G. Yamazawa inspires audience with poetry
April 10, 2018
The room filled with laughter and applause as students absorbed the poetry and stories of National Poetry Slam Champion G. Yamazawa on April 10 in the Legacy Hall Multipurpose Room.
UPB coordinated the event and about 30 students attended.
George Masao “G” Yamazawa blended funny anecdotes about his life and family with hard-hitting verses explaining his identity, his heritage and what it means for him to be an American. His conversations with the audience strayed into his favorite rappers and childhood experiences as he engaged with the students and made slam poetry accessible.
Many students said they felt that slam poetry provided a great dynamic in conveying Yamazawa’s message.
“It made his message unique because, honestly, I’ve never been to slam poetry where the artist addressed so many topics like children, race, their heritage and growing up with immigrant parents,” Kaitlyn Stewart, marketing junior, said. “There was a comedy aspect to it, but there’s also a real-life side where he reflected on his experiences. Slam poetry allows you to get another take on someone else’s experiences and their life.”
Other students felt that Yamazawa’s humor and entertaining attitude provided a vehicle for him to address more serious and personal issues.
Alexis Osborne, nursing freshman said, “My favorite part about tonight was his sense of humor and how he added that into his poetry. He’ll just go from something funny to something more serious. He was able to hit hard topics, but still be lighthearted.”
Yamazawa said that slam poetry has given him a voice in a very open and enthusiastic environment.
“The community of poetry itself is so beautiful and so accepting and non-judgemental. It’s a community where you feel like you can do anything you want, say anything you want, be anything that you want to be and not be laughed out of the room for it,” Yamazawa said. “You’re able to freely tell your story and be honest with yourself. That’s where I really deepened my love for poetry in particular.”
Although reaching his level of success may seem daunting to student, Yamazawa gave this advice to those in the audience about what it means to be successful.
“Success is about creating goals, really big goals and not succumbing to your lower self. It’s about feeling like you deserve these goals or want these things. We really cheat ourselves out of the forward motion that having a goal that is so vast can provide in our lives,” Yamazawa said. “Having huge goals that are very distant allow you to be in the moment of what you are doing because the way you do anything is the way that you do everything. “
G. Yamazawa opened himself up to the audience as he regaled them with stories of his childhood, his immigrant parents and the complex identity of being a first-generation American.