The Your Voice section of The Poet’s List showcases articles and blog posts written by poets. These pieces may or not be about poetry. Most often, they are on topics with which the poet finds passion. You can find more of these posts, here: Your Voice.
Solace Souls Coalition & Open Mic is a coalition of artists from Chicago and surrounding areas who have come together to entertain, give back to the community, and create a stage for artists all over the state of Illinois to come and share their talents. “We are actively fighting the stereotype that all young ethnic people in the urban communities of Chicago are destined to be a stereotype.”
That mission fits perfectly with one of the features who graced the stage at the Solace Souls 2nd Anniversary show on January 15, 2017. Spoken Word artist Prentice Powell visited Chicago to share his gifts and shed a positive light on Black fatherhood.
“They don’t see us, and they think that we abandon our children. They never see us crying. They don’t show us like that on TV, so I was grateful for the opportunity. I was going to have an opportunity to talk in front of millions of people, that they saw a representation of us that they don’t see often, and that’s a father who loves and misses his son.”
His poem “Good Father” was what helped bring his work to light when he performed it on the Arsenio Hall Show in 2014.
I talked with Powell before he hit the stage at the Solace Souls anniversary show on the motivation behind this piece that changed his life. “It’s really nothing more than a father heartbroken, I go through it every day. It’s never easy to know that your son is 3,000 miles away.” Powell, who lives in Oakland, California and who’s son, now age 8, lives in Florida.
“To me that’s not a poem, that’s real and every time I do it I feel a certain type of way afterwards—I feel drained. But what I did learn is that your pain can do a lot for other people.”
Don’t be selfish with your gift, your joy, your blessing or your pain because something that hurts you can heal somebody else.
Since he delivered that poem two years ago he’s been receiving emails and letters from people all over the world, especially fathers, with photos, letters and even good news about gaining custody of their own children.
“I realized that my pain could help other people…”