From Michael Peterson, aka Chief the Poet, this video is entitled, "Where I'm From". He talks about living and working in the inner city, specifically New Britain, Connecticut. The video is mostly shot at the New Britain High School football stadium, where Mike is a coach, so that is obviously very significant.
Mike's delivery is terrific, and it continues to improve, and as always his wordplay is impressive as it is enjoyable; but it is the meaning and the message behind all of his work that really makes it stand out. Mike is someone who works to improve the world every day and that focus and passion is expressed in every word. He deals with very intense subject matter, but he does it with a sense of humor (and a sense that he has been through it all and you can, too, if you just stop making excuses and make the effort) that makes listening to him feel like an entertaining, emotional journey every time.
And it's not preaching. It never feels like that. It feels like watching someone else go through therapy and feeling the therapeutic effects yourself. If you are unfamiliar with his work, you are missing out. His live performance, "I Wish Life Had Training Wheels", was one of the best, and most emotional, experiences in my life. No exaggeration. Sitting with about ten grown men, amidst a crowd of 300 people, all openly crying.
As I said, sometimes a person is so good at something, it makes you want to give that thing up. That's really only partly true in this case, because part of Mike's message is achieving success despite the obstacles in your path, so I wouldn't really be getting the point if I quit. Also, I know Mike has been through a lot, and as I watch and listen to him, I can tell how much writing about his experiences has helped him begin to overcome (or at least deal with) those difficult experiences. I have always felt that when I'm writing, I'm more in tune with my true self, and I get a better understanding of my emotions and motivations. It really is like therapy, and I'm glad I'm getting back into it. It truly helps me deal with life and its complications. In Mike's case, he writes to make a positive impact on other people's lives, too, which is beautiful. I just write to rant about Jason Sudeikis and make poop jokes (mostly about Jason Sudeikis) but at least it's helping me become a better person, right?
In all honesty, Mike has inspired me to write more, as I know for a fact he has inspired countless youngsters in New Britain to become better people in his work as Dean of Students and as coach of several sports. Check out his videos on youtube and see him live whenever you get the chance.
"Inspirational Spoken Word" is a genre I can stay away from because he has that on lock, but he has reminded me how truly liberating it can feel to write and express yourself to the world. Share your story, express your opinions, if not to improve the world, at least to improve yourself.
Captain Littlejohn and the BigfootMotorBoatinPonginBloggers are proud of you.
I Love You All (And You Should All Love Chief)...Class Dismissed.