As She Speaks' open mic joins mental health and journal reading at the Hive this Saturday

The Open Mic w/ Tripalyn/ Tiffany Vitale begins at 6:30 p.m.

Women have something to say and Michelle Morton (aka PoetSheIs) of As She Speaks ensures that they’re heard. Coming up on its one-year anniversary, As She Speaks grants local women a platform of support through the power of art. With a specific emphasis on poetry, journal reading, music, and dance, the mental health counselors behind the group hope to provide an approachable opportunity to “grow and glow” collectively. Morton, founder of As She Speaks, earned her M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Florida Gulf Coast University, with the goal of integrating art with her clinical practice. Working in women’s prisons, sex trafficking agencies, and as a caretaker, Morton saw the need to create a platform for women to be heard.


As She Speaks: Open Mic w/Emma Ramos/Tiffany Vitale

Next Sat., Dec. 14. 6:30 p.m.-9:30p.m. $11-$15.

Hooch & Hive, 1001 W. Cass St., Tampa.


“Too many women are hurting without a place to go. We hope to provide a welcoming environment in which women can feel comfortable to share their stories and gain strength,” she told CL.

click to enlarge Founder: Host Michelle Morton - C/O AS SHE SPEAKS
Founder: Host Michelle Morton

Thanks to the consistent encouragement from her mentor, Wally B. Jennings, and his wife Charmaine Jennings, Morton grew confident in her abilities to aid the community through artistic facilitation.  She organizes a variety of events throughout the year; the As She Speaks open mic is one of the most popular. Each one focuses on a different theme, depending on the artists chosen and what topics might aid the community. On December 14, As She Speaks—together with co-host Emma Ramos, aka EmmaE2K—invites the community to join it in celebrating “Stories Untold,” as featured artists and patrons share their truths through a night of journal reading.

“There can be a lot of competition when it comes to poetry, but journal reading allows women to share how they’re feeling without the pressure of sounding perfect,” she continued. In addition to open journal readings, As She Speaks features speaker-writer Tiffany Vitale (aka T.V. Writes) and local vocalist, Tripalyn.

“Both of these artists are active within our community and have a sense of openness to them, making them a perfect fit for our event,” Morton said.

Each month she chooses different featured artist to give more women a platform to share their work, and to diversify the event for different audiences.

“Diversity is key,” Morton added. “We usually keep things pretty clean so that we can be inclusive of all religious backgrounds, sexual orientations, ages, etc.” 

Along with the As She Speaks open mic, Morton hosts Heart Speaks (a free writing workshop occurring every three months), Support Her Mental Health (a specialized support group for female mental health therapists), As She Speaks coaching circle (an annual brunch that provides coaching on female entrepreneurship and awareness), and is a contributor on WMNF community radio’s late-night Sunday show, Poetry Is.

“Art and mental health go together to help women heal,” said Morton, “If you neglect to take care of your mental health, you won’t be able to focus on your true calling.” 

click to enlarge Headliner: TV. Writes - C/O AS SHE SPEAKS
Headliner: TV. Writes

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