The original squad. A throwback, classic photo.
I was introduced to spoken word poetry in 2010 by Shagraila Hammond (a.k.a. Gray, far right) when she learned that I wrote poetry. She then introduced my to Mike Scott (in the red), who had been performing spoken word for a while. He was the man. He taught me all the ins and outs, showed me how to improve my writing and performing ability. I joined his poetry group, B.L.A.C.K. Poets, which stood for “Believing Love And Cherishing Knowledge”. We went all around the country performing our art. These days, Mike Scott is a band instructor at my old high school, Central, where he got teacher of the year in within his first two years. Gray is probably running around somewhere opening up 10 other businesses while she is in law school. She can’t sit down to save her life.
Ryan (on the left. Also, side-note, this is one of the few times he ever had a decent haircut. His head was always shaped like a used kitchen sponge. But I digress. Love you bro haha) came a few years later after I started and we took him under our wing. Soon after, he became a powerhouse as well, and we went on to create Point B.L.A.N.K. (Believing Love and Nurturing Knowledge) poetry group at Mercer University together in 2014. We also competed in CUPSI for the first time and made it to the semifinals. It’s still thriving today. Ryan has gone on to do even more amazing things, like start his own poetry video page, Homegrown Poetry, as well as destroy pretty much everyone in poetry slams around the country. He’s lucky I haven’t competed in a while.
I love these guys and they are family. I wouldn’t be the poet I am today without them.
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