Students packed the Larsen Student Union last night in attempts to see spoken word artist, Micah Bournes, speak and perform. The event was in partnership with Messiah’s commemoration series of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.
Bournes, a man who holds passions for poetry, music, and sharing the love of Christ, is from Long Beach, California, but travels across the United States spreading his messages of hope to audiences of all backgrounds as a spoken word poet. Both his poetry and music are heavily influenced by the rhythms and lyrics of hip hop, which has resulted from his roots in the hip hop culture of California.
Bournes’ poems ranged in topics, including the stereotype of intellectual inferiority that he experienced in school due to his race as well as the complex relationship between crime and poverty in cities where black people comprise the majority of the criminal demographic. Bournes even discussed “the rush” of holding the hand of one’s crush while praying. His poems draw from different periods of his life, including middle school, his late twenties, the time he was in a poetry group in college, and even a time when he had a conversation with a 14 year old delinquent who was busted for drug-dealing—a job the boy had picked up in an effort to support his mother and sister in poverty.
Being able to come and perform on the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day was meaningful to Bournes: “I love doing this—I do this all the time, but it is pretty cool to be able to continue the work of someone who sacrificed so much and, on a weekend like this, being intentional about choosing poems that have themes of racial reconciliation.”
He went on to explain the significance of his passion as it relates to his heritage: “I already, as an African American, feel connected to the history, but to have the opportunity to carry on the work, to kind of ‘hold the torch’, it definitely means a lot, it’s humbling.”