Chicago produces some of the most prolific and talented poets in the world. There is an urgency and purpose in every word and meaning lives in the pauses. K Love The Poet is the embodiment of this. Her delivery is sharp and her words inspire change. We spoke to her recently about why she started to do poetry, Chicago poets, the power of melanin and her new book.
Talk about the reason you started doing poetry.
I started doing poetry as a way of getting over a breaking up with my first love. He had already found his purpose and passion and stayed busy doing that. Meanwhile, I stayed busy loving and looking for him. One day during a phone argument about me wanting more of his time, mid-argument he paused and said, “Aye, you need to find you something to do!..” I don’t think he meant to offend me, but he definitely did. That was the best thing he could have said to me. I found the spoken word.
What was the first poem you performed live about? How was it received?
The first poem I ever performed was a poem called “If I was a blunt,” a funny but honest poem about wishing I could be the object that consumed all of my ex‘s time. The crowd went crazy. So many guys found it humorous and so [many] women said that they could relate to this issue.
What is it about Chicago poets that seperates them from the pack?
I think it’s our ability to express ourselves in a way that everyone can relate to. We tend to be more deliberate than abstract in our writings. We’re honest and extreme in the words and the way we choose to use them. We’re blunt and intense, just like the lives that we live or observe with living in a city like ours. All things [are] real, hardcore, heartfelt and unapologetic.
Your poem “Million Dollar Melanin” has been seen one million times on FB. What inspired you to do that poem?
My mother grew up with insecurities about her beautiful dark skin and African features. Not only was she teased and tormented by her peers and male counterparts, her grandmother had a color complex. She poured bleach in my mother’s bath water and made her scrub. I wanted to write a poem that showed my mother how beautiful she is and was. My skin is the same as hers was and I am proud to have it. I also wanted to empower others who felt this way about the colorism that exists in the Black family at large.
Talk about your books and what you want readers to take from them.
The first, Poster Girl, I realized that I often use my Facebook as a diary. My statuses tend to be a reflection of whatever I’m learning lately, typically very introspective and personal, transparent and real. On the daily, I was receiving inboxes in gratitude of something I said that helped someone else out of a dark place. So the idea of turning it into a book came to mind and it was born. I hope readers gather that even though I’m a powerful woman, I am also a very human one, as well.
For Smart Mouth Girls is a children’s book that uses affirmations, chants, and poems to teach self-awareness, self-love and cultural identity within little Black girls. It explores topics like embracing African aesthetics, cultural names and ending the silence concerning the molestation of our little girls. I’ve created catchy rhymes to teach hard lessons and start the difficult conversation between parents and little Black girls. This book teaches smart mouth girls what to do with their sassy power of expression.
What is your superpower?
My superpower is the undying faith I have in the good in things and people. I can see a reason to love even those that society has deemed unlovable. That faith creates a tenacious kind of love and prevails and gets me through most things.
What words of encouragement do you have for those following their dreams?
I’d say don’t look for a roadmap or a pamphlet on how to do anything. It doesn’t matter how it’s been done. Your way, whatever that may be, is the right way to do it. Believe in that. You are a creator; don’t be afraid to create a way that hasn’t been paved.
Check out “Million Dollar Melanin” below: