Miles told us straight away why he values what he does. He values the live experience he encounters when he looks people in the eye “where anything can happen”. The poetry he delivers to his audience generates this live experience.
Dreaming of becoming an actor in high school, Miles underwent an audition to play a lead role, but was denied the opportunity by the producer only a few lines into the audition. Why? Because he was black. According to the director, this character was not black, therefore Myles was not eligible for the part. This was his first experience of racism he voiced to us.
As a man who has held countless workshops he said he gets two questions the most. The first being ‘Can I touch your hair?’ which he always says NO to. The second was ‘where are you from?’ and he answers America, but gets asked the same question again. He then says Chicago but still, he gets asked ‘where are you really from’?
Today, Miles is the founder of Australian Slam Poetry and set up a literary organisation called ‘Word Travels’. As said, these organisations have taken him to countless small Australian towns where he uncovers some of the craziest most brilliant stories amongst youth. What he wants to draw from this is that we all have a story. He asked us to consider how we will get our story to the world, and then makes an example by reciting a poem, just not your average poem. This upbeat passage of slam poetry encapsulated all his experiences of racism and works to reflect on why racism needs to be countered, specifically in a civil manner.
To stop racism Miles shows how we need to be aware, how we need to understand culture, background and skin colour.
Brilliant way to start the day, thank you Miles!
View the video of the keynote address at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CboCj7xY9A0