On Jan 26, spoken word artist, Odd?Rod, opened his show at California University of Pennsylvania with this statement.
“People that are here are meant to be here for a reason. I know it. I know that someone heard something tonight that is going to make them continue and continue to fight and know that they mean more to this world than they knew before.”
Odd?Rod gave an inspiring and motivational performance earlier this week in the Vulcan Theater. Hailing from Jacksonville, Fla, Odd?Rod has been touring at various colleges in Pennsylvania since Jan 18. He was ecstatic and thankful to be able to perform at Cal U.
Odd?Rod chose his name when he was thirteen years old. He stated, “When my brother passed away, all my friends were all running the streets or they were selling drugs and I wanted to be different and different to me back then was odd. I was learning words back then. I was in middle school, so I was like odd Rod that’s me, I’m odd. Ever since then I demanded people call me that.”
A variety of stories were shared with the audience that began with facts from his personal life and ended with something that almost everyone in the room could relate to. The topics varied from his dark experiences with his family members and peers, high school transcripts, and various relationships he had made with people throughout his lifetime.
“It [life] was dark until I started writing. I was able to write the darkness but I was also able to write the light that I wanted to see,” he said. “I didn’t have to stay truthful but I was hopeful in my life that this is the way my life would be if life was perfect. Eventually, it was almost like speaking it into existence.”
Previously employed for 12 years on the cargo ship, El Faro, Odd?Rod quit his job two years ago to pursue his career in poetry. In September of 2015, El Faro was caught in Tropical Storm Joaquin and all 33 members on board lost their lives at sea. After news had hit about El Faro sinking, Odd?Rod posted a beautiful tribute poem he wrote titled Evaporation on YouTube to show his condolences to the families of those who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
Throughout his entire performance, Odd?Rod couldn’t stop admitting how thankful he was to the many people who helped him get to where he is today. He mentioned how he stays in contact with the woman who gave him a scholarship to college that covered everything for him, his mentor that he received when he arrived at college, and various other figures that have impacted his life.
After performing numerous poems and answering all of the questions from the audience members, Odd?Rod left this advice for the students of Cal U.
“Stay the course and no matter what, finish. Please finish. That is the goal. You don’t come here for two years and then you just be like whatever. Don’t let a relationship stop you and don’t let anything at home stop you,” Odd?Rod stated. “I had my mom being on drugs and had things that were pulling me away from campus and I stayed the course and I got my degree. It was the moment I walked across that stage and I thought about. I didn’t think about all the homework and everything that tried to pull me away and I stayed the course. So don’t be one of the birds that don’t fly.”