We had the good fortune of connecting with Yurz Truly and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Yurz, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Honestly, I never thought of myself as a business owner. Growing up, especially in my community, you’re not taught entrepreneurship nearly as much as working for someone else. When the possibility of me being my own brand and starting my own company came up, I was extremely skeptical on my ability to do so. My manager, Karissa – author of The Popular Girl, definitely pushed the encouragement button on me though. She set up my email, social media, shows, and interviews thus giving me zero excuses left on telling myself that I “can’t” do it. It was just believing in myself enough to get it done and having the right people around me willing to help me succeed. I feel that’s what I have now.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

It all started before I was actually born. My father is a writer and public speaker. In the womb he’d read to me daily and that continues once I was finally presented to the world. No matter if it was newspapers, national geographic publications, comic books, the Bible, even the caption on the TV my dad was always reading to me aloud. Once rhyming words were introduced into the mix, it was a wrap. I feel in love all over again with words. Then I learned what poetry was and fell in love with words once more but used in another form.

Being older and growing my brand for more than just poetry, I’ve had to develop a confidence in myself to achieve certain aspirations while not relying on other people yet still needing other people to do specific jobs to get things accomplished. Learning and constantly growing even in things I personally have zero interest in. Knowing is half the battle. Once you have the know how and knowledge, it can’t be taken from you.

The journey to get to where I am now has never been an easy one. Because of the way I was raised, my passion for poetry was never taken as a serious goal by my family. So when it came to supporting my poems, my performances, my features, or even when I host my own open mics in Lake Jackson at Royal Haze, my older brother Steven is my only support system. Because of his words of encouragement, I’ve been able to continue down this path and succeed on this road. Even the poets I once considered friends or mentors built up a competitive nature instead of sustaining a nurturing one that’ll help us all grow. I went through a divorce, loss of family, and other pains that have led me to grow as a person as well as in my poetry.

Yurz Truly Poetry is more than just poems. Fortunately, we have grown into a brand. One that has merchandise for those that support the arts as a whole. As the founder and performing poet of the brand, I ensure that everything that Yurz Truly Poetry embarks on is done with the supporters in mind first. We produce choice quality in poetry, clothing, and performing. Proudly, I can say that has continued to be the expectation of Yurz Truly Poetry because that has always been the experience I intend to give each time I am on stage and in the community. I wish to leave audiences with a different outlook and better experience than anything they imagined poetry to be. My team and I are avid in our determination to be better everyday, every performance, every time. We stand by our motto of “You Gotta Want It,” which entails putting forth a true 100% in the work, research, and efforts to accomplish a goal.

Also known for our determined efforts of giving back to the community, we’ve been blessed to partner with programs that feed the homeless. Not just for holiday occasions but as a regular means of nourishing and helping the less fortunate. Based on personal experience, it weighs heavy on my heart that this is a continued conversation in the world for years and yet there’s still no cure or final determination. So if the governments can’t unify in order to relieve this plague, Yurz Truly Poetry makes it our responsibility to do whatever we can to make sure we help as many as we can. With being able to speak at grade schools and colleges, we’ve been able to reach students from all over the southern states of America. Starting with home, Houston, we focus on the underfunded schools to show the students, especially the males, that there’s a way to express yourself other than fighting or other violent aggression. We set up a lesson plan to teach not only poetry but life lessons that students will eventually utilize as they continue maturing. After that is all said and done, we have FUN!!!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is a present and future issue that I continue to have. Due to the various platforms poetry has, I’ve been blessed with such an amazing extended family. My friends list has grown tremendously with great interesting fun loving people. With that comes varying definitions on what’s fun or exciting. But because of the diversity in them, it has forced me to widen my senses of things that Houston has to offer. There’s a ton… For instance, food choices and places are in abundance in the city and surrounding areas.

If I’m taking them to breakfast we’re doing a few Houston staples but definitely some hide away spots. Snooze Eatery in Montrose is a must go to. There’s a line on the weekends that goes pretty fast but during the week, you’re getting seated quickly with your breakfast coming out fresh and hot. Empire Cafe is a beautiful space that I love to show off to my out of town guest. Especially on a nice weekend day. The outside seating plus the mimosas fit perfectly. Adair Kitchen downtown, Black Walnut on Luetta, Black Bear in Katy, and First Watch in Tomball are all great places to enjoy a great breakfast at great prices. But you can’t truly say you’ve been to Houston without visiting and enjoying a meal at The Breakfast Club downtown. It is literally the place to go for great food and history.

Now if we’re going to lunch, I’m treating them to one of my favorite places Olive & Twist. Very spacious, food is excellent, and the staff is incredible. Live music and fresh friendly positive vibes from the time you walk in til way after you leave. Good Time Cafe says it all in their name so that’s always a great place to take friends. Of course Hugo’s, Tiny Boxwoods downtown, and Dish Society on Main are great but I have a special place in my heart for The Annie on Post Oak. The ambiance tells it all but the originality of their drink menu send them straight over the top in my book.

Now I am not the type to eat at food places that are overly popular with fellow locals or food chains or ones who have commercials. I love the none crowded restaurants. The ones that are tucked away and produce great quality food. Especially around dinner time. Some may say Brennans but I’d say III (3) Forks. You may be suggested 7 Spices or LA Fisherman but I prefer Dan’s above the others. Ra Sushi is what is preferred by most but my choice would highly favor Kokai Suishi in Katy. I love food so I do my own research on where to go and I take my friends there. Of course if they ask to go to the Turkey Leg Hunt I’m going to take them. It’s a must grab for a visitor of the city. Rainbow Lodge is beautiful, Yao’s off Westheimer has great shrimp fried rice, Lucille’s in the museum district so perfect for a variety of appetites.

Many of my favorite places are where I’m taking all my friends no matter how long they’re staying in town for. Backstreet Cafe, Mai’s after hitting up Prospect Park, Royal Haze to have some good dancing and smooth drinks. Mary’s Mediterranean Cuisine on Sundays. Capital Grille in Memorial City. City Center. K1 Speed Way. Hermann Park. Buffalo Soldiers Museum. Museum of Natural Science. There are literally so many places for a variety of interests. Far too many to name. Just come visit and I’ll show you what Houston has to offer.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?

I’d like to shoutout everyone that’s played a role in my story up until now. Of course my parents for being great examples and trying to instill in me positive characteristics to be beneficial and loving in life. There was a custodian at school, Mr. JJ, along with a constable, Officer Clark, who spoke wisdom to me even at a young age.

A special shoutout goes my oldest brother, Steven. He’s been my biggest fan and longest supporter. He’d make fun of me one minute then the very next second encourage me to achieve my dreams. He never knocked my passions though very different from his. Whether it was collecting rocks, comic books, to now poetry he has always been my biggest support system. When I told him about Yurz Truly Poetry’s clothing and merchandise he immediately got shirts, bags, hoodie, etc. When I produce a new poem he is usually top 3 people to hear it before the public does and gives me great much needed critiques in order for the poem to be its best and me be at mine. I would never in a million years be the man that I have grown to be without my brother and Yurz Truly Poetry would never have thrived without him either.

Monika Denise, The Black Martha Stewart, has been a major staple for what Yurz Truly Poetry is currently. She does all the dirty work and make sure that I stay on top of what I am suppose to do. Her value cannot be matched in any realm. Her knowledge of business and people are what steady the ship so that YTP stays on course. We differ often but it always comes out perfectly in the end because we have a common goal and mission. Provide quality material, every time, all the time. StiIl, Yurz Truly Poetry would not be where it is today without her guidance. I would have never come as far as I have without her and I look forward to what we will achieve in the future.

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Other: Yurztrulypoetry@gmail.com FB: Stanton Boone – Yurz Truly

Image Credits
Photographer – Black Silk Inc Founder Monika Denise Photographer – Azia Monae

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