If you walked through Spratt hall last Wednesday night, you might have heard a crowd yelling “Wepa!” along with a chorus of snaps.
“Wepa” (pronounced “way-pah”) roughly translates to “hurray!” in Puerto Rican. A talented artist named Pinqy Ring visited campus through Zoom for a performance and open mic, but first taught the crowd the lively word of celebration and encouragement.
Pinqy (pronounced “pinky”) is a poet, hip hop artist, teacher and performer. She was brought to Missouri Western by the Center of Multicultural Education through the director, Latoya Muhammed.
“We get emails from different agencies about different poets, artists and comedians. Pinqy really came about because it’s Hispanic heritage month, so of course we wanted to bring someone hispanic that can speak to the culture while also have a personalized story that would resonate with our students,” Muhammed said.
Pinqy gave a presentation on her background before her musical and poetic performance, touching the crowd’s hearts with her story and Puerto Rican heritage.
“Growing up, I struggled with identity,” Pinqy said. “Not being Latina enough, American enough, speaking English well enough. (I became a teacher because) I didn’t see teachers like me. Looked like me, talked like me.”
Pinqy wasn’t the only artist who performed at her event. She asked to also include students. DJ Swig, Austin Lewis and Zoie Reyonds performed poetry at the open mic segment of the event.
Zoie Reynolds, aka Zoie Magic, has performed her poetry and music at campus events for years, and her work fit well with Pinqy’s performance.
“I love to speak my pieces. I write a lot, but I convey better on stage. I’m big on word play, cadence, and making words sound good but getting across an effective message,” Reynolds said.
During the Q&A portion of the open mic event, Pinqy Ring spoke with Reynolds about advice to help with Reynold’s own artist career.
“Her advice was very helpful,” Reynolds said. “I always hear compliments on my poetry and music, yet I’m always in a position where I feel stuck because I wonder why I'm not more well-known. Her telling me that each step is its own project really helps.”
Even though the event did not have a large crowd, the audience members certainly were inspired by Pinqy Ring and enjoyed her show.
“I love her personality,” Reynolds said. “She’s very charismatic and easy to like. I love her energy even through the Zoom screen, it makes sense that she’s a performer.”
Muhammed was hoping for this reaction from Missouri Western students, as she always does when bringing performers and speakers to campus. She was relieved the event went well, even if Pinqy had to speak through Zoom.
“I always enjoy when artists can share pieces themselves,” Muhammed said. “Being able to share her story, and any speaker we bring, is the bravest thing that can happen in any program and hopefully be an inspiration to other students.”
Follow the Center of Multicultural Education on social media to keep up with their future events, including a dance class before finals week.