Behind My Smile

When you look behind my smile you will

discover the complexities of my story and

take a journey through my life,

and maybe you'll be able to understand

Me.

All About Me

I remember the first time I stepped onto the “stage” to share a poem. The audience, aka my friends and teachers, quickly realized that my life was not as perfect as it seemed. For the first time, I felt at peace.

Growing up in Houston, Texas in a household with both parents and two siblings, I was always expected to go to college. Since I can remember, the goal was always to get a good education so I could get a “good job” to support myself and my family. So, I did just that. After graduating at the top of my high school class I accepted an academic scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh where I studied Electrical Engineering. While I have always loved and excelled at math, and I am beyond grateful to have received the opportunity to graduate from such a distinguished university with a Bachelor of Science, I slowly realized that I had another love, poetry.

I first inked my thoughts on paper as a release during my senior year of high school. I remember being so stressed and anxious during that year. I was trying to balance schoolwork with college applications, scholarship applications, running on the varsity track team trying to advance to the Regional and State meets, and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. It was a lot! But over the years I’ve learned that my varied life experiences of adversity, stress, failure, joy, love, and loss are what fuel each one of my poems. I nurtured my passion for manipulating words into meaningful expression by learning to combine my life experiences with flashes of vivid thoughts, images, and literary devices.  

Over time I slowly realized how cathartic writing was and I began mastering the intricate composition of metaphors, parallels, allusions, sound, and rhythm into writing I call intentional – an effective way to relate to my listeners. In 2018 I compiled my most significant works into my first poetry book, “Behind the Smile”. (Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble)

Thankfully, poetry didn’t only introduce me to performing but it also expanded my relationship with the stage. In 2015, I caught the performance bug after earning critical acclaim for my portrayal of "Eugene" in the University of Pittsburgh's adaptation of "Yellowman," by Dale Orlandersmith. That experience was life changing for my art!

Today as I reflect on my artistic journey, I know I am motivated from my opportunities to publish my own book and be the lead male actor on stage. But I also draw inspiration by the enduring brilliance of writer Langston Hughes (a leader of the Harlem Renaissance), and the profound verses of contemporary poets Ezekiel and Rudy Francisco. I use their creative influences to transform my spoken word into exceptional pieces.

Ultimately, I view poetry as a resource that God has given me to process through my life and help others do the same.