Break The Silence has spoken loud in Long Beach and tonight is the five-year anniversary at the Manazar Gamboa Community Theatre. From 7-9:30 PM, the One Imagination network of volunteers is hosting a free night of spoken word, artistic performances, plus some special surprises from the community organization being highlighted, the Homeland Cultural Center.
Break The Silence began as an idea thrown around by a few Long Beach State college students, when they discussed blending the community with performance arts. The brainstorming led to bringing people together through the open mic and this monthly event has been taking place since May 2007.
A typical Break The Silence evening could include poetry, comedy, or a musical performance. And since the event began taking place inside the Manazar Gamboa Community Theatre this January, a black box theatre a part of the Homeland Cultural Center, it has really shined. The theatre has professional lighting, occupies 70 guests and carries a special meaning.
Opened in June 2011 by the Redevelopment Agency, the theatre is named after a one-time Los Angeles street thug who reformed his life through the arts, after serving a 17-year prison sentence. Once released, he became a dynamic force in the Chicano literature scene and eventually the co-director and instructor at the Homeland Cultural Center.
Jumakae Yodraj, one of the founders and the dynamic force behind the events current existence, is so proud to be a part of the Homeland Cultural Center and its theatre.
“What we do perfectly aligns with the intentions of the Homeland Cultural Center,” she said. “It became a safe place to celebrate the arts and reformed the neighborhood it resides in. We are a safe place for people to express themselves in a supportive environment and bring the community together.”
Break The Silence has have speakers as young as 4-years-old singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” and up to a 75-year-old veteran who thanked the audience for listening to him, and new speakers always have priority over regulars, if the sign up sheet becomes too full.
Tonight, a few of the featured artists from the Homeland are celebrated spoken word artist and instructor Bess performing some spoken word and hip-hop, Oddrocker Orlando performing Improve and Interactive Music and Bboy Don, who teaches break dancing to the youth, will be performing his combination of spoken word and bboying, what he calls “Broken Word.”
Open mic sign ups begin at 6:30 with limited slots and begins up at 7:30. Break The Silence welcomes the community to come together and connect with their creative conscious.
“We invite all artists to come together around the mic and really get to know each other. We all live in the same community, we need to know one another and really connect,” Jumakae said. “It’s really beautiful,” she said with a radiant smile.
For more information on how to get your community organization highlighted at the next Break The Silence event, talk to Jumakae tonight and bring your friends.
The Manazar Gamboa Community Center is located at 1323 Gundry Ave, adjacent to the Homeland Cultural Center at 1321 E. Anaheim St. 562-570-1655.