Since 2014, as a board member of Broadside Lotus Press, I have served as one of the judges in collaboration with the Motown Mic Spoken Word Contest held at Hitsville, the Motown Museum in Detroit, MI. Each poet must write a spoken word piece that focuses on either the history of Motown records, its founder Berry Gordy, the music, or the social impact the record company had on the globe.
Congratulations to Ben Will, the 2022 Motown Spoken Word Artist of the Year! Ben Will won with his poem " Griot's Tale: The Blue Building on the Boulevard." His poem will be published on a broadside by Broadside Lotus Press.
See this year's Grand Finale competition and Ben Will here: https://youtu.be/BigRbrp8FBY
Past Motown Mic Spoken Word Artist of the Year winners and published Broadside Lotus Poets include:
2014: Rosemarie Wilson a.k.a. One Single Rose for "Motown Blues" https://youtu.be/bEER0cZaG8w?t=23
2015: Tamyra Rene for "Motosomes" https://youtu.be/Ell3yAK5LCM
2016: Omari Barksdale for "Dance of Revolution". Grand Finale performances: https://youtu.be/5G8lwjKp2LE
2017: William T. Langford IV for "Shop Around" https://youtu.be/Fk2fJqLGbEQ
2018: Microphone Phelps a.k.a. Mic Phelps for "We Still Here" https://youtu.be/opUiTT7qCK4
2019: Mikhaella Norwood for "Dear James Gordy" (this poem had a family "secret") https://youtu.be/1Ov554ZtcLs
2020: Cancelled due to Covid 19 pandemic
2021 Kyle Mac for "Young America". Grand Finale performance: https://youtu.be/tzPQSJdHx9M
The Grand Prize-Winning Act will receive:
- The title of 2022 Motown MIC: The Spoken Word Artist of the Year
- $3,000 Cash Prize
- Engagement with Motown Records Black Forum Label executives
- Published on a literary broadside through Broadside Lotus Press
- 2 hour studio session in Hitsville NEXT Stern Recording Studio
- Be featured in a nationally released Press Release for the Grand Finale, and be taken on a Media Tour as well as continued promotion of the winners’ achievements through our social channels, website, and e-Newsletter
- Your performance featured on the Motown Museum website and YouTube Channel
- Opportunity to perform at various events throughout the year for Hitsville NEXT and its affiliates
The competition is now in its 8th year. Learn more about the annual competition here: https://www.motownmuseum.org/program/motown-mic/#:~:text=Motown%20Mic%3A%20The%20Spoken%20Word%20was%20created%20to%20pay%20homage,for%20Black%20expression%20and%20education.