Monyee has delivered her poetry on HBO’s Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry and on Black Entertainment Television’s (BET) “Lyric Cafe” and “The Way We Do It.” This will be her first time performing at Cal Poly.
Her poetry stems back to her childhood, when she grew up writing church stories and was involved in a rap group for a brief time.
“My dad was being a little Joe Jackson, so I had to back off,” she said.
It wasn’t until 2000 that Monyee began concentrating on her poetry career. Some of the influences on her work include her kids, her husband, her favorite literature and being a female.
With her soothing voice, her poems provide vivid visuals and emotions rather than punch lines. In her poem titled “Woman to Woman,” Monyee describes a situation in which the woman her boyfriend is sleeping with calls her.
“I’m glad to be hearing it from the lips that left the lipstick on my man’s collar, even though he told me he was working late trying to earn a couple of extra dollars,” she recites.
Aside from the content of her work, Monyee said being a woman has also affected her performance style. At the beginning of her career, she was trying to perform like the average male slam poet.
“The men were very physical and very loud,” she said. “They never wanted to give up the mic.”
Instead, she looked at strong female poets, not to mimic their style, but to identify what makes them comfortable on stage.
“I don’t try to project out to the audience; I more so try to bring the audience in to me,” Monyee said. “I think that’s a thing women do very well as poets.”
When Monyee isn’t working on her poetry she works as a therapist. Going through a therapy program, people become more confident and comfortable with their flaws, she said.
Her album titled “In/Tuition” helped her therapy career. Monyee made the CD while getting her master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. The album’s title references college tuition and was used to raise money for her master’s program.
Her therapeutic lyrics have found an audience among young fans. Event coordinator and architectural engineering senior Josue Urrutia started going to Another Type of Groove as a sophomore because of the talent like Monyee’s.
“The first few open-mics I saw were incredible, the poets were pretty sick,” he said.
Urrutia found Monyee’s work online through Def Poetry. At Another Type of Groove, they try to coordinate female poets whenever they can, Urrutia said.
Monyee will be performing as a part of Women’s “HerStory” Month. Women’s History Month was established in 1987. Author Robin Morgan coined the term “HerStory,” to highlight the focus on women from a historical perspective.
Renoda Campbell, coordinator for multicultural programs and services, wants students and community members who come to Another Type of Groove to draw inspiration from Monyee’s perspective.
“Women have a different way of expressing themselves,” she said. “It will be nice to hear a different message.”
Another Type of Groove starts at 7:30 in Chumash Auditorium and is open to the public.