On Thursday, November 10, 2011, history was made in Norfolk.

A sea of green and gold cheered on their Spartans as they watched their beloved Norfolk State University defeat Hampton University in the 1st ever Battle of the Bay poetry slam between the two HBCUs in the New Student Center at Norfolk State University. This event marked the first time any HBCUs came together and put on a showcase of talent and skills in lyrics and verses before a packed crowd mixed with NSU green and gold and Hampton blue and white. Thursday night was an incredible example of HBCU Unity.

Of course, as much as we love our HBCU family, there will always be friendly competition between us. The poetry slam was highlighted by a Prop Rivalry, the segment where each team dissed the opponent’s university.

The Hampton University poetry slam team went first, and they went hard, but the Norfolk State team defended their turf and pulled out a win. The team was led by Jare’l Barnes, and included Kalvin Adekarim, Ebone, Jared Frazier, Joie Mone’t and Static Mike. The Hampton University team member are The Architect, MISKEENAH, Native Son, Clarissa Smith and Storm.

Daniel Pearlman, Professor in the Department of English and Foreign Languages, announced Norfolk State University as the winner and the crowd erupted. With the big turnout that the 1st annual Battle of the Bay poetry slam had, the next one promises to be an even bigger event.

The atmosphere of the event was electric, as the band THEM (The Highly Educated Musicians) provided the music. Held on the campus of Norfolk State University, the Battle of the Bay poetry slam was hosted by Godchild the Omen, a recording artist and a Norfolk native. Norfolk State University president Tony Atwater was in attendance as he was the special guest poet, and received a warm reception after his piece. Guest poets included Breeze from Norfolk State and Khemist from Hampton University.

Norfolk State University and Hampton University are to be applauded for their hard work into making this event a success. The Battle of the Bay poetry slam was competitive, exciting, intense, and entertaining. Most importantly, it united two HBCUs in displaying the talented students that attend HBCUs everywhere.

Photos courtesy of Victor Harper