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Chicago author uses poetry, symbolism to write new legacy for Black men

Chicago author uses poetry, symbolism to write new legacy for Black men
Chicago author uses poetry, symbolism to write new legacy for Black men 04:15

CHICAGO (CBS) -- It seems that Harold Green III always has something new going on. 

The last time CBS 2 sat down to speak with the author/artist was to discuss his book black roses. CBS 2's Jamaica Ponder caught up with him at Hatch 41 on Chicago's South Side to hear a preview his latest book of poems, Black Oak

The Englewood native is widely known as a spoken word artist, poet and author. But he prefers to call himself a florist, helping individuals and his community grow and bloom through his work. With Black Oak, he aims to cultivate an entire forest.

"It's 40 odes dedicated to powerful Black men who are making a difference right now in the world. The 'right now' part is important because I think we do a decent job talking about Black history and we are starting to kind of really emerge and talk about Afrofuturism, but I think it's extremely important to talk about the "now" because we can't forget the now," Green said. "'Now' is where the hope is, you know, because it is tangible, it's touchable."

What started as a series of YouTube videos of Green sharing poems about people he admired the most, has now transformed into two poetry books published by HarperCollins. Black Roses is the sister book to Black Oak, honoring powerful Black women.

Jamaica Ponder: I love your work because you continue to give roses. I know this is called Black Oak.

Harold Green III: You see that rose right there on that cover.

Jamaica Ponder: I didn't notice it before we will have to get a close up on the cover! He is holding a rose, so we are keeping with it then. I love that.

Harold Green III:  My brothers deserve they flowers too and it's a nod to the brothers holding down the Black Roses and you know and protecting the Black roses, and so all of these different symbols.

Harold laces symbolism throughout everything he creates.

Harold Green III: The oak, it represents being rooted, you know? I think so often as we know, if we just take a casual glimpse at Black history in America, one of the biggest atrocities is how the Black man has been uprooted from his family, from his community, from his family from his job. All of these things. And I think there is such a power in being able to stay rooted.

We didn't want too many global superstars on it. We didn't want to have the super big names like the Barack Obamas, the Jay-Zs. Things like that.  More people on the rise people you may or may not have heard, those on the cusp-type names. And then you have people like Tyler Perry and stuff like that, who of course more people know of. Once you get to know their story, it's a little different.

Some other Black Oaks: Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, Billy Porter and Chance The Rapper. Also, other innovative Chicagoans, like Hebru Brantley, even Harold's own grandfather and dad.

Basketball star Steph Curry even made Black Oak a part of his book club, where every month he highlights underrepresented authors with fresh perspectives

You can see Harold Green III perform and discuss his work at his "In Conversation With The Artist Series" at the Sophy Hotel in Hyde Park every last Sunday of the month. He will be alternating between Black Roses and Black Oak with Dr. Janice Jackson.

How to grab your tickets. 

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