Smith and the art of spoken word


Regina Smith

Allyson Smith (12) performs her speech, “My Identity in a Town That Don’t Like Me No More,” at the Tami Sawyer Rally.

Standing on a stage under the spotlights, she takes a breath. Staring boldly into the eyes of audience members on the front row, she begins, spouting angrily about gentrification, inequality for women and the injustices within the school system. Her name, Allyson Smith (12). This form of speaking her mind is known as spoken word.

Smith discovered her passion for the art in middle school, specifically the sixth grade.

“I was kind of reserved and shy… and I didn’t really know how to get my feelings out, so that was my way to articulate my feelings,” Smith said.  

For her, writing about family hits home. In fact, she describes a piece about her father, with whom she has a “rocky relationship,” as her favorite.

“I feel like you write art that coexists with what you’re going through at the time, so I think my favorite pieces to center my writing around are about my family. That’s one thing that is unique to me,” she said.

Her interest in acting and cinema perpetuated her desire to perform, leading to her success with competitions.

“I guess it was really just from watching movies and wanting to be an actor and wanting to get practice for performance…” she said. 

Allyson has won every competition she has competed in, including her debut in the National Civil Rights Museum’s Drop the Mic competition in 2017.

Despite all the success, Smith says she does not like competing but rather writing to be free. She advises those interested in writing spoken word to write for themselves and to leave it at that.

Allyson Smith will be attending Howard University, majoring in political science, with a minor in either creative writing or theatre. She definitely plans to carry her spoken word with her.