Open mic night gives artists expressive space

On Saturday, more than 50 poets, writers and creators gathered at REC Philly, sharing art onstage.

On Saturday, more than 50 poets, writers and creators gathered at REC Philly on 9th and Market streets in the Fashion District to share their art onstage at Voices in Power, or VIP, a monthly open mic started by Luis Marrero. Marrero, who goes by “imsuperdope,” hosted the sold-out show. 

“I want to get out there in all the ways you wouldn’t expect someone to,” said Kendell Simmons, 22, of Glen Olden, Pennsylvania participates every month. “That’s really important to me and that’s why I come to Voices in Power all the time,” 

William Tyrone Toms, 28, a resident of South Philly who co-founded REC Philly, said VIP was the first event at REC’s new facility, which opened in December 2019 and provides space to connect artists with resources. 

“We’re really proud to host really powerful and important event like VIP, which gives people space to share their story and express themselves through poetry and music, song, all these things,” Toms said.

Denise Lewis, 49, from Willingboro, New Jersey, came to watch the show with her daughters, Faith and Nia.

“What I got out of it was being able to see the diversity of the people up there just sharing from their hearts, pushing through the fear that they have, and being able to flow up there and just be creative,” she said. 

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