This Poet is Fighting Injustice with Creativity

Micah Bournes believes one of the most powerful tools we can use to fight hate is creativity. Through poetry and music, Micah crafts messages of hope and healing that push back on the racial injustice in our society and pave the way for a more loving world.

“I believe that beauty and creativity and love and truth are so much more powerful than the forces of the destruction and injustice and ugliness and lies,” he shares.

Video Transcript

Meet Micah Bournes: poet/musician/speaker

Long Beach, California

(a small crowd of people chatter in a coffee shop)

Micah Bournes: Ha ha! Who am I? Micah Bournes, Micah Keita Bournes. That is my government name.

(Micah stands at a microphone reading his poetry in the coffee shop) 

Excerpt from Micah’s poem “Sudden Death Letters”

“Grief is a time we ought to lean on hope, not abandon it. To the fellowship of melanin, those who hold night in our skin, please don’t give up on the dream.”

(Micah signs a copy of his book Fight Evil with Poetry)

Micah: One of the slogans that I use is a line I wrote in a poem. It’s called “Fight Evil with Poetry.” And I really just believe on pushing back against the injustice in this world through creativity.

(Micah sings in a music video wearing a white suit while tomatoes are thrown at him)

“I Don’t Pay No Mind” music video

“I don’t pay no mind to no hate. Ain’t no need to fright. Love is on my side. I don’t pay no mind to no hate.”

Micah: I’m very much a non-conformist — for a lot of reasons — but one of those reasons is when I was in college, out of the blue, I got sick with this condition called ulcerative colitis. It’s complicated and gross. I have a lot of internal bleeding. But one of the things it did for me was shift my perspective on life because I’m like, “I don’t know how long I will be here. I don’t know how long I will have the strength to do the type of things I wanna do.” So, when it came to the decisions I’m making in my life, I’m like, I’m trying to grind. But the interesting thing is I kinda feel like that’s how I should have been living all along. You know, tomorrow is not promised. Even if I wasn’t sick, I shouldn’t be sitting chilling like I got forever.

And so, in a weird way, my sickness has really motivated me to just put it out there, ’cause I mask it well, but, you know, I’m very thankful every time I get to stand up, and I know I won’t be able to do that forever.

(Micah stands at a microphone reading poetry)

Excerpt from “Stealing Bread”

“Do not make me the exception to your stereotype. Do not use my success as evidence to condemn my brother’s lazy. This land’s booby traps simply missed me. Don’t dare you disrespect my kin. I am no greater or less than them. You will cause division between us no more. Our less fortunate will be loved, not blamed for making the rest of us look bad, and I refuse to despise a poor man for stealing bread.”

(Micah talks over background music)

Song “I Got Joy” courtesy of Micah Bournes

Micah: I believe that beauty, and creativity, and love, and truth are so much more powerful than the forces of the destruction, and injustice, and ugliness, and lies. You know, this is not a equal-but-opposite thing. So when I say fight evil with poetry, it’s more of just like, I wanna win, right? So I’ma use the more powerful weapon. That’s how I think about it.

Be bold.

(Micah reading poetry in the coffee shop)

“As one of seven billion in my age, each of us made up of the same dust and mystery —”

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