For almost ten years Kirk Nugent has served as a catalyst for change, challenging preconceived notions about success and self-actualization. Kirk started public speaking in poetry venues where he displayed a keen understanding of social and political issues delivered with his signature brand of infectious wit and frenetic energy. Early audiences crowned him "The People's Poet," and the stage was set for Kirk to widen his speaking base to include college campuses, key note addresses for Fortune 500 companies, church ministries and empowerment workshops. He has spoken at venues across the United States, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean. Kirk continues to impact the lives of people from around the world with public speaking engagements, and live appearances, as well as with his book, The Unpopular Truth and CD's The Unpopular Truth, and I want to Testify, as well as with his highly anticipated guide to self-actualization, Ripple.
Kirk celebrates his Jamaican heritage which has fostered in him the global perspective of "Out of Many One People. " This perspective is a relentless endorsement of the idea that no matter where you are in the world, the innate right to chase your dreams unites all individuals. This is the philosophy which guides Kirk's speaking engagements, and inspired Les Brown to proclaim, "Kirk is a poignant speaker who challenges us to step out in faith towards our dreams."
Besides being named the 1999 Grand Slam Champion, he has also received the 2005 Best Lecture/Poet of the Year, awarded by Winthrop University; the 2004 Best Performing Artist, awarded by Association for The Promotion of Campus Activities; the 2003 Best Spoken Word Artist by Campus Award; the 2001 NAACP National Convention in New Orleans and has appeared on NBC Black History Celebration; CBS "60 Minutes." He has also opened for the Queen Latifah Show and hosted BET and Def Jam comics. See his site for updates on current projects and performances. To find an even deeper side of the man, please see Kirk Nugent Ministries.
Note: This is one of my personal favorites from Kirk, but he has done much more work since he first wrote this. To see him performing this poem live at the Nuyorican, please see Verbs On Asphalt
They're Not My Heroes
They're not my friends, they're my foes, I'm telling you now, these idiots are not my heroes. And as sure as strawberries make me sick, You could never get me to uplift or worship a baseball playing crack addict! Not when my mother left Jamaica, Came to America, Worked for some racists as a domestic helper, Four degrees below zero, dead of Winter, They had her outside grilling burgers. All because for her three kids she wanted to secure a better future. So don't even think about forgiving me if I'm wrong, Daryl Strawberry ain't did shit compared to my mom. We left Jamaica dead broke! In high school I had two pairs of pants and a used winter coat. Middle America was on that, "Immigrants are taking all our jobs!'" bullshit! "Go back on your banana boat!'" was the phrase of choice, Negroes used when they dissed. So for the longest, Dad was unemployed Mom, underemployed And summertime in school I was still rocking those two pairs of corduroy. Found the American dream to be a hoax, And for my clothing, the kids in school had mad jokes. It was like Def Comedy Jam when the class clown assembled his boys, But I knew from Jamaica that empty barrels made the most noise. Food Stamp Name Brand Welfare Negroes, turned their nose up, as if they were rich snobs, I ignored it, by fifteen I was reading investment books by Charles Schwab, And just like you saw on "In Living Color", I had three jobs. While kids in my class were unwrapping gifts from under the Christmas tree, I was reading, "How To Win Friends And Influence People'" by Dale Carnegie. While cats blasted Eric B and Run DMC I was listening to tapes of Earl Nightingale reinforcing, "Persistence is the key." Doing paradigm shifts with my reality, Fighting my insanity, While simultaneously trying to escape from what was obviously a dysfunctional family. Picked up a pen and found escape through this poetry. Where the average sucker saw obstacle, I saw opportunity, And by eighteen I decided that working forty hours Building someone else's dream was not for me! Took the road less traveled and found peace within, While most of the food stamp name brand Negroes Found lodging in the criminal system. Telling me the "White Man" made them victims. And how much America is their enemy, But idiots always confuse bad management with destiny! Girls that lived to put broke immigrants down For the entire school year, I now see them with three kids, No baby father and a part time job as a cashier. While immigrants that I knew who slept five to a bed Went on to become aeronautical engineers. My goals are written precisely and clear, Most are already accomplished, the rest are near. And I can recall that it wasn't too long ago when I stepped off Air Jamaica with damn near zero, So call me Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent, cause I'm my own goddamn hero!
© 2000 Kirk Nugent