Before I begin, I must share the first time I fell in love with spoken word.
While up late watching TV one weekend as a teenager, a handsome Larenz Tate charmed an effortlessly beautiful Nia Long with a poem he performed in the 1997 film Love Jones — "A Blues for Nina."
"Ooo, is that a smile me put on your face child," Tate's character, Darius Lovehall, cooed over a sweet bass and saxophone accompaniment. "Wide as a field of jasmine and glover."
I hung on to Tate's every word and dreamed of being in an audience like that one day.
Now, as an adult, I get to do just that every Tuesday night at Respect the Mic, an open mic poetry, live...