Tamar Thomas has performed spoken word while shaking and jumping on stage. He’d get off the stage to a round of applause and compliments, but they thought the shaking was apart of the act.
“No, that wasn’t supposed to happen,” he said. “I used to get so nervous.”
Thomas is a senior Technical Communication major with a minor in English. In the future, Thomas wants to become a User Experience Designer, someone who creates the user experience or affects how users interact with computers.
For now, Thomas is a student and a poet.
The Jamaican native moved to Decatur, Georgia when he was eight years old.
On campus, Thomas is the Vice President of The Residence Hall Association, a member of the Organization of Black Students and a member of The Caribbean Student Association. He is also President of Point B.L.A.N.K, Mercer’s poetry and spoken word student organization.
He became of member of Point B.L.A.NK during his sophomore year at Mercer, but this wasn’t the beginning of his poetry career.
Thomas started writing when he was in high school. He considered himself a rapper.
“A few people liked [my raps], so I guess I was good at it,” he said. “I wrote a couple of poems when I was freshman, but not a lot.”
Thomas said being a part of the poetry and spoken word organization on campus humbled him and helped him grow.
“Seeing such great poetry from everybody else in the group has just made me such a great writer,” he said.
B.L.A.N.K. stands for Believing Love and Nurturing Knowledge, and it was founded in the spring of 2014 by Mercer graduates Virgenal Owens and Ryan Jones, who Thomas said have served as an inspiration to him.
“The whole entire philosophy of the club is to become a better writer and a better vocal performer,” Thomas said. “Spoken word is to be acted out and to be performed.”
Thomas said it was hard for him at first because he’s a private person.
“That actually doesn’t go together with art,” he said.
Thomas said he writes poetry that he may never perform, and some that he feels compelled to share.
“Spoken word is a vehicle to talk about problems in society or things that people may not be aware of,” Thomas said. “It needs to be said.”
Thomas address a lot social issues in his work.
“There are so many things that point to what’s going on, and people shy away from it,” he said. “There are existing problems. There is proof of these existing problems, and nothing gets fixed.”
He uses his poetry to bring these issues to light.
“You can’t just ignore things that obviously need to be changed,” he said “Keep on talking about something and eventually, they’ll listen.”
Occasionally, you can hear a piece from Thomas that is about love and relationships.
His favorite performance is at CUPSI, an annual event organized by the Association of College Unions International to promote competitive or slam poetry on college campuses.
“We’re trying to win this year,” he said.