Carlos G
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Carlos G

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
Band Spoken Word Latin

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“When New York poet Carlos Andrés Gómez gets on stage, all the Hollywood silliness leaks out of the room…He performs with his whole body as if he’s conducting an orchestra of explosions.”
--Mindy Nettifee - Ism Quarterly


“Raw and intense…a rebel Don Juan with a sensitive edge.”
– Harini Venkatesan - Underrated Magazine


“Gomez’s performance is part classic artiste and part lyrical prophet. Think Keats, meets Bob Marley meets Tupac Shakur.”
– Searlina Bodden
- Caymanian Compass


Carlos Andres Gomez showed there's more to HIV and AIDS education than just pamphlets.

The award-winning poet and actor, who appeared in Spike Lee's "Inside Man" alongside Denzel Washington and on HBO's "Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry," performed poetry and ran an interactive workshop at the Curry Student Center West Addition Thursday night to bring attention to the subject.

The event was sponsored by the Cape Verdean Student Organization (CVSA), the Caribbean Student Organization (CSO), the Females' Center of Excellence and Leadership (Xcel), the Latin American Student Organization (LASO) and the Northeastern University African Student Organization (NASO).

Gómez, who has toured hundreds of colleges across several continents, returned to Northeastern after performing a part spoken word event "Beatless" in 2005.

LASO president Luz Mederos said the five groups worked together to bring Gomez back to campus for his "wonderful spoken word," and to show that everybody is at risk for HIV/AIDS.

"I think there's a misconception of [HIV/AIDS] being only in the gay community or in the black community, when in fact it affects everyone," Mederos said. "AIDS has no face."

Gomez said his biggest goal for his performances is to "kill apathy" and "give people concrete ways to involve themselves in their communities and really shape them in a way that's better for their society," he said.

"Us working together and developing a global community where we can uplift each other together is not going to be about us all liking each other or us all thinking the same thing or feeling the same thing or wanting the same things," he said. "It's going to be about us engaging in frank, raw dialogue. Whatever ignites that, to me, is constructive."

Gomez opened the night with an hour of poetry that ranged in topic from politics to race to sex. While many of his pieces did not directly discuss HIV/AIDS, several dealt with frustration - felt by minorities being categorized or by educators being censored - and tied in with the theme that the virus can affect everybody.

"I really enjoyed it. It was creative," said Josh Torres, a middler English major, who said he appreciated Gomez's comedic and relatable attitude. "I especially liked how he delved outside the realm of HIV and definitely used broader issues to connect it and make it into a bigger issue."

One poem drew from an experience Gomez had where a high school principal wanted to cut his performance short because he used vulgarity. Gomez became angry with the principal because teenagers at the high school were already having sex and were at high risk for HIV/AIDS, but nobody would tell them the facts they needed to know in a relatable way, he said.

"I feel like I'm living in a spelling bee. Everyone around me is using big words, and nobody knows what they're saying. … I am tired of hearing words that I need to look up," he said in a poem.

Ingrid Gonsalez, a junior biology major, said she was touched by the piece.

"This way [that Gomez performs], it actually gets the message out," she said. "It's just really nice information to have. Sometimes there's not a lot of places that you can get this information from, so having this on campus and having it said in a different way than it was before, I think it got a lot of people's attention that it normally wouldn't."

After the hour of poetry, Gomez began a workshop in which he gave students two options, like Democrat or Republican, Christian or Jewish, black or white and so on. The final set of options was at risk for HIV or not. He instructed students to move to either side of the room based on their choices, and said they could not be in the middle.

At the end of the exercise, he asked students how they felt. Many said they didn't like the workshop because they didn't identify with either side - for example, they felt they were neither black nor white.

"Why didn't you disobey me?" he asked the students, explaining that students shouldn't hesitate to question authority or stand in the middle on certain issues.

He then explained that the only way to avoid HIV/AIDS is through abstinence and that it cannot be contracted from kissing or hugging. He also explained other non-sexual ways to get the virus, like through blood or embryonic fluid.

Many students said they were impacted by Gomez's performance.

"I thought [the workshop] was effective because it made you think outside the box," said Eric Ortiz, a middler international business major. "I learned that not always am I consciously aware of what I'm doing. What I'm taking away is thinking carefully now, and thinking about what I do and how I choose certain things."

- The Northeastern News


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Bio

CARLOS ANDRÉS GÓMEZ, an award-winning poet and actor from New York City, has been described as “raw and intense...a rebel Don Juan with a sensitive edge” (Underrated Magazine). A former social worker and teacher, he has done over 100 college and university performances and toured across North America, Europe, the Caribbean, and Africa. He is a member of the legendary Nuyorican Poets’ Café's Slam Team that finished 2nd in the U.S. at the National Poetry Slam and has a lead role in Spike Lee’s number one box office smash hit film Inside Man (Universal Pictures) alongside Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster, and Clive Owen (www.insideman.net).

GÓMEZ recently won a Rocky Mountain Emmy® Award for his starring role in the groundbreaking "Respect Yourself" television spots and appeared on the third season of the popular Showtime series "The L Word." A burgeoning performer in the national spotlight, he is one of the headline acts on the critically acclaimed, MTV-U sponsored Fight Apathy National Tour. Over the past 6 years, he has shared the stage with a diverse range of well-known musical acts and literary icons, including Wyclef Jean, Amiri Baraka, MC Lyte, Martín Espada, Toots and the Maytals, Brook Valentine, Vaeda, Immortal Technique, The Slip, Pete Rock, Reel Big Fish, and Saul Williams.