Tribe Called West to Compete at Louder Than a Bomb

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By Christina Lappas

A Tribe Called West will be competing in Louder Than a Bomb on Saturday, March 19 at 6:00 p.m in the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University.

In order to get in, adults have to pay $20 and students have to pay $10. There are four teams competing for the winning spot: Niles West High School, Rebirth Poetry Ensemble, Kuumba Lynx, and Nicholas Senn High School – Senn Arts.

“These are the remaining four out of 120 teams in the last month of the spoken-word competition, Louder Than a Bomb,” Paul Bellwoar said.

One of the team members, junior Charlote Namakula, unexpectedly joined the team but is so glad she did now.

“It feels amazing. I just really like the fact that so many people are gonna watch me perform. Mr. B found my poetry in one of his classes, and he was like, ‘You have to join.’ I did, and this year, this poem came to me on a free writing prompt. It was fun and we performed a lot, so that’s how I got here,” Namakula said.

Although poetry slam is a lot of fun, it takes a lot of work to get to where these teams have made it.

“This poem took a lot of work, and it’s not even done. I have way more of this story I want to add. The”work” isn’t even work because it honestly is just me writing and doing what I want. Thanks LTAB for being a supportive and amazing community and thanks to the people who are really nice to each other. It really isn’t a competition– it really is just fun and performing,” Namakula said.

Another team member, senior Simon Berdes, is very excited about the group piece they will perform.

“Our group piece is entitled ‘Donald Trump did not approve this message.’ Simon, Amina, Sarah, and Charlotte perform this piece. It entitles a post-apocalyptic America where Donald Trump is president. This is bigger than it might seem; this Saturday is going to be revolutionary. Considering the timing of Trump’s Rally at UIC, our group piece fits the timing perfectly, and the publicity LTAB gets for hosting some big names– like Chance the Rapper– is a huge honor to say the least. It’s also so much bigger than just LTAB. We have a news agency coming in Thursday to record our performances. And with the welcome risk of our pieces going viral, we could be publicized. LTAB just opens the floodgates to tons of opportunities, especially in Chicago,” Berdes said.

Berdes is also honored to be competing against such amazing teams.

Two of the four teams competing, Kuumba Lynx and Rebirth, are not schools. They’re an organization that participates in other poetry competitions in the Chicagoland area year-round. Kuumba Lynx has won LTAB for the past 6 years. So, considering the resources we have at our disposal, compared to dedicated organizations who are there to compete and win LTAB, being one of the few elite schools who have legacy finalist status is HUGE,” Berdes said.