africans, and too African for Blacks…”, he said in his opening set. 

He leads the audience from a serious entrance into a lighthearted departure ending the event with snippets from his soon-to-be published body of work entitled, Drakeus: A Collection of Feels. Closing the performance with what he says is an, “amalgam,” is the piece, “Important Things to Know Before Attempting to Date an African OR How to Properly Cook Rice,” which captures his Cameroonian upbringing and incorporates his own freedom navigating life, “in América.”

South Campus English Professor, Richard Toumey has only one regret from the Poet’s experience. He says,” I wish I had promoted it more to my students.”

As the professor who also promotes student engagement on South Campus with monthly Spoken Word events, Toumey said he collaborated with Cultural and Student Engagement Coordinator, Erika Neff to bring the event to campus on Feb. 7.

He said he had all intentions to have the Poetry Performance the 7th and host the Spoken Word Event the 13th to see more engagement on the campus, but because of weather conflicts, postponed the event to March 13 instead. 

Toumey says, “students here have a lot of real-life experiences,” and that they share them on stage with the monthly performances. He also notes that two of his students were present and presented more drive within their classes following the listening experience.

“It’s hard to gauge the responses as a lot of out students don’t outwardly express their appreciation of performances like this,” says Erika Neff, who receives most, if not all student feedback from events. Using the feedback cards and lingering conversations, she screens the buzz following most events and emphasizes that the combination of the arts and real life is the goal of each event. 

From the College Affairs and Student Engagement Dept., they feature more events throughout February and include some long-term destinations that extend into March including the, “Right Hemisphere,” art exhibit in South Campus’s Art Gallery. 

To find more information about Pages Matam, you can follow him in Instagram @pagesofle.

To find out more info about upcoming events, contact Erika Neff at eneff@broward.edu


Photo: Pages Matam performing on the PCAT Stage. Thandie Brown/The Observer

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