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Today in Lansing: Sareem Poems and Ozay Moore at the Avenue Café

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Outside In at the Avenue

9 p.m. to midnight

The Avenue Cafe

2021 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing

Click here for event page

THURSDAY, Jan. 4 — As part of the Outside In series at the Avenue Café, hip-hop artists Sareem Poems and Ozay Moore headline with a mystery lineup of Michigan based performers throughout the night.

DJ Ruckus and DJ Omni will provide beats.

“All the events we do at the Avenue are free,” Solo Brooks, who performs as Sareem Poems said. “The goal is community engagement and to give a platform to local artists.”

Born in Los Angeles, Brook’s works as Lansing’s All of the Above Hip Hop Creative, or AOTA’s community engagement director and is a former member of award-winning hip-hop group L.A.

Symphony. Brooks moved to Lansing to be closer to his wife Carla Brook’s family in 2010.

AOTA was formed in 2012 by Moore to teach Lansing’s “youth self discipline, community awareness, responsibility, artistic expression and educational development.”

Mentorship is important with AOTA, Brooks said.

“A lot of it is guidance and a chance to learn lessons to it. Sometimes, someone else has been on the road you’re on — they can give you a shortcut.”

AOTA also show kids they have their own voice to be heard, Poems said.

“A lot of what kids listen to and get inspired by is a lot of copying. We try to give kids a voice and teach them they can be positive in hip-hop.”

Poems’ latest release was in June with Mind Over Matter.

“The climate of the world right now is very divided. The phrase ‘never judge a book by its cover’ is dead. You can be black, but raised by Koreans and no one would ever care to know,” Brooks said. “You have to take time to be mindful of the matter of fact stances on people, because you really have no idea who they are.”

The event seeks to breathe life into the music scene in Lansing, Brooks said. “I found there was a lot going on in Lansing, but there was no outlet.”

Brooks also orchestrates the Culture Clash events at the Avenue as well.

“People say Lansing sucks and there is nothing here since most of General Motors left, but life is happening everyday,” Poems said. “There are community groups, activism. There is a lot going on here to take pride in and it keeps me here.”

For performance and booking inquiries, email thepoems@gmail.com

Post Holiday Hoedown

9 p.m. to midnight, Moriarty's Pub, 802 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing

Throwback Thursdays with DJ Duke

9 p.m. to 2 a.m., $5, Spiral Dance Bar, 1247 Center St., Lansing

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