Opening the Mic
It's become a part of the urban American script that, in the words of Gil Scott-Heron, the revolution will not be "televised".
Written in a time when our country was facing another round of societal ails and challenges, and when many were aching for a change, this young black poet from Chicago put together the words and thoughts that suggested that if change were to come, it would not be readily observable or created for mass consumption. It would happen without curb appeal or marketability. It wouldn't be this climactic event; instead, it'd be subtle and largely unrecognized to those not actively engaged in it's progression. The impact of this poem and his performance was monumental, and still echoes with relevance today.
I personally haven't had the pleasure of witnessing him perform live, but I'd like to imagine that he'd walk into a darkened bar or seedy lounge-type atmosphere with a surprising amount of humility, notepad full of poetry and music in hand.
I wonder how he approached open mics.
These days, open mics are ubiquitous. You can find them on your college campuses, your coffee shops, your youth group socials. All it takes is an announcement that there is an open mic, and it tends to attract the gutsiest of amateurs and budding stars. After all, the formula is quite simple.
Ingredients for Open Mic Night
What does it take to approach the microphone? Is it simply a matter of nerve? What's even the point of having an open mic?
If all you have to do is just like performing, then that's perfectly fine. That's generally what open mics are for: to perform and share what you've been working on. After all, there is a right way and a wrong way to have an open mic experience.
But what if there was so much more? You know by now our driving question: if you had a room full of people, similar to the people who would come to an open mic, and they were all willing to listen to you, what would you say?
Gil reflected the times. Ed Sheeran opened his heart and played until the world paid attention. Adele became Adele, and Justin Beiber became Beibz.
It would seem that there is a lot at stake when deciding to come and perform at an open mic, a responsibility that falls on the shoulders of a few.
If you have a song in your heart that needs to be sung, step to the mic. If you are not satisfied with the world around you and have a truth you must speak to, step to the mic. If you believe that your passion and creativity can change or even save a life, step to the mic.
You just might start a revolution.