A Flavorful Open Mic Night

Some may think Wilmington, Delaware, is known for its high crime, murders, and gang violence while others may see the small city for artistry, creativity, self-expression; and a haven for underground talent after last night’s open mic. A new art group the 8th Avenue Collective put on its first event, where poets, rappers, spoken word artists and soulful musicians come together to have an outlet for artistic freedom. The creative director for EVE, a consulting firm, Vanity Constance, hosted the event. Her presence exuded warmth, poise, and confidence while welcoming guests into the venue, her personality made a room full of strangers feel like family. Constance was so friendly it helped first time performers feel at ease.

The vibe and atmosphere of the open mic was reminiscent of 90’s R&B and a ‘music and chill’ almost like a listening party. Rappers and poets spoke about solidarity, singers and songstresses sang crowd anthems, the room was filled with aspiring artists, painters, writers, photographers and art enthusiasts. The collective’s creator and owner, Jasmine Brown, a University of Delaware alumna started the open mic night as a monthly series, what a better way to end Black History Month than being surrounded by the most raw, authentic, and genuine artists. Those who don’t sing to try to become famous, those who don’t try to be the next multi-platinum rapper, but those who genuinely do it for the love of the craft. Their poems may not be in books, and their paintings may never be as renowned as Andy Warhol, but Brown created the 8th Avenue Collective to cultivate a culture of raw talent, and showcase true artistry.

Jasmine Brown created a breeding ground for untapped talent and freedom of expression. “I wanted to create something that has never been done before, something new. I have a passion for art, so I wanted to create a platform where artists can work and collaborate together.” Brown said. Most people view living in Delaware as ninety-four miles they can never escape, most view Wilmington as a haven for gun violence they can never leave. But last night Brown gave the city a glimmer of hope, inspiration, freedom and art. Art connoisseurs no longer have to travel the many miles to Philadelphia or New York City to capture the essence of a true open mic. Authenticity is now in their backyard.

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