Verses and Flow 3.0 has been an incredible journey. It’s been 12 episodes featuring a collection of poets that left everything on the stage. And this week’s episode—the finale—featuring poets Theresa Tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D, Vision The Poet, and Jon Goode, plus GRAMMY nominated singer Raheem DeVaughn—made sure that the show’s biggest season went out with a bang.
Theresa, a Chicago native and classically trained singer, led off the show by painting a sobering yet necessary picture for those women who try to keep their child’s father out of their lives just because things didn’t work out the way they wanted with her poem “Diamonds Are Fine.”
“Your baby daddy, though,” she cautioned, “he’s only trying to rise to an occasion, requesting your respect, not a standing ovation for doing the job he knows he’s supposed to… When he goes beyond and above the call of duty and everyone around you is well approving of the love and affection he provides his children, you turn from mama to villain.”
It was her words of advice, however, that elicited a standing ovation from the audience: “This chance is for you two to give the best you have to the life God has granted you to care for. So why not share more of your life with these priceless jewels? You may not be the wife, but he values you just as valiantly. Most high entrusted you to raise the family. So don’t stress the in between, take the blessings you receive. No, you may not wear the rings, mama… but his diamonds should do you fine.”
Raise your hand if you ever trapped a lightning bug in a jar just to harness its brilliant light for a little while. It seemed innocent, for sure, but as Philly poet Vision recounted, the results are telling. “By morning, their light reluctantly dimmed like hope in Hades… Day 2, they stopped trying to fly. Stopped trying to climb. A once radiating rebellion turned to dim light, they never made it to their third night.”
And when it happens to human beings, when they’re stuck in “a jar made of guilt trips and loaded questions,” the results are just as fatal.
“Have you ever had your light accessorize someone’s life like a Coach bag?” he asked. “They love you for what you have, but hate you because you have it. Love you once you have light, bate you once they steal it. They forget that a lifeless lightning bug is nothing more than a pest… They love you, you’re perfect, now change. They hate you just the way you are, love you the way you aren’t. They despise and destroy the very thing they fell in love with in the first place…”
That hate is real, as is the hate heaped upon too many women that suffer from rape. Richmond, Virginia poet Jon Goode—a Season One standout—returned to the Verses and Flow stage to address that topic, pulling no punches with his poem “Soul Akin.”
The premise was all too familiar: a young woman walks into a police station to report that she was raped, and is immediately put on trial as to the rape’s “legitimacy.” She’s questioned as to her intentions: “Was it a stranger or was it a date? What kind of shirt did you have on? Was your skirt short or long? Did you flirt, play along? Tease, lead him on?”
Goode couldn’t understand, even with everything questionable going on in the world, from Monsato to the monastery, why anyone would question whether a rape was legitimate or not. “Is it rape if she said no, fought and cursed the act? Is it still rape if she said no but thought not to make it worse and so she didn’t fight back? Is it rape if she screamed in an effort deemed to raise the alarm? Is it still rape if she spoke softly, if in an effort to try and keep him off, she spoke very calm?”
Those soul-searching queries only have one “legitimate” answer, the poet made clear. “Let me be frank,” he concludes in the voice of the woman—any woman. “My rape does not become legitimate when you say so. My rape became legitimate the second I said No.”
And that is how the season concluded. Literally on a Goode note.
What were your thoughts of the season finale? The Love King, Raheem DeVaughn took the stage to perform his hits “Love Connection” and the anthemic “Woman.” Were you among the masses tweeting about his appearance? Using the hashtag #VersesandFlow, tell us your favorite poet/singer moments from Season 3.0. Also, if you’re a poet and feel like you can raise the creative bar for Season 4, head on over to versesandflow.com and submit your BEST work. Lastly, make sure you check back here each week for more Season 3 behind the scenes content. It’s been an amazing ride. Thanks for rocking with us all season.