Take a look at our exclusive interview with rising young talented poet Darrell Herbert. Darrell Herbert talks to us here at Blacktopia about his poetry, inspirations, the awards he has been winning for his magnificent poetry and more! Read all about it and explore the mind of this gifted young writer.
Blacktopia: Hey Darrell Herbert, how are you doing? Are you ready for this interview?
Darrell Herbert: I'm fine. I'm ready.
Blacktopia: Could you tell the readers just a little about you before we start?
Darrell Herbert: For the generation who often feels misunderstood, unheard, ignored, alienated, and/or suicidal, etc. I am a poet-songwriter, and an artivist. For those of you who are not aware of what an artivist is, it is basically a person who fuses artistic expression with activism.
Blacktopia: How long have you been writing poetry, and what inspired you to want to start expressing yourself in this form?
Darrell Herbert: I have been writing poetry ever since my adolescence. More specifically when I was five, and my first of many writings was actually done on my wall. I remember just writing meaningful subject matter, and just getting lost in the illegible silence that came with the black marker. And experiences inspired me to start expressing myself in this form during that time period.
Blacktopia: What inspires you to write in general?
Darrell Herbert: Just because someone is skinny, fat, or whatever, that does not mean what they have to say does not matter to the masses. I particularly hate how people are criticized just because they do not fit into society, and their ideal of body image. I do not care about popularity. I do not care to be accepted by those who are extremely judgmental towards my individuality, or my artistry. In general, I typically gain inspiration from mysterious quotes, sayings, and even people. I love mysterious things. It makes me push the boundaries of what is considered acceptable as far as my writing goes, and another important thing about me is I need complete solitude when I am writing. I lock myself in a room and just write it all out. I let it all out in that locked room.
Blacktopia: What would you say are some of your favorite poems that you've written?
Darrell Herbert: Some of my favorite poems that I've written include "Double-Shift (Tickle Blue)", "P.U.R.P.L.E.S.T.R.E.A.K.S. (Oxy)," and "Darrell's Room." "Double-Shift (Tickle Blue)," describes how parental figures or guardians have to work double in order to provide for their children. "P.U.R.P.L.E.S.T.R.E.A.K.S. (Oxy)," is about overdosing on prescribed medication, prisoners, peer pressure, abandonment, and the ongoing battle of insecurities. "Darrell's Room," is pretty self-explanatory.
Blacktopia: You have also written raps as well, do you have any songs recorded as a rapper or have you written for other artists?
Darrell Herbert: I do actually have some songs recorded. I have written for other artists like Grace and Kyara.
Blacktopia: Do you perform any of your poetry anywhere, if so where?
Darrell Herbert: I perform my poetry in a lot of places. One of my favorite places to perform my poetry is in the Bronx with an artist collective called Live From Underground. I joined Live From Underground in 2015. On June 5, 2015 I performed for the first time at Live From Underground. I performed some lyrics I already knew by heart. They asked for an encore. Instead, I performed my poem "This Girl."
Blacktopia: In your own words, what is the difference between a poet and a spoken word artist, and which are you?
Darrell Herbert: I believe there's really not that much of a difference between a poet and a spoken word artist because they are both using their words to express themselves freely, but I am a poet.
Blacktopia: You have won lots of awards and been recognized for your work, could you tell the readers a little about your awards?
Darrell Herbert: Well, my first published poem "Racism in America," earned me a national silver medal, and a gold key from the 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. "Racism in America," was also taught in West Chester East High School. My poem was also annotated by the students, and I was actually given the chance to speak with them individually about what my poem meant to them and the impact it had.
Blacktopia: You have also had your poetry published in many different publications, could you tell us which ones?
Darrell Herbert: My poetry has been featured in a book called "Best Teen Writing of 2014." My poetry has also been featured in Writers- Black Artists Connected Blog, Yellow Chair Review, Poetic Treasures Magazine, Section 8 Magazine, Media Blast Press, as well as in HangTime Magazine and The Lemonade Stand Magazine three consecutive times respectively.
Blacktopia: How would you describe your experience being a member of the Blacktopia movement?
Darrell Herbert: I would describe my experience being a member of the Blacktopia movement very pleasant. I feel very welcomed when I see other people with similar interest as me.
Blacktopia: Is there anything else you would like to plug or mention? Any shout outs?
Darrell Herbert: Shout out to the entire Live From Underground collective, and I would just like to say sensitivity is not a sign of weakness. Being different is the only difference. They're doing so much to destroy us. They want to see us silent and have us silenced. They control everything. Wandering into obscurity can make you feel lost, but feeling lost gives you the strength to rebel against what is considered normal. I am the creative-visionary. Drifting aimlessly. I love recognition. I just hate the attention that comes with it.
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Take a listen to hip hop recording artist Blakk North! Blakk North has a lot of great messages in his music like on his lead single "Freedom" which talks about racism and police brutality in America. Check him out at this direct link http://www.blakknorth.us and his official promo blog at http://www.blakknorth.blogspot.com