Tariq Touré: My mother is a third-grade teacher and a writer. And my father is a former imam, for 28 years, so right there is the writing and the oratory, you know? It make sense. But I used to write about the drug addicts that my mom and I used to see when I'd drive down the street with her on Edmondson Avenue. This was the late '90s so Edmondson Avenue was crazy. It was like a ghost town. I'd write poems about it being a ghost town and people being skeletons of themselves—dark, dark poems and I was like, 12. That's where I kind of started. Then in high school I never wrote for myself but I got into college, at Bowie, which is like an HBCU—so it's like blackity black black black—and they had this forum, like some dude singing negro spirituals and readings. Some people asked me to write a speech and my speech became a poem. So, I go to the forum and there's like tons of people. And next thing you know, I started reading it, and people were clapping. I got out of there immediately, it was weird. Like social anxiety. But that moment right then and there I was like, I could possibly have something to say to the world and after that I started writing poems and performing at events. Then within the last two years, with me meeting D. [Watkins] and other people being like, "you should publish," I've been writing more.