Friday, March 9, 2012

Christian J. Collier’s The Speakeasy

This week has been a good one, but it definitely hasn’t been without its share of frustrations. There’s no way to get around those things though. They’re a part of life and have a tendency of happening for a reason. It’s all good, or at least it is how it’s supposed to be right now.

Today marks the death of Christopher Wallace aka The Notorious B.I.G. As an emcee, B.I.G. was, in a lot of ways, miles ahead of many of his peers. He was certainly one of the most complete emcees to do it, and his work continues to have a huge influence on me.
Today also marks one year since the last Speakeasy open-mic session at The Office. So much has happened since last year. It’s been an amazing trek.

I posted some months back about what happened last March 9th as well as what occurred a few days after. If you’re interested in running through the whole story, you can find the post in the 2011 archive. I’m not sad or angry about being out of The Office. Not at all. It’s been a total blessing and really allowed me to take a step back, shift my energies, and strengthen my MANIFEST brand.

A few days ago, I learned that there’s someone from Chattanooga who is now residing in Memphis and he has started up a Speakeasy. A good friend of mine attended the session this week and told me that the format that I worked to implement here in town was largely stolen (I’d tell you fine folks about what was specifically copied, but I don’t want anything else from The Collier Catalogue popping up out there).

It’s not the first time that someone has attempted to fully emulate something I’ve done. What bothers me is that there seems to be no creativity in the execution. I feel like it’s cheating to just blatantly try to take something that’s already been established and is the product of someone else’s experience, initiative, labor, etc. and pass it off as your own.

Anything that’s out there and working to advance the craft of poetry, I support wholeheartedly. However, I cannot get behind unoriginality. I just can’t do it, friends.

So, if you’re in or around Memphis and hit up The Speakeasy, I hope you enjoy yourself, but I also want you to be aware of where a good bit of what you’ll encounter came from. I do consider myself extraordinarily fortunate to have taken The Speakeasy journey with many people over the years that have participated as well as watched it develop and evolve. For that, folks, I am quite lucky and VERY thankful.

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