Meet Micah, the author behind Fight Evil With Poetry & Here Comes This Dreamer
A group of strangers walked into a room in LA. One by one they stood up, shared their most private thoughts, struggles, and desires. To many this sounds terrifying but after seeing a spoken word open mic, Micah was hooked. That day he decided to give spoken word poetry a try. It worked.
Read his story below
What inspired you to start your creative enterprise?
I was born and raised in Long Beach during a time where west coast rappers, and even more specifically Long Beach rappers were experiencing enormous success. They were my heroes. It was cool hearing them rap about the city I knew so well. I would memorize rap lyrics and try to perform them exactly like the artist, but it wasn't until college that I started writing my own music and poetry. At first it was just something fun to do with a few homies who loved hip hop, but after performing at a few open mics, people encouraged me to keep going. My friends told me I was pretty good, so I kept at it. Never really thought I would do it as a career, and to be honest, I tried to do everything else first, but after I graduated, I couldn't find a job, I didn't get into grad school either. It was from that low place where I thought, well, why not? If I try to be an artist and it doesn't work, I'm already unemployed, so I just went for it. It was a clumsy process, and I've faced disappointments over and over, but I've always believed in the power of my work.
“Every time I feel discouraged, I remember all the emails and comments and letters I've received from people expressing how much my work has helped them. That reminds me that it's all worth it.”
What kinds of jobs did you have leading up to the start of your creative venture?
Being an artist is the only full time job I've ever had. But right before this, I was working part time at an indoor skate park and board shop. I can't skate for nothing, but I knew everything about trucks, wheels, decks. It was pretty funny. I never would have imagined my life. Ten years ago, even my wildest dreams wouldn't have predicted that I'd get to travel the world performing music and poetry, but I have, a few times over. That being said, I don't really think about the future. I just try to make the dopest art I can and be ready for whatever opportunities come my way.
Favorite local eateries and drinkeries?
I love it when new locally owned restaurants open in Long Beach. I always think to myself, I'm literally stepping inside of someone's dream come true. Any time I'm driving, I keep an eye open for a place I haven't seen before and make a mental note to try it. I can't list my favorites, too many, don't make me choose.
“When I started, I was just writing about my life, but as a Black man in America, when I write about my experiences, I'm bound to speak to things bigger than just me.”
What holds more value for you: creativity or knowledge?
I'm pretty anti-institutional, but not anti-intellectual. I think school as we know it often kills creativity, but not education itself. I'm all about taking your education into your own hands. I've had to unlearn a lot of the things I was taught in school, both K-12 and college. The books I read, the leaders and artists I choose to learn from were never taught in the schools I attended. I don't think formal training is necessary to excel, but I do think you need to be a student of life, you need to be intentional about your holistic health, including your mind and intellect. I reject the idea that intellectuals are the opposite of creatives. Creativity is a particular expression of intelligence. If you're hyper intellectual but neglect your creativity, your knowledge will never translate to the community in meaningful ways.
“I'm just a curious person. I get inspired by anything and everything.”
If you could move to any other place in this or any universe where would you go?
I would love to live in New York City before I die. It's the birthplace of Hip Hop, the food is bomb, the fashion is different from California in a really interesting way, the open mic scene is poppin', and the diversity of the city is lovely. I will rep the west coast till I die, but I wouldn't mind a few years in a city as magical as NYC.