Canada is home to a large number of talented people and Dwayne Morgan is no starving artist.
The Scarborough native was inducted into the Scarborough Walk of Fame back in 2013 and has made a living from his art for 25 years.
Morgan said he has been very blessed in always being able to come up with ideas that resonate with people.
He started his own company in 1993 called ‘Up From The Roots.’
It all began when he wrote a poem for a school assembly.
From there, a couple of women in the community took an interest in his work.
“They really helped me to get out there and perform at community events and from there it snowballed.” Morgan said.
Morgan hosts live spoke n’ word events in the city filled with local and international talent.
Now in it’s 18th year, Morgan has successfully put on shows like ‘When Sisters Speak’ which took place earlier this month inside of the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts downtown Toronto.
‘When Brothers Speak’, had its 20th anniversary last November.
The inspiration came from a trip Morgan had taken to Philadelphia where a number of poets left him in awe.
He thought they would do well in Toronto but the only issue was he needed a way to get them to the city, “I had to create an event that would make sense that I could put them in,” he said.
“It has been interesting because both shows have been highly successful, the greatest growth has been being able to house the show in a theater instead of a little club like we did in the early days.”
Events that Morgan has organized receive positive feedback because there is not much else out there like it out there.
” To hear Black women on stage speaking unapologetically about their experiences and doing it in a way that is both enlightening and entertaining is something that is refreshing to people,” he said.
The poet gives voice to the personal lives of audience members on stage who are not normally represented in mainstream media.
“It’s that sense of sharing and community that makes the show what it is,” Morgan said.
Morgan has also written 10 books and received a number of awards, and said he has many highlights in what he has done in his career.
When he tells people he writes poetry they rarely believe what he has accomplished.
“I have always tried to do things outside of the box,” said Morgan, who feels that no award is more important that the other.
“To be able to be recognized for writing poetry and presenting these kinds of events is something that touches me in a special place,”said Morgan.
Morgan said it is ironic that he does what it is he does because he is an extreme introvert.
He would never choose to do something that required speaking in front of people but, ” I started the business because I had so many talented friends who had nowhere to perform and I decided to be the one who gave them a space to perform,” he said.
Normally he enjoyed doing things behind the scenes, however he “…had no clue that it would take off to the point where something that I could actually live off of.”
When it comes to leaving advice for those who have the same interest in doing what he does said, “look at me but not stare….don’t stare so long that all you do is look and want to duplicate what I’ve done figure out what what might work for you,” Morgan Said.
He also hosts an ‘Open Mic and Slam Night’ on the first Sunday of every month.
Anyone is welcome to come in and compete. It is located on Bathurst Street, in Toronto at A Different Booklist.
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