Heaux Noire -‘all puns intended’ as the host Anita explains-is a monthly poetry event for Black and Brown women writers. The event alternates between London and Birmingham with a line-up that mixes an impressive selection of open mic poets, as well as established performers. The poets are enviable; friendly, intelligent and effortlessly talented, many coming from various writing programmes around London such as the Barbicans Young Writers programme.
Nothing about it is preachy or forced. It’s simply an entertaining night of poetry and storytelling. The performers talk to the audience like friends in between poems, giving us glimpses into their world and their creative process. Heaux Noire’s atmosphere is intimate and soothing, like sitting in your friend’s living room.
I’d been forewarned about this, but I was surprised at how encouraging the crowd was. They cheer and adlib and co-sign and laugh with you and kiss their teeth when they’re angry for you. You know those Alcoholics Anonymous meeting scenes on TV? Heaux Noir is sort of like that but more cheerful. Even the shyest could be tempted to go up on stage and share their most intimate secrets. The attendees are regulars and everyone seems to know each other. But you won’t feel left out if it’s your first time, as everyone is inviting. The fabulous host Anita, is full of energy, humour and love for her performers. She’s so proud of everyone that comes up on her stage.
And the ‘melanin magic’ doesn’t stop at the stage. On the decks is DJ empress, a black woman and the photographer is one too.
I attended the first show of the year and it got off to a strong start. My favourite performers of the night were @SadeJoseph, whose poems are equal measure hilarity and melancholy and @LexAmor_ a cool rapper/lyricist that closed the night.
At the end, Anita invites you to stay and ‘buss one, two whine’. What better place to spend a Friday night than in the presence of cool, talented and most importantly friendly young people? And all for a fiver!
Make sure to keep a look out for the next event.