Spoken word artist Beau Sia comes to Denver
Renowned slam poet comes to town with Wong Fu Productions for eXpressions: Stand Up, Speak Out!
By Joe Nguyen, AsiaXpress.com
May 5, 2009
eXpressions: Stand Up, Speak Out!
with Beau Sia and Wong Fu Productions
presented by ASA-DU
Sturm's Davis Auditorium at the University of Denver
2000 E. Asbury Ave.
Denver, CO 80208 [map]
Wednesday, May 6
6 to 8 p.m.
Free and open to the public.
It all started with a girl.
Long before his did “an open letter to all the rosie o’donnells” or questioned why no one told him “that chinky-eyed was a compliment,” Beau Sia was a teenager looking for love.
“I was 15 and I wanted to, you know, get this girl that I liked to like me and was under the impression that she was into poetry,” he said.
While the search for love didn’t turn out well for the Ohio-born, Oklahoma-raised slam poet, his foray into poetry opened him to a world of expression.
“I think that for me, looking back, what I really needed was to not feel so isolated or alone,” Sia said. “And writing gave me an opportunity to have a listener even though I didn’t have an audience then.
“I was writing to somebody who would listen and not judge me or reject me.”
Today the 32-year-old – who’s performing at eXpressions: Stand Up, Speak Out! at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6 at Sturm's Davis Auditorium at the University of Denver – shares many of his thoughts about a variety of different subjects in his poetry. He’s written a book, done two CDs and has appeared on every season of “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry,” showcasing his deep, yet humorous takes on life.
Among his subject matters is his own cultural identity, something he said he had trouble with growing up.
“In high school, there was nothing really cool about being an American of Asian descent ... I didn’t even want to be considered Asian,” he said.
He’s taken some of the bitter feelings from his youth and transformed them into funny and insightful commentary. His piece entitled, “Hip-Hop,” examines the use of the word “chink” in hip-hop music in a sarcastic tone. “Asian Invasion” is an energetic rant about the growth of Asian influences in the U.S.
Arguably his most famous poem is “an open letter to all the rosie o’donnells.” It was written after O’Donnell said “ching-chong” in a joke she made on “The View” in 2007.
“What got me really irritated was she was informed about its inappropriateness and she became so defensive about it,” he said. “I think that’s when I really reacted.”
His piece broke down point by point why O’Donnell’s comment could be interpreted as offensive. She later apologized on her blog because of his YouTube video.
“Leading up to that time, it was the beginning of this humor at the expense of Asians,” he said. “Not from the place of power, but from the place of fear and insecurity about our growing relevance and place in the world.”