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Open mic night part of 2nd Friday Art Stroll

(Nov. 12, 2015) The Beauty 4RM Ash’iz  Movement (pronounced Beauty from Ashes) will hold its first open mic night for poetry – in a way – during Berlin’s 2nd Friday Art Stroll on Nov. 13.
The idea of the event is to involve change on a far grander scale than a simple poetry reading would imply.
“We’re going to use the open mic as a way for anybody to come in and express themselves,” said organizer Ashley Cuffee, creator of Beauty 4RM Ash’iz. “Myself, I’m a spoken word poet, but I want to invite anyone who is looking for a way of expressing themselves to come out and get on the mic.”
Cuffee said that includes rappers and emcees, singers and musicians – virtually anyone looking for a means of self-expression.
“I go to the art center in Salisbury, and when they their open mic there’s a lady that plays the Indian flute,” she said. “There’s different things that speak to different people in different ways.
“When you go to an open mic, you can express yourself, but you’re also exposed to other people’s gifts and ways of expression that you might not have thought of before,” she added. “The foundation of it is to unify and to pretty much edify the community. If we give people a chance to get things out so that everybody is not holding everything in, maybe we can cut down on some of the negative things that are happening.”
After growing up in Berlin, Cuffee moved away and attended school in Delaware. When she recently moved back to the area, she said the town looked different.
“A lot of people that grew up with me moved away to bigger cities and different states because they said they could do more, they could profit more,” she said. “I just felt like someone’s got to stay and make where we are and where we came from a place people want to flock to and be proud of, as opposed to running away from it.”
She also suggested that poetry and self-expression could help bridge the divide between residents on either side of Route 113, the so-called “east” and “west” Berlin.
“There’s so much of a divide,” Cuffee said. “What it looks like to me on one side of 113 or the other side of 113 – I just want to see a community that everybody is a part of. Go back to the old stuff where a village raises a child.
“Bridging gaps is a part of the movement,” Cuffee continued. “It’s not so much about color or social status or background. People are divided for so many different reasons. I just think there should be some unity between everybody, some understanding between everybody, and we’re just using poetry as sort of a platform.”
During 2nd Friday, Cuffee will set up shop inside Zenna Wellness Studio on South Main Street. She said she is also looking for a second venue to host regular open mics in Berlin, possibly in another part of the town, on another side of the highway, where she hopes to continue working on bridging that gap.
For more information on Beauty 4RM Ash’iz, visit www.beauty4rm
Berlin’s 2nd Friday festivities will feature more than a dozen art displays in shops throughout the downtown area, along with sales and specials in area restaurants from 5-8 p.m.