Respect the Mic: Leon Orange Jr. woos Orlando with spoken word

Respect the Mic is open mic night at Café Annie's in downtown Orlando

Before I begin, I must share the first time I fell in love with spoken word.

While up late watching TV one weekend as a teenager, a handsome Larenz Tate charmed an effortlessly beautiful Nia Long with a poem he performed in the 1997 film Love Jones — "A Blues for Nina."

"Ooo, is that a smile me put on your face child," Tate's character, Darius Lovehall, cooed over a sweet bass and saxophone accompaniment. "Wide as a field of jasmine and glover."

I hung on to Tate's every word and dreamed of being in an audience like that one day.

Now, as an adult, I get to do just that every Tuesday night at Respect the Mic, an open mic poetry, live music and art show at Café Annie's in downtown Orlando.

Shout out to former U.S. Army soldier, Leon Orange Jr., who started the show two years ago.

Doors open at 8 p.m. Guests can RSVP a table via respectthemic.com or pay $5 at the door before 9 p.m..

RaOndria Johnson, a local artist, opens the show with her sultry singing of R&B covers like Mint Condition's "Breaking My Heart" and Dru Hill's "In My Bed."

About 9:30 p.m., the show moves into the open mic segment through 12 a.m.

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