In college cafés and clubs, the performance art form known as spoken word is gaining recognition and respect. For those unfamiliar with this creative genre, think of it as a lyrical short story narrative delivered through verse. Unlike the more academically acceptable forms of “epic poetry,” such as Homer’s Odysseyor The Iliad, contemporary spoken word mimics popular song lengths of about two to four minutes, and the prose is delivered loud, fast and with rebellious flair. MTV introduced it to television audiences in the ‘90s and HBO gave this new art form a sense of legitimacy with their special series “Brave New Voices,” aired in 2009 and 2010.
The performers usually focus on social and political commentary but all too often the emphasis is on the speed, and emotionality of the delivery, over the depth of content. Not so for “The People’s Poet” Kirk Nugent, who in 1999 won the prestigious Nuyorican Poets Café Grand Slam competition. He has since made appearances on the NBC’s Black History Celebration, CBS’s 60 Minutes, and opened for The Queen Latifah Show. His focus has always been on inspiring his audience to rise to their innate greatness.
Today he sees himself as a catalyst of change and serves his audience by delivering a message of self-empowerment to student campuses and Fortune 500 companies across the U.S. SuperConsciousness recently spoke with Nugent about his motivation and vision for the future.
SC: When speaking with college students, what’s your goal? What’s your desired result?
KIRK NUGENT: I believe that we were all born with greatness and that we are already perfect just the way we are. I want to inspire my audiences to love everything about themselves, and raise my audience to a place of unconditional love so that they see the world through loving eyes.
The intent is to express more love and to give an individual in the audience a moment to realize that there’s so much more to this life, but to do it in a subtle manner, not to preach, but to simply tell my story.
SC: How did you discover and come to understand love?
NUGENT: Like most people, I had hatred and anger that I needed to transcend. I came to America [from Jamaica] at age fifteen and for the first time in my life experienced racism and police brutality. As a result, I became depressed and began to lose faith, but I realized that all the ills in my mind were reflected in what was happening in the world. It was during this time of self-reflection that Spirit said to me, “Kirk, you’re doing this the wrong way. You’re trying to get people to love you who don’t love themselves. That will never happen. You have to help people to love themselves first.”
A turning point came in my life when my son was born because I began to understand what unconditional love is and was. Up to that point everyone in my life liked me or loved me because I was Kirk Nugent, and because of what I was accomplishing, but my son loved me in spite of my persona in the world. Once I realized the distinction, it changed something within me.
The other thing that happened was getting real about my relationships with women: There was a time when the moment a woman told me she loved me, I had to break her down. I had to make her think I wasn’t lovable. I would do something to make her leave me, or to make her understand subconsciously that I wasn’t worthy of love. Once I recognized what I was doing with women, I started reading books, like The Magic of Believing, to find out what was going on in my mind. I read a lot of books on the subconscious mind. And once I understood it, I started making the transition to become a better person. No matter what comes down the path, I want to be a better person today than I was yesterday.
SC: How did your personal transformations influence your career?
NUGENT: I believe that we teach what we need to learn. The changes in my writing began with my own healing and writing about the depression I was going through, and I shared it with the guys I hung out with. It resonated with them because men, black men especially, are not accustomed to coming together and saying, “Listen, I’m hurting. Someone broke my heart.” That wasn’t acceptable. It’s taboo in our society. But by me expressing my pain, it allowed other so-called tough people to soften up and admit to themselves, “Yeah, I can identify with that.”
So, as I began to heal, I was able to write more healing words and my intentions were always true in the sense that I never took credit for anything that I wrote. I realized that if I could inject more love and infuse more love into the world, I could make a difference.
My intent was always a prayer, “God, please help me to find the words to help others heal.” I want to write the words that help people feel good about themselves.” That became my mission, and I started seeing it manifest in my life. I began my Pursue Your Passion Tour and started telling people about how wonderful they are, how great they are.
SC: Statistics show that 30 percent of young people in their teens and twenties are reporting that they see religion as intolerant, hypocritical, judgmental and homophobic. Are you finding that despite not being served by religious doctrine that there is a hunger, a thirst in youth audiences for spiritual concepts and inspiration?
NUGENT: The youth market is underserved spiritually. Hip Hop began with a very conscious message, but now it has become this very low vibration about idolizing materialism and all this nonsense that doesn’t serve anyone. I believe we are failing the young people and that we really need to focus on them because they’re the ones that are going to make the changes in the world.
My son is eighteen. Their generation finds ways to just rebel because they want to be loved. We could change a lot of the violence going on right now if we changed the message that’s going into the minds and the head of the young people. And that’s where we really need to focus.
For more information about Kirk Nugent, go to http://www.kirknugent.com/index.html
Signs of the Times
And lo, the Spirit of the Lord
Moved upon the waters and He said unto me
Son of Man, with pen in hand
Write that which thou hath seen.
But first, remind the children of the Earth
That they’re Sovereign Beings
Remind them, that there is so much more to life than what they have seen.
And above all, remind them never to abandon their dreams.
At some point everyone gets distracted and that’s fine
But remind them not to lose their way, while they’re chasing nickels and dimes
Because it’s far more important to be able to interpret the signs of the times
And at this time, there are many signs.
But those who know it all, are destined to remain blind,
While in the meantime, Earth welcomes a new paradigm.
Be not so arrogant as to think that you are the only ones
There are many universes, with many dimensions and many beings
And pretty soon, your cosmic family, you will be seeing.
You still haven’t collectively learn how to love your brother from another race
So it’s going to be interesting to see how you deal with your parents from outer space.
Look to the stars with humility and respect
Because your world is on the eve of a huge reality check.
You’re about to fully understand that the Earth is a living being
And if your vibration is not in alignment with hers
Well, one of you will be leaving the scene.
He said, “I want you to know
That the ones who think that they’re running the show, they’re not
Floods, earthquakes and climate changes, those are just warning shots
Mother Earth’s way of saying, “I’ve been loving you way too long
And you ain’t been loving me back.”
These are very transformational times that you’re living
All the signs have already been given.
Go and read what the indigenous tribes wrote
These are the times to be focused on your spiritual growth,
And this particular window of opportunity is beginning to close.
“Son of man why labor thou in vain?
You sacrifice much for this material plane,
For a simple piece of paper with an ex president’s name
You yield to so much emotional pain.
Don’t you understand that spiritual wealth sacrificed for material gain
Is always insane?
He said, “Speaking of spiritual wealth, why do you pay to pray?
Why do you need a middle man to hold my hand
When I’ve told you, ‘We are ONE’ ”
Why do you look to these pompous prophets and so-called prophetess
When you know that Christ is a consciousness
That anyone can readily access once they put the ego to rest.
So there’s no need to get dressed
In your Easter best, like you’re entering a fashion contest.
Son, you’re already blessed,
And there is no cover charge to let that Spirit be expressed.
I AM everything, and everything is me
If you would just be STILL for a minute
You would see through the illusion of this caper.
Think about it, I AM GOD
So why would I need ten percent of a worthless piece of paper?
All I have ever required was service from thee
Serve your fellow human being and you’re serving me
Give your time, your love, your talents back to the community
Give, give of yourself, lovingly and freely, and you can accomplish that, easily
Without buying my alleged representative a Bentley.
Who do you think contributes more to your society,
The man who is collecting 500,000 per week from his parishioners
Or someone who gives of themselves, like a Mother Teresa?
I need your heart, not your purse
I AM the brightest Light in the Universe.
And the ALL THAT IS can never be diminished
So at best, man has created God in his own image.
You cannot buy your way into the Kingdom
I don’t care if on Sundays, you’re some big shot who run the hot spot
And you need armed guards when you pass the collection pot
Look! Either you’re a vibrational match or you’re not.
You’ve been deceived by religion because you were purposely
Taught that the fear of God is all that you need to know
And anything that you fear eventually becomes your foe
And if you’re afraid of me,
You would rather pay somebody to go speak to me.
So as you can see,
You’re constantly being manipulated because you refuse to learn
That the wrath of God is a contradiction in terms.
I’ve never punished, nor will I ever punish anyone, for anything
So allow me to explain the system in which you’re living.
Earth is essentially a classroom without the chairs and the desks
And it enables the soul to experience freedom of choice
In relationship to cause and effect.
So enjoy your pain for you’ve earned it,
Now look beyond the pain, find the lesson and you’ve learned it.
Fail to learn the lesson and you’re moved to another place
And before you know it, POOF! Same teacher, different face.
You can never miss the lesson so no need to be concerned
Because the lesson repeats until the lesson is learned.
So you’re never punished for your sins
You’re just constantly receiving feedback
On how to become more and more loving.
But in order for you to understand what you’re truly worth
You must first understand that your life began way before your physical birth.
Death is but an illusion, there is no death, only transitions
Birth in the physical is death to your natural spiritual disposition.
When you die in the physical, you’re reborn in the spiritual
And before you came here, you made agreements with other souls upon your initial contact
So how can you be upset with an abusive parent who is just executing a spiritual contract?
They’re just lessons, lessons for you to garner
Lessons to help you remember, lessons to balance karma.
And when you consciously realize that you’re an eternal Being
You immediately plug into Source, the Mainframe, the Ultimate Server
The ego detaches, you see clearly, because now you become the observer.
The observer who sees beyond the illusion of duality
So now, religious and political arguments die from lack of attention in your reality
And when you see folks proclaiming
“I make two hundred thousand per year, look at me, look at me I’m important,
See the Mansion, see the Mercedes, that’s what I’m maintaining.”
You chuckle to yourself, because at this point, the ego is so damn entertaining.
And you say nothing, you resign them to their fate
Besides, you understand that they’re just striving to be great.
And as you humble yourself, your Light will begin to shine
And those who are searching, will be drawn to your light in time
Those who are glued to the material plane will believe that you’ve lost your mind.
And as you walk the spiritual path, this realm will begin to appear very coarse
And the need for material items will begin to lose its driving force.
You will move from passion to purpose because you’re now operating from Source.
Now you realize that the only things you can keep
Are only those which you have given
And for the first time in your life, you’re truly living
You realize that you have all that you need, and nothing’s missing.
And every opportunity to interact with another human being becomes a blessing,
You become the perpetual student and in every moment lies a lesson
The mind becomes still, and the noise of the ego stops
And this knowledge that I give to you is shared freely
Not through a ten thousand dollar weekend workshop.
And as you and others walk the path of integrity, the world will become observant
And men will truly understand that the greatest among you
Will always be servants.