“The Confederate flag is America’s swastika,” said spoken word artist Adán Bean.
Bean’s poetry, flooded with confrontation, passion, love and inspiration, faces many difficult topics head-on.
Joining the Clark community all the way from Atlanta via Zoom, Bean told stories of social justice, misogyny, consent and houselessness through his poetry. Despite the serious topics he covered, his poetry also showcased ideas of love, home, dreaming and locating “the Heaven in your disaster.”
Bean said that he creates his poems based on real-life scenarios. He stressed the importance of connecting to others, while also celebrating what makes everyone different. Bean found his way of connecting with others by telling their stories through poetry.
“I don’t make music, I don’t make rap, I don’t even make poetry,” Bean said. “What I make is a connection.”
The event took place at the beginning of Black History Month and Bean showcased a compilation of poems written about being Black in America. He shared an example of his experience living in the South, where he recalled seeing the Confederate flag flying at the statehouse.
“The Black voice is an authentic American voice,” Bean said in the poem “Face the Music.” “It is prophetic and prudent.”
Along with poetry, Bean also makes music. He is half of the hip hop duo The Remnant and dropped a solo EP titled “QUIET” in 2019. Bean describes himself as sitting at an intersection between music, hip hop culture and poetry.