Hispanic Heritage Month is continuing in metro Detroit and throughout the country, and this week, we're bringing you a story of a Michigan poet who has garnered international attention for his work.
Not only has Michael Reyes performed all over the world, but he's the co-founder of We Are Culture Creators, an organization that mentors young artists and connects them to economic opportunity.
Reyes has the culture house, where 200 young creatives use the space with access to a studio with video equipment and much more.
Reyes said it's where he's produced some of his most powerful poems.
"Poetry just became an outlet. It became a tool for me to be able to communicate my thoughts and frustrations, especially around issues of social justice because a lot of times that's not voiced," Reyes said.
He wrote his first poem at 15, and 20 years later, he still has bars.
"White creatives don't have that same pressure. they don't necessarily have that same pressure that a lot of us do as folks coming from communities of color but to me, it's a positive thing because that's what makes my work dynamic," he said.
Reyes spent years on the road, sometimes doing 125 shows a year. Now, he lives and works out a funky blue house in Southwest Detroit.
He mentors young artists and provides them with the tools they need to succeed.
"II have young folks that have Grammy nominations that have all worked in one or two of my programs, and you know, that's a big deal for me because the point of the program was to see them grow," he said.
Ultimately, they just want to make people think differently about themselves, their community, and how they fit into the world.
"The reason I am proud to be Latinx is that I get to contribute to expanding shifting and remixing the culture," he said.
On Oct. 30, Culture Creators is holding Noche de Katrinas, their annual fundraiser, and Reyes will be performing live. You can learn more on their website at https://www.weareculturecreators.com/home