An Evening of Self Expression

Just recently, Mc Fong Tran, arrived in Isla Vista to spread an activist message. Fong is an activist speaking out against racism and poverty. Considering Fong Tran’s reputation, I decided to visit one of his sessions. Immediately, the location seemed like a rave party. He borrowed someone’s garage in Isla Vista to hold his session, and there were canvas hanging on the walls that are covered in Graffiti style art. Many of them tended to have many messages like “bikes don’t pollute” and many symbols like the Peace Symbol and plenty of color. The Speakers were blaring out loud music, and there was a single strobe light flashing out the 3 primary colors. It definitely resembled a Rave more than a speech location. I found myself a seat and waited until the speech began. However, there was a person standing up and giving some sort of Rapping style speech of the difficulty of minority life. It didn’t seem out of place because of the rave like setting, but since the music was so loud, it was difficult to make out the words that he was saying. It went along the lines of “why we have competition when we can have cooperation?”, “the police don’t promote peace, they promote a police state”, “so many homeless out on the street and yet why do communities continue to preach ‘community effort’”, “I have been chased by the police so many times just because I am Mexican”. It was an interesting to listen to, considering that this is an activist stand, but it would have been heard better if the music wasn’t so loud. When the speech finally started, Fong Tran got up to the microphone. He said that the goal of this was to spark ideas in people’s mind to help change the world. He then got to reciting a poem. The poem’s contents seemed to consist of a lot of how terms like “democracy” were used as a euphemism for simple conquest and spreading the US’s influence across the world. In addition, the poem also stated how much of the worlds history education is like propaganda, since history is written by the winners. I wanted to voice an opinion, but since he was speaking, I didn’t want to be rude. However, after one poem, he stepped off the stage and passed it on to another person Named Jacy. I was surprised because I thought that Fong Tran was going to be speaking most of the time. But it made sense why he did that. His goal is to get peole to express themselves, because expressing yourself is a way to get your voice out there and tell your story to the world instead of having someone else tell it. It is like hip-hop (learned from fresh off the Boat) in a way because it is an outlet for minorities to express themselves. Jacy was actually the Mexican guy who was speaking earlier. He was just reiterating his points, this time, without the music blaring loudly. Since I was so close earlier, I heard his points already, so he was repeating what he said for the people who didn’t hear him earlier. And then he passed to Marel Qual. This was his first time on stage but he wanted to be a Rapper, so this was essentially his debut. Since this was his first song, it didn’t contain very deep messages. However, the crowd was very supportive of him as he was rapping on stage. None of the acts had any deep messages that I was expecting from an activist event. I almost felt out of place because everyone else was doing some sort of skit that wasn’t related to racism or discrimination. However, it would makes sense, because the event was called “An evening on self-expression”. The event was more about self-expression of the self, rather than show any deep messages of culture. And according to Fong Tang, self expression is one of the best forms of activism, as it gets your voice out there.

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