The Mesquite Arts Center will host the poetry event, “In the Words of a A Sistah: Unmasked,” in order to touch, move and inspire the community during Black History Month.
“In the Words of a Sistah” was created by Dallas activist Brenda Randall 12 years ago and was introduced to Mesquite last April during Women’s History Month. The event started at the South Dallas Cultural Center and showcased a diverse cast of women from all backgrounds. It featured the reading of poetry ranging in topics from relationships to healthcare. The only requirement is for each work to help touch, move and inspire.
“It was one of our major priorities to actually include historical women and heritage into our program that may not have been highlighted in the past,” Mesquite Arts Center Assistant Manager Erica Guajardo said. “It will feature women of all cultures and their stories. It’s about men and women and their struggles, triumphs and accomplishments in our history.”
This year, the virtual event was moved to February for Black History Month and will be hosted in the Mesquite Arts Center’s Concert Hall. The event will feature 80 percent of Black culture artists as well as women and different cultures. The co-founder of “In the Words of a Sistah” selected poets from all backgrounds to perform in the Unmasked series.
“In the Unmask series I wanted to reveal freedom and with spoken word artists, this was a great time for us to speak up and to share messages of hope for people to not feel alone,” Randall said. “For this particular show, I wanted more diversity and different stories. I wanted these women to be part of a show together.”
The event will be separated into two different days with the first being on Feb. 3 at 4 p.m. and will feature four poets. The second will feature three poets on Feb. 10 at 4 p.m. The event will be able to stream through Facebook and YouTube. The “In the Words of a Sistah” poetry event will also take place in April and July.
“What I’ve learned during Black History Month in 2021 is there is a difference between Black culture and African American Culture,” Guajardo said. “We get to experience Black culture and it could possibly teach us something that we haven’t learned before.”
The Mesquite Arts Center wanted to incorporate more works of art that showed more cultures after one guest’s recommendation. The first exhibit to showcase more inclusion of Black artists was located in the chamber galleries with a student from Mesquite ISD. Since then, they have incorporated more works of art that represented the demographic of Mesquite.
“I want to make sure people still know that the arts are out there, and poetry is still a viable outlet,” Guajardo said. “I want people to see this show has a diverse group of women. We are separated by circumstances at times, but with the color of our skin we are closely bonded. Society is showing us all these differences and there’s really not that many differences except the hue of our skin. We have the same issues and problems. There’s healing in words. It does not matter the race or color of skin, just to show community in that way.”