Performance video used with permission of Bobby Drake.
Spoken word artist Bobby Drake’s “Never Say Die” show is about a man whose ambition and drive lead him to alienate the people who are most important in his life.
“It’s kind of the downward spiral that he takes. It’s a cautionary tale about the other side of success,” Drake said.
The performance was one of several by spoken word artists featured at the inaugural Black Arts Festival, which concludes Sunday at the Wisconsin African American Women’s Center, 3020 W. Vliet St.
The three-day festival, sponsored by the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce, included live performances by dancers and musicians, as well as vendor displays and interactive activities.
After seeing a television interview with Drake about his work, Sasha J. Parsons, event manager of the Black Arts Festival, asked him to participate.
Drake said his work tends to be edgy, dealing with issues experienced by millennials. He contrasts it with work by younger and older spoken word artists that covers different ground. “If you have to give in an MPAA rating, it would be ‘R.’ I wouldn’t suggest having anyone under the age of 18 around.”
Drake, who is also a music producer, enjoys performing his poetry on nontraditional stages such as people’s living rooms to better connect with the audience.