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Asian Pacific Islander (API) Heritage month continued with the final installment of “Freedom of the Mind” with spoken word artist, Beau Sia, headlining the event on Thursday, May 21st from7-10 p.m. at the Belltower.

A delay began the night with the show getting underway at around 7:15 p.m., but the “Bboy Club” provided their moves and they got the crowd involved.

The stage provided an opportune place for UCR students to showcase their respective talents, whether it be spoken word, poetry, musical talent, or just about anything one could imagine. Sia would commend everyone, during his act, for their displays of talent and advised us to nurture these said talents.

The night was littered with about 11-12 acts taking the stage with a few unique performances. The majority of acts refreshed our musical radars with popular cover songs featuring Ne-Yo, Rihanna, Lauryn Hill, Jason Mraz, and others. The unique acts stood out with David Torres’ musical poetry concerning Bio 30 (Dirty 30, anyone?) and poems by Leia concerning a dark past and “2 cheeseburgers and freaken french fries”. They were easily remembered because basically everything else was a cover song with group(s) showcasing their singing range and guitar-playing ability. That’s not to say these acts weren’t good because they were (just not much distinguishing between groups), with the duo of Geminele (singing) and Jaron (guitar) performing “Nothing Even Matters” by Lauryn Hill and DeAngelo to start strong, while the grouping of Joe, Casey, Emily, and Scott finishing strong with a medley including Mraz’s “I’m Yours”.

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With the lights still shining and the stage all warmed-up, Sia took center stage with his witty, yet powerful set of performances to end the night. He was seen pacing across the whole stage during some performances to remaining motionless while reciting pieces with his eyes closed. He ended his first piece with “Our heritage is in everyday of the year!” which couldn’t have been a better jumping off point. Other acts included “chasing Bruce Lee!” which was about “self [being] possible”, “A Love of Unicorns” in list form (ridiculously comical), and “memory suck[ing]”, especially concerning heartbreak. Some other topics included him becoming Jesus in an MC battle and a piece written by his mother to end it. He was serious and funny, humorous and articulate, but throughout all of it, he was convicted and passionate. Sia even gave mini-speeches (that he hated because he sounded preachy) about life, why he does what he does, and why we should continue doing what we love (thank you very much, Beau, thank you).

The talent show winners were announced at the conclusion of Sia’s performance with first place receiving a $75 gift card to the campus bookstore, second receiving $50, and third receiving $25. Third place went to Geminele and Jaron, second place went to David Torres, and first place went to the quartet of Joe, Casey, Emily, and Scott. Who were the real winners? All of us for the night filled with various acts from UCR students and Sia providing the concluding explosion of knowledge and laughter.

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