An interview with Big Mouth Productions
by Apollonia Jordan
Big Mouth Productions is presenting a cultural event for everyone in the community to come together and have a pleasurable time. A recent First Tuesdays Spoken Word event I attended was filled with an abundance of positive energy and great people.
The event takes place this evening and every first Tuesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at the Radio Africa Kitchen restaurant, located on the corner of Third and Oakdale in the heart of Bayview Hunters Point. The cover charge is $20, but it is well worth it. The cover charge covers admittance plus a dinner and your first glass of wine or drink. Both the food and entertainment are worthwhile.
With all the police brutality and negative energy that has poisoned the beautiful neighborhood, it is great to have a place where the community can come together and share spoken word and express their heartache through music and poetry. The spoken word event is a platform for community members of all ages to share their stories, recite spoken word or perform conscious music and poetry as a means to express their emotions.
Organized by Big Mouth Productions and Radio Africa Kitchen restaurant – both Black owned and operated – in hopes to rebuild togetherness and peace within the community. The positive energy and positive people combined with great food and a conscious political atmosphere combines to create a great night of entertainment.
I had a chance to holla at the founders of Big Mouth Productions, whose motto is “Bringing Ideas to Life.” One of the founders, Karwanna Dyson, has over eight years of experience working in mass communications and holds a master of science degree in entertainment business. I sat down with the founders, Terrell Irving and Karwanna, and this is what they had to say about bringing this great event to the neighborhood …
Apollonia: What inspired you to begin doing these spoken word events in the neighborhood?
Terrell: We really wanted to find something positive to do within our own community because there really isn’t many positive events going on for our people to come together. And after looking around for different venues to hold the event, we decided that this would be the best location.
Karwanna: This was one of the newer businesses in the Bayview that is Black owned, with great food, so we thought this would be a great opportunity to connect with other people in the community and to support some of the Black owned business in the neighborhood.
After bringing the idea to the owner of Radio Africa Kitchen and him also being open to the community utilizing the space for events, it all came together as a perfect fit and partnership. We have the perfect package of great healthy food and entertainment and a glass of wine for only $20. It’s a great positive atmosphere and people often don’t want to leave.
Terrell: It’s also a great date night for the busy couple or mom and dad to come enjoy a few hours of positive entertainment within the community.
Apollonia: Yes, it was a great atmosphere and a great energy. What type of entertainment and performers are you open to performing at the events?
Karwanna: First and foremost, we do poetry, spoken word and storytelling. We are also open to singers and rappers, but we want conscious music and something that has a message to reach our people.
We’re all going through something right now, the community needs healing; there is gentrification; police brutality; Black on Black crime; racism; and we want performers who are speaking about these issues and expressing themselves in a conscious way. We want to keep the event positive and educational, and those are the type of performers we welcome.
Apollonia: With all the killings, violence and police brutality that has plagued the neighborhood lately, how important is it for you to bring a positive message and event to the community?
Terrell: It’s so important to have a positive influence in the community, especially with all the gentrification and police brutality that is going on. We have to have a positive voice as a people and show that we are the ones being victimized.
Many people become successful and they move away and forget about giving back to the community. The goal is to succeed and then return to the community to give back, share the skills you’ve acquired and then delete the stereotypes by giving back to the community as a means to show positivity as a means to counteract the negativity that burdens our community.
Apollonia: It is so important to give back and be a positive aura in the community. How can people become involved if they want to help with this event?
Karwanna: This is an event that we are doing from our own funding, so we would love for the community to come together in support of this. We are looking for funding or sponsorship, so if there are any techies or start-ups in who would like to donate to the cause, we would greatly appreciate the help.
We are also looking for volunteers to help assist with different things, so if anyone is willing to assist either monetarily or with their time, we appreciate it. It’s a wonderful event, so you can also help by just coming out and being in attendance and supporting Black-owned business and entrepreneurship.
Terrell: Tap in … make sure you check us out online on Facebook or Instagram at First Tuesday spoken word. Check us out online at FirstTuesdaySpokenWord.com. We are also a televised production company; we are on Channels 26 and 28 and will soon be televised on KOFY TV 20.
We are self-funded and coming out of our own pockets to ensure that our neighborhood is seen in a positive and productive way.
Apollonia: Where do you see this event evolving to in the next five years?
Karwanna: We want to continue to grow and bring positivity in the community through the use of poetry and spoken word. We want to branch out and collaborate with other businesses in the neighborhood.
We want to stimulate the economy for all the other businesses down the Third Street corridor. We want to encourage residents to enjoy their own community.
We don’t have to leave our community to have a fun, peaceful night out with good food and entertainment. It’s right here! This is a safe community, and there are many positive things that we can do together as a community.
We want to be seen and respected on a national level, which is what KOFY will help us establish, so that people can see the positive aspect of Bayview.
Apollonia: How important is it for Blacks to stimulate wealth within the Black community?
Karwanna: I think it’s so important to stimulate Black wealth because money is power and many minority communities lack both wealth and power.
So it is up to us to generate our own wealth within the community. It’s one thing to advocate by marching, but by accumulating wealth in the community we can make changes and control our own money. Then, we can support each other and be able to build our own business and economic advantages.
Terrell: We are also working on different projects, such as movies and documentaries, so make sure you tap in with Big Mouth Productions. We have a bunch of positive things happening and we encourage the community to get involved.
Karwanna: Make sure you come out and enjoy First Tuesdays and Radio Africa Kitchen. It’s a great event and we encourage the community to come out and support.
Bay Area journalist and longtime Bay View writer Apollonia Jordan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.