By Jasmine Hardy, Howard University News Service
WASHINGTON, D.C– Several Howard University students gathered at The Shay, an apartment complex in Washington, D.C Thursday night to witness their artist peers perform for Tiny Sesh, created by Howard University’s largest art collective, Sesh Collectiv.
Tiny Sesh is a twist on NPR’s popular youtube series, Tiny Desk, which consists of music artists visiting a small studio and performing their most familiar songs in an unfamiliar fashion, whether it be acapella or a switch-up of the arrangement. Similar to that, Tiny Sesh invites the Howard University community and D.C artists to perform in front of their peers once every couple of weeks. This past Tiny Sesh was the largest and most popular thus far, having over ten performers displaying their art in front of an audience of around 100 people.
The energy in the room was electric as the event kicked off with a long-time Sesh Collectiv member and rapper, Zay Mesah. Mesah performed three songs, two of which will be on his upcoming project, Zay Mesah Experience. As a repeat performer, but also an original member of the collective, Mesah has seen the concept of Tiny Sesh come alive and is proud of the outcome: “Tiny Sesh is all about bringing the people together, having an open space so that anybody can artistically express themselves without judgment,” he said.
Another familiar face who returned to the Tiny Sesh stage is rapper ELI, who performed two songs off of his recently released EP, Its Me. ELI credits his progress to the practice he is able to get by performing at Tiny Sesh: “Overall, my performance went smooth and I improve every time I perform at Sesh.”
Many new faces came through the Sesh Presents Art Space to support their friends, including senior Biology major and photographer, Enyioha Ike-Amaechi. Ike-Amaechi was invited by an old friend who was performing but stayed for the vibes and the inspiration. “Being an artist myself, it sparked a different kind of creativity in me that said, just be you.”
Junior Brooks Charis, the videographer for the event also expressed how much she was inspired by the turn-out and the support that people were showing for their peers. “I loved the eagerness of everyone who was in the room to be centered around positivity and support,” she said. “That’s what community is and it’s very uplifting to see that.”
A crowd favorite, whose performance led to a crowd sing-along were newcomers, the Soul Sistas. The Jazz major female trio serenaded the crowd with feel-good classics like Lean on Me by Kirk Franklin and Ain’t no Sunshine by Al Green, winning everyone over with their flawless harmonizing. The energy from the crowd was undeniable and the Soul Sistas couldn’t help but be grateful for the love. “From the venue to the crowd, the experience on Thursday night was magical.”
The Sistas were also eager to express their gratitude to the opportunities the Sesh was providing artists to come and share their artistry, saying “The Sesh Collectiv provides a necessary platform and safe space for young artists to speak and young art-lovers to genuinely listen.”
The finale of the night was a strong indication of the immense talent in the room. As rapper and producer Raina Simone called up other artists to join on her on stage to create impromptu music from beats, her computer died. Without skipping a beat, she led the crowd in a series of claps which led to guitar playing and freestyle rapping, ultimately creating something out of nothing.
Sesh Collectiv founding member Ishanee Ford was happy to be a part of something that could bring joy and inspiration to her community. “There is so much talent here at Howard, being able to help others by providing a platform has been the best part.” She continued, “Tiny Sesh bloomed from one conversation and now it’s become an event where students support and love. I’m glad I am able to be a part and in the midst of some of the most talented individuals.”