Sean Baucom, spoken word poet
LATHA JAYAKUMAR Special to the AmNews | 4/3/2012, 12:01 p.m.
For Sean Baucom, it's more than just reciting words into a mic. Seamlessly moving from reading an Audre Lorde poem to speaking his own words into life, the 21-year-old spoken word poet and Brooklyn native has an undeniable way with words. In the past, he has braved the Apollo stage, but regardless the size of the audience, Baucom is able to win them over with his charisma, talent and infectious grin. Performing his art around the nation to packed crowds, it's hard to believe that this vivacious wordsmith overcame so much to get where he is.
Baucom was raised by varying members of his extended family, as his drug-addicted mother was unable to care for him and his brother. Growing up, the only constants in his life seemed to be poverty, violence and abuse, but when reflecting on his upbringing, he says, "The experiences that I have lived through have shaped me into who I am today; they have given me inspiration to draw and grow from."
While in high school, he realized writing was an outlet for his thoughts, energy and emotions. When he saw his words resonating with other people, he was hooked. "I love poetry and I can't leave it alone, I can't escape it. It's become my own addiction," he said.
In 2011, Baucom's older brother and one of his biggest inspirations was shot and killed during a street argument. Though he says he is still processing the depth of this loss, he has managed to see the light from this darkness, saying, "I keep pushing on. My brother was proud of what I did, and I keep doing it to keep him proud of me. I have a lot of motivation to keep going, and after losing him, I feel like there could be no greater loss, so anything that's thrown at me, I just brush off."
His heavy lyrics about social injustice and personal hardship grab the crowd's attention. He seems the most comfortable when performing and has even been known to jump off the stage and perform amongst the audience, not allowing the boundaries of a spotlight to limit him.
Baucom was featured on the HBO documentary "Brave New Voices," has performed all over the United States, has been in MTV campaigns and even starred in the play "Stride Right," but Baucom vehemently says the best is yet to come. He is currently working on a book of poems, titled "1425" after the address of one of his memorable childhood homes. When inquiring about his raw and real lyrics, Baucom responded, saying, "All of my writing comes from a pure and honest place. I can't lie to a page and I don't have to...it's the most nonjudgmental place."
He says his mission now is to show other young Black men that there is more to life than the streets and that one does not have to be defined by his surroundings. Baucom says, "Next, I want to take on masculinity in all its forms, mixing in how I was raised and what it means to be a Black man." He is now part of a theater production team called "The Male Ego," which features an all-male cast on a mission to redefine what masculinity is today.
Although at one point Baucom admits that he "was intimidated by [his] own potential," he no longer lets that hold him back. Many more amazing things are sure to come from this powerful spoken word poet as he continues to craft and polish his remarkable talent.