By Dagny Xinyue Lu ‘15Staff Writer
The Shadowboxers Anonymous, a duo of acclaimed slam poetry artists Laura Yes Yes and Kim Johnson, will be performing at the Motley Coffee House on Friday, Feb. 22. The performance will be open to all five Claremont colleges as well as the greater Claremont community.
The performance is a part of a Residential Life Program event titled “The Shadowboxers Anonymous: Empowering the Other.” The event is hoping to spark a new set of dialogue on campus. “We’re hoping that bringing the Shadowboxers will really set the stage for a dialogue about being ‘the other,’ be it through spoken word, lyrics, or art, and bring the Scripps community together to celebrate personal identities and the struggle that might accompany the development of those identities,” said Margaret Nurimba ’14, one of the organizers of the event.
“We planned this event keeping in mind that it is so easy to feel otherized, and a lot of the time, people don’t talk about it,” Nurimba continued.
The event will feature an open mic opportunity and a poetry workshop with Yes Yes and Johnson.
“Writing in itself is empowering: it allows us to figure our own brains and feelings out. Performance is empowering: at its best, it creates a transcendent space wherein a room of people are allowed to think, feel, and hopefully, become a little more whole together,” said Yes Yes.On stage the duo integrate a wide range of artistic elements into their performance. “We bring song, poetry and story to the stage, and weave all three together. Our influences range from the Dead White Male canon of poets to video games, to contemporary music and comedy,” said Laura Yes Yes.
Laura Yes Yes and Kim Johnson met as members of the 2007 San Francisco National Poetry Slam team. “At the time that Kim and I met in the Bay Area, the slam scene was essentially a boys’ club. We both knew ourselves to be serious artists, and we saw the same drive and potential in other women in the scene,” said Yes Yes.
With the help of several of their peers, the duo founded a women’s slam collective, a proactive workshop that gave women the tools to write, critique, and perform.
“We want to help women, in particular, to understand that they are powerful, creative, intelligent, and beautiful in a way that’s absolutely unique,” said Yes Yes. “I imagine performing at Scripps to be a beautiful homecoming.”
The workshop will take place on Friday, February 22, in Vita Nova 100 from 3:30-4 p.m. Laura Yes Yes and Kim Johnson will greet their audiences at the Motley Coffee House and perform from 7-9 p.m. “Please come see us. We love you already, and we plan to prove it!” said Yes Yes.