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Public viewing announced for the late ‘Voice Porter’ Hawkins

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Voice Porter was the longtime host and creative director of Bards & Brews, the Birmingham Public Library’s popular monthly spoken word poetry/craft beer event. (Birmingham Public Library)

By Roy L. Williams

cobpl.org

The City of Birmingham and Birmingham Public Library are combining to host “In Loving Memory” events honoring the late Brian “Voice Porter” Hawkins, emcee and creative director of BPL’s popular Bards & Brews spoken word/craft beer event series.

Hawkins, best known by his stage name “Voice Porter,” was found dead in his Warrior home on August 25, 2021. He was 42.

On Friday, September 3, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., a public viewing of Hawkins will be held at the Boutwell Auditorium in downtown Birmingham, 1950 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd. Masks will be required.

On Friday, September 10 at 6 p.m., also at the Boutwell Auditorium, BPL’s Bards & Brews is hosting a Memorial Tribute to Voice Porter, featuring poetry by some of the top spoken word poets in Alabama paying tribute to Voice Porter’s legacy. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. Masks will be required.

Voice Porter was the longtime host and creative director of Bards & Brews, the Birmingham Public Library’s popular monthly spoken word poetry/craft beer event, now celebrating its 11th year. Voice Porter made his last public appearance as host of Bards & Brews during its poetry event held August 13 at the Central Library.

Voice Porter’s on-stage charisma and powerful poetry touched lives across the nation, as evidenced by the outpouring of positive posts that flooded social media last week after his untimely death. Coffee giant Starbucks featured Voice Porter in a national spotlight in August 2019. 

Veteran Bards & Brews poets such as Jahman Hill and Kevin Lovell credited Voice Porter for encouraging them in the spoken word genre.   

In addition to receiving accolades for his poetry, Hawkins was known for his passionate support of uplifting Ensley. He was executive director of The Color Project, an initiative using the arts to address poverty and crime in Ensley.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, in a Facebook post after Voice’s death, said “The entire city of Birmingham mourns the loss of Brian Voice Porter Hawkins.” He was a true advocate for our city, unapologetic in his truths and his words never failed to stir us…”

The Alabama Writers Cooperative also posted a moving tribute on Voice Porter’s legacy in Birmingham. 

Media inquiries (only) about the Voice Porter public viewing taking place Friday, September 3, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Boutwell Auditorium should be sent via email to Bettina Byrd Giles at Bettinabyrdgiles@gmail.com. 

 Media interview requests related to the Friday, September 10 BPL Bards & Brews Memorial tribute slated for Friday, September 10, at 6 p.m. at the Boutwell Auditorium should be sent to BPL PR Director Roy L. Williams via email at roy.williams@cobpl.org or by cell to (205) 568-0067.