Voices Poetry Group Brings Kinsey Collection to an End

Khalil Kinsey With Participants & Staff
Photo by Nathaniel Price

Toyota partnered with The Kinsey Collection to bring Florida A&M University students a spoken word competition entitled, “Our History is Not A Mystery,” featuring Voices Poetry group, Friday in the Foster-Tanner Fine Arts Gallery.

On the final day of The Kinsey collection, Voices members flooded the gallery with their words. Each poet's spoken word was inspired by a significant art piece from the collection.

Live music, rappers and singers also contributed to a creative night of expression through the Kinsey collection.

According to the FAMUAN, FAMU alumni Bernard and Shirley Kinsey launched their national tour for The Kinsey collection at FAMU’s campus on Jan. 23.

The Kinsey collection is “where art and history intersect,” according to The Kinsey collection website. The collection is a consummation of rare, original, historic documents, paintings, sculptures and more. 

 Khalil Kinsey – son of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, orchestrated the event and holds the position as the general manager of the Kinsey African-American Art and History collection and foundation.

Khalil expressed his thoughts on his parent’s taking ownership of their success and investing in their history.  

“I’m proud. My parents have been very responsible with their success. They could've went out and spent their money on frivolous things, but instead they chose to invest in something that could be life changing,” Khalil Kinsey said. “To have this interpreted in spoken word and to have the collection inspire the words of the artists is very special to me.”

MFA Assistant Professor of Theater Evelyn Tyler, Director of the Foster-Tanner Art gallery Aja Roche and Khalil Kinsey served as judges for the competition.

Fourth-year FAMU Music Industry Student Jamal Wallace, better known by his rap name “Mal Forte,” expressed how amazing it was to be apart of the event.

“It was a privilege to be associated with such an inviting event with an enlightening purpose. It's not too often you get some of the creators from Voices, rappers and singers that come together for a cause of our history,” Wallace said.

After taking in the words from all contestants, judges decided on a winner announced by Khalil. Derrick Standofer received a $250 gift card and a signed copy of The Kinsey Collection coffee table book. It was announced that all participants would be receiving an unknown gift as well.

Atlanta native and one of the founding members of Voices poetry group, Standofer, described how it felt winning and his views on African-American history.

“It feels good to have this book. I’m a big fan of books. Now I have a bragging piece to show my history professor,” Standofer said. “I feel like history is one of those subjects that never get the attention and respect it deserves.”

Attendee and fourth-year Psychology Student Kemissa Florest said it was refreshing to be at the event.

“The black community is very strong here at FAMU. It was nice to see that everyone is well-versed and knowledgeable in our history,” Florest said. “A lot of people don't know the history, even me. There are a lot of things I didn't know about black history.”

Although it was the last day of the exhibit, this will not be the last time hearing of the Kinsey Collection at FAMU. Kinsey revealed that he would be returning to install a permanent piece in the Black Archives in September.