Poetry, funk/soul music and colorful lights danced their way through the warehouse windows and out into the muggy, calm summer night at the Street Poets Den on 80 Vernon Ave. in Brooklyn on June 28 as the Street Poets NYC held their monthly open mic–the first one of the summer–which was a celebration of the event’s new home.

“Powerful is a lifestyle” is the motto for the Street Poets NYC, and powerful was the crowd in numbers as their open mic, “Thee Open Mic: Final Destination,” had a crowd of over 250 people. The host, Hrsh Reyalitee, opened the night with a discussion for young people about community issues and present-day racism.

She then introduced two young community organizers, Autonomic Cee, owner of SWAP (Sisters/Sons With A Purpose), and Travis Little, owner of I’m Just Free Talking. The open mic was then in full swing, with Reyalitee performing her famous poem “Cooling Water,” which energized the crowd.

Brooklyn-based soul/funk band Sheldon Ray and the New Era Band, which also happened to be the night’s feature, lit up the stage as the crowd cheered, clapped and sang along, showing the band support and love.

The festivities continued in other parts of the large den as well. Jewelry was sold by HEART, and poets continued to display raw emotion through their words as intense rap battles began in the Den’s popular smoking room.

The audience was extremely diverse and seemed to come from all walks of life, from the trendy and stylish to others who more unique with a style of their own. One by one, as they went to the mic to share stories of love, politics and life, they showed that no matter how many differences there are, the similarities are greater. They showed that through art, everyone can come together peacefully and still speak their mind comfortably.