Random Acts of Poetry

Random Acts of Poetry

Michelle Norsworthy

If you’ve ever been to UPB’s Unplugged, there’s a 99.99 percent chance you’ve heard of Random Acts of Poetry. Whether they’re spitting bars or silencing the crowd with their spoken word, RAP members have performed at different events and venues both on and off-campus.

Finding its origin in a Campus Crossings apartment, RAP began as a group of close-knit creative minds, intent on helping each other get better with their skills.

“It was a couple of friends,” Jalen Havior, current RAP President said. “So they started writing and hanging out, thinking ‘Hey, we should make this into a group.’”

Havior joined RAP in April of 2011, one year after the group of friends first started meeting.

RAP grew from little more than a handful of individuals, to about 25, packed into the apartment, Havior said. It was then, in the Fall of 2011, that RAP moved to campus.

In the five or so years since RAP’s inception, the group has grown to around 130 members. Though many of its members have graduated – like campus favorites Yani (Yani Mo) and Tavidee (OrfeoFame) – each year brings another group of talented individuals.

Although rap and spoken word have become signatures of RAP, the organization welcomes all artists.

“We do all types of creativity,” Stanley Thomas, current RAP Vice President, said. “It’s not just poetry, rap or spoken word. You can be an artist and want to showcase your artwork. We’re not boxing people and saying ‘Oh, it’s just for these people.’”

In addition to its spoken word poets and rappers, RAP has boasted artists, dancers, photographers, singers and producers. Staying true to its roots, RAP continues to foster growth in its artists.

“You can be great in whatever your lane is.” Thomas said. “You may feel like you’re in the same direction [with someone], ‘cause a direction is huge, but a lane is specific. As long as you’re in it, you can’t take that away from yourself.”

Through constructive critiques and RAP’s built-in support system, members learn to memorize pieces for their performances. One of the biggest performances RAP puts on is the Red Wall Lounge.

The Red Wall Lounge

The biggest RAP event of the semester, The Red Wall Lounge also found its beginning in the small Campus Crossings apartment several years ago. The event gets its name from the red wall inside the apartment where RAP’s founding members first held its meetings.

“It’s like us remembering where we came from,” Havior said. “It’s a culminating event at the end of the semester…it’s a big showcase.”

RAP’s next Red Wall Lounge will be Wednesday, April 29 at the Russell Union Theater. The event will begin at 7 p.m. and there is a $2 admission fee. According to Thomas, at least 75 percent of the proceeds will go to Statesboro’s Boys & Girls Club.

The Boys & Girls Club of Statesboro suffered a fire in February, damaging the teen center, Havior and Thomas said. The proceeds from this semester’s Red Wall Lounge will go towards helping mend some of the damages.

“It’s our poetry [and] music slam event. It’s our biggest event of the semester,” Micah Boone, RAP secretary, said. “We have people sign up to perform, the members perform…and sometimes we have guest performers [who are] established.”

Boone, who performs mostly hip-hop, is no stranger to the stage. Despite his experiences performing, Boone admits he’s still nervous.

“We have an open-mic part near the end, and I had signed up for that,” Boone said. “It was one of my first times performing; it was really nerve-racking to say the least.”

Both Jalen Havior and Stanley Thomas also remember being scared for their first performances.

“Don’t be scared of showing your works,” Thomas said.

“It’s your heart, you know?” Havior said. “You’re expressing yourself, and you can never be lackluster expressing who you are…That’s all we care about.”

UPCOMING EVENTS BOX (super important)


April 29 at 7 p.m.

Russell Union Theater

$2 admission*

*75% of proceeds go to Boys & Girls Club. Donations welcome.

BAKE SALE (to raise money for the RWL)

April 10 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Russell Union

Original & Chocolate


1. No disclaimers.

“You’re expressing yourself. You’re not making yourself any less, so why do the same with your art?” – Jalen Havior

2. No beef.

“It’s about coming together and understanding other people.” – Stanley Thomas

3. Show Respect.

Basically, don’t be rude.

“But if you get turnt, like he said something hard like woooo! That’s fine.”