“I challenge you to write again or start writing. Just try it out, its done so much for me as a person.”
These were artist Rudy Francisco’s closing words for the first event of the semester put on by the Associated Students of Linfield College on Feb. 16 in Ice Auditorium.
Francisco spoke from the heart on topics of growing up, love and equality toward women.
One poem the San Diego native performed was titled “Letter to Chris Brown.” While initially earning laughter from the audience, the poem turned its focus on the problem surrounding women’s violence and the portrayals of African American men by media that become true.
The end of the poem brought truth of Francisco’s upbringing and the domes- tic violence he witnessed. He even pointed out that he “did not hate Chris Brown.” The poem brought out his feeling on creating a safety for women.
“Its crazy how often I realize that in America, we do not create a safe space for women,” Francisco said. “It’s interesting how often as a man, I don’t worry about my safety. Like when I go out to my car, I don’t have two thoughts about it. But I have women who are friends, who worry about that every time they leave their house.”
Francisco then shared his first experience of writing a poem and admits the process was difficult.
With the help of his roommate, who suggested the topic, Francisco wrote a poem on “what [he’d] write about if [he] knew what to write about.” The poem described all the things that were typical messages of poems, such as love, world problems, finding parental approval and fame, with an ending message of not being forgot.
He also touched on the controversial issue between the church and the gay community in his poem, “Your God isn’t Mine.” The poem touches on other social issues revolving around hate, including domestic violence, racial tensions and hate speech.
Francisco relates the story of a time when he saw a man on the corner of an intersection holding up a sign reading “God hates gays.” Being a religious man himself, Francisco shares his belief that “God doesn’t hate anyone.”
Francisco does not believe he’d be the person he is today had he not started performing. He works to inspire his audiences to give it a try, ending his show with the challenge. After the performance, many students stayed behind to talk to Francisco.
“His style was very personable and very relaxed, but he was also about involving the audience and making them excited about what he was speaking about,” sophomore Ellen Massey said. “You could tell he was truly passion- ate about poetry and the things he talked about, as the frequency and fluctuation in his voice changed. I am very glad that he was able to come to Linfield and be an inspiration to the students here.”
Kaylyn Peterson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.