By: Tonya Jackson
On Saturday, March 5th, PHP Entertainment presented the first Emerald Coast Edition of Poetry Bistro at The Event Room in Ft. Walton Beach. Poetry Bistro is an opportunity for poetry enthusiasts to experience the art of spoken word first hand. For his inaugural visit to the Emerald Coast, Patrick Hudson of PHP Entertainment brought in some heavy hitters including the nationally known artist Huggy Bear as the headliner. Other performers were Kristina Nicole, JJ, Queen Black da Poet, Regina “Gina Mae” Baker, and Asia Samson. Personal chef, Chef Marko-Bmore catered the event.
One of the pieces Mobile native, Huggy Bear performed is entitled “Bama.” As an Alabama native, it was great to hear another Alabama native confronting and embracing a word that is used to demean and diminish the people of our home state. Huggy uses history, his intellect, and the power of his voice to make his case. “See Alabama was known as the heart of Dixie, that’s why black folks always had it hard. I’m from Mobile, down by the Bay and that was the main aorta. From Jim Crow to slavery, we carried too much of this water, to be disrespected by the very people, who supplied the fuel of our martyrs while drinking from the well of freedom provided by great-grandmothers and fathers.” As the poem continues, he gives a history lesson that is overdue for some and a refresher for others. His poetry is mind expanding no matter the subject. Whether head talking about love, sex, domestic violence, Huggy doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of life.
Huggy has been a writer his entire life, but while living in Jacksonville 17 years ago, he attended his first poetry slam and was smitten. You might call it love at first listen; he says, “he got chill bumps and was excited by the motion of the words.” That night he went home and wrote a poem. His first time on the mic he got a standing ovation and was hooked. In 2004, he self-published his first book, “Love, Laughter, Heartache, and Pain.” In the summer of 2006, his passion for poetry overtook him, and he gave up his day job and according to him, he “stepped out on faith. And God has been blessing me ever since.”
Huggy also shared another of his passions, giving back. He wants Voice readers to know that he is willing to come to an event that supports our youth, and he will waive his performance fee. If you pay for his transportation and meal, he will come and invest in our children. Contact him on Facebook at Huggy Bear da Poet or call him at 251-382-2258 to schedule a workshop for your youth group.