Poetry is an outlet for people who don't usually get to tell their story, said Michaela Murry (Mikey). Poetry has been close to Michaela's life since 7th grade.
"I think it's therapeutic."
If you know Michaela than you know she's ALL for black people. With a biracial mom, she was raised by white people which can be difficult at times because they just don't understand. Sometimes Michaela is the only black person in her classes at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), which can be just as difficult.
She's learned how to pick and choose her battles because sometimes telling someone Black Lives Matter is like talking to a brick wall.
Poetry is a way for Michaela to say what she wants and how she wants without having to defend herself against people who don't understand.
"I still get extremely nervous," said Michaela. "What if I fuck this up?"
When she gets on stage, the butterflies are flying in her stomach, but she pushes through and delivers her message as best as she can. It's common to forget words to a poem, but Michaela is a pro so that hardly happens to her. And if it did, she says you just have to "jump to what you know."
Her sophomore year of high school, Michaela competed at the state level and made the top six out of 24 people. Because of poetry she was able to travel to California in 2012 to compete nationally. Michaela had a team she had to train with, and they had to figure out how to make two-person, three-person, or more poems work because it's a team effort. They didn't win, but it was a great learning experience for Michaela.
"You learn a lot about revising and not letting your ego get in the way."
During that trip she was able to meet people around the world and learn about new cultures.
Michaela was talking to a darkskin man that worked in a white neighborhood, who had to be at work early in the morning. Every day Michaela worried about his safety, so she decided to write a poem about it. Being a black man in America means you're a target and thankfully nothing happened to him. This is now Michaela's favorite poem.
She got her first relaxer at the age of 11 and decided to cut her hair at 16. Michaela had a black poetry coach who had a beautiful afro, and that made Michaela think "I should just cut it off and go natural." She's been natural ever since.
Her natural hair journey hasn't been easy. When she told a close friend of hers that she was going natural, he didn't agree with it. That day he decided to go to every woman he saw with straight hair and told her how beautiful she was, to convince Michaela to not cut her hair. But that didn't stop her because that same night she cut her hair in front of him as they watched TV.
Since then, she's cut her hair a few times and each time her curls come back stronger. Michaela is working on perfecting her twist out and that's one of the last things she's trying to teach herself when it comes to her hair.
July 15th is a big day for Michaela because she'll be publishing her first book: Black Girls, Silence and Other Things Made of Gold . It will be filled with 72 poems and the book release will be held at Flow Johnson's After Gallery on 2225 N. Humboldt.
"Each poem is a different kind of story."
Michaela cherishes poetry so dearly because she's able to talk and be heard.
"People of color, especially women, have something to say," said Michaela. "So give us a space."
Eve from the Bible and Childish Gambino are two people Michaela wishes she could meet. She wants to meet Eve because she's "100 percent sure Eve was a black woman." All of the world's problems are blamed on Eve and Michaela wants to know "what does that feel like?"
And she wants to meet Childish Gambino because she relates to not only his music but him as a person. Michaela fell in love with him the same time she fell in love in with poetry. He can be considered not black, but he does the blackest thing of them all: he raps. He shows the world it's okay to be different and to not fit the norm, and Michaela isn't the norm. She's too unique to fit into society's standards.
"No matter where you are in your journey read more, listen more and talk a little less."