“Langston Hughes goes street,” was my feeling as I read “Songs in Search of a Voice” by Marcus Harris.
In “Songs”, Harris takes philosophical and prophetic thoughts and eloquently transforms them into a modern, hip-hop revolution. The poems selected for this innovative public missive hold feelings of love, honor, life and introspection. Harris’ words allow the reader to envision the full potential of life while at the same time, calling a spade a spade. That’s right, Harris pulls no punches regarding the mixed up world and the mixed up thoughts that plague it, however, it is far from judgmental.
Harris does not project his words from a pulpit. Though some of the poems plead to the broken masses, Marcus Harris does not talk about or talk at these situations. Instead, he speaks through these subjects allowing the reader a glimpse as to what the people see. Harris shows his capability to lift up even those individuals that tend to let themselves down.
Two of my favorites from the book are "Woman to Player" and "Player to Woman". These two works describes the feelings of a woman trying to hold a relationship with a player and, of course, the player’s attempt to “maintain” while dealing with the attitude of the woman. After reading these two poems, there is a realization that both have their eyes on the prize yet they refuse to work together to obtain it.
Harris goes on to present "Two Little Piggies" which details the story of two boys committing the same crime yet receiving completely different “justice” because they possess a different color skin. Controversial, but so real and revolutionary—and Harris doesn’t stop there. He introduces magnificent art through Haiku, presenting "Chainless Gangs", "New School Hip-Hop" and "NCAA Football". They take just a moment to soak in, but once they do—they will shake you to the core.
I highly recommend this insightful, prophetic journey of emotion through poetry and prose. As founder and president of The Lady Oya Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports domestic violence survivors and their families, Marcus Harris speaks not only for himself but also for many souls that long for love, justice and equality.