Earl The Poet is a beautiful, 20 year old poet from Houston, TX currently attending Huston-Tillotson University, a historically Black university in Austin, TX. With metaphors and a powerful delivery that leaves listeners and viewers touched, motivated, and inspired, Earl The Poet is a poet who should be heard world wide. As a fan of Earl The Poet’s poetry, I reached out to her for an interview, to learn more about her.
Allahnastevie: I recently became a fan of your spoken word last year after coming across one of your videos on Twitter. Every word, every metaphor, the way you present your poetry. The confidence and vulnerability touches and inspires me. I think it’s beautiful how someone from across the country can be inspired by words and delivery, as well as by art.
Earl The Poet: I want to start off by saying my heart is warm from your welcome! And I’m glad that my poetry touched you half way across the world.
AS: How did you come up with the name Earl The Poet?
ETP: I came up with the name “Earl the Poet” because Earl [stems] from my real name which is Earlyssa. And of course I just added “The Poet” to it. I like the tricky twist it gives the audience, because most people are expecting a guy to come out when Earl the Poet is called to the stage & then VOILA!!!! You get me? Haha!
AS: What made you want to share your poetry in the way that you do?
ETP: I’ve been doing this since elementary. I got really serious about it in high school though. I felt that God made this my purpose on Earth. To heal, to be that voice, to be that inspiration to others.
AS: How do you come up with topics to write about? Do they stem from real life situations? What inspires you?
ETP: Great question. Oftentimes I get asked what inspires me and the first thing that comes to mind is pain. Even if I’ve never felt the pain from that specific topic personally, I do my research, I ask other people, and then I write.
AS: I saw you say something about being an advocate or voice for mental health. How did this come about?
ETP: I can proudly say I’m a mental illness advocate. Okay, this is about to get a little personal so bear with me. I know how it feels to battle depression daily. To be suicidal, to see your mom not get out of bed because of depression, to see other people laugh and joke about something that’s literally trying to KILL you. It’s not funny, it’s never been funny, and it’s always been personal.
“I want any and everyone I come across to know I stand firm in saying I’m here, whenever you need me. I’m no doctor or anything but I’ll love the hell out of a stranger, you never know. Before you showed you cared, that could’ve been the night suicide worked for them.”
AS: What does being a poet and or artist mean for you?
ETP: As Erykah Badu once said, “I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my shit.” I’m the same way, haha. Being an artist to me is choosing to be transparent and vulnerable. Also free. It means you’re choosing to create art in a world full of caged people.
AS: What are some things that you hope to accomplish through your art?
ETP: Ironically, I’ve been talking to God about this. I’m not fully sure at the moment. I don’t want to set bars too low for myself. I feel like God is just getting started with me. I just pray I inspire people on the way!
AS: As a young Black woman in America, as an artist, how does that make you feel? Does it inspire or motivate you more ? Do you feel as if you have a message to get across?
ETP: Being born black has to be a very bittersweet thing. Here I am in a world full of people who are projected to hate me, my heart, and who I am solely based off of my skin color. Opportunities are harder to get. You have to work twice as hard as anyone you are competing against to show you are even worthy of sitting at the same table as them. So yes, I have a message to get across. “Yes, I’m black. Yes, I’m a woman & NO I wouldn’t have it any other way.” And overall, at the end of the day I can scream: “I’M BLACK & I’M PROUD!!”
AS: Who are some poets/artist that inspire you ?
Earlthepoet: “Hands down, Maya Angelou. Ha, very predictable right? No. I’ve been admiring her since the fourth grade. I had to memorize “phenomenal woman” for a black history program and I haven’t been the same girl since. My heart breaks at the thought of never getting to meet her now.”
AS: I saw recently that you began putting out poetry in different forms everyday for the month of July. How did you come up with this idea?
ETP: The idea to post different forms of poetry every day in July was because I hadn’t been giving my fan base any poetry. Although I wasn’t consistent at all with the idea, it sure was a great one.
AS: What are some things that you want people to know about Earl The Poet? What should we look out for in the future?
ETP: I want people to know who I am and what I stand for. I’m a 20 year old girl from Houston, Texas still finding myself and I’m on the quest for self love and acceptance. But in the process of doing that, I’m very open. I don’t hide my pain at all, because I’m not gonna hide my joy. I am the same person on and off social media. I genuinely love people, and whether I know you personally or not, hit me up. If you need someone, I’ll be that someone. I am the voice for the speechless. Some projects I have in the works [include] doing a pop-up poetry tour & dropping an EP sometimes this fall. Stay tuned!”
AS: An inspiration, thank you, Earl The Poet for this interview. Continue to touch, heal, and inspire through your art. The world is here for it!
For more, check out a video of Earl The Poet’s poetry below:
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou