Since I've been writing this blog I've had the opportunity to go places, speak to people about the issues that are important to me and meet some of the most talented and amazing individuals who are using their gifts to make a difference in the world.
One such person is a young man I met last weekend who goes by the name Yolo Akili. Born Michael T. Robinson Jr. Yolo is a poet, spoken word artist, activist, astrologer, and yoga teacher in training. Simply put-a jack of all trades.
I had the pleasure of seeing Yolo perform live over the weekend with a host of talented poets and singers at The Urban Grind in Atlanta.
Unbeknownst to Yolo, I'd never attended a spoken word performance and really didn't know what to expect. Would I be blown away by what I saw or would I spend the entire night looking at my watch? Thankfully I was blown away and Yolo had a lot to do with it.
As an openly gay man Yolo uses his poetry as a form of activism and craftily infuses heart-wrenching stories with humor, making it a much easier pill to swallow for audience members, many of whom can identify with his content as it relates to the black gay experience.
One of my favorite poems of the evening was titled "We're Not The Kind of Boys We Want". Yolo tackles the effeminate male versus the highly praised and usually desired masculine counterpart by asking his audience, "who will have we, when we won't have us".
His delivery is genuine and every word seems to come from some place deep inside almost as if he's lived every word that leaves his mouth. Art really does imitate life. But during this performance I also realized that art can lead to healing.
Words have power and I'm extremely proud of Yolo and other black gay and lesbian poets who are using their gifts to affirm their right to live authentically and express exactly who they are without reservations.
Get into the video below.
Yolo will be releasing a book of poetry entitled "Poems In The Key of Green" on June 26th, so if you're in Atlanta then please support this amazing brother.
Poems In The Key of Green
CHAPBOOK RELEASE PARTY
7:00 P.M-9:00 P.M
579 N Highland Ave
Atlanta, GA 30307