I may be biased, but some of the best talents rise out of Houston! If you aren’t sure where to look, you’ll miss out on rare gems like our featured guest today, poet Li'Zae LaGrone.
I first came across Li’Zae last year at an open mic where she intrigued me instantly with two of her spoken word pieces. With a stage name as Li’Zae God’s Poet, you’ll witness God’s spirit in her craft. Her energy is fun-loving, humble, and vibrant. One thing for sure is that she’ll leave you with food for thought with her relatable messages.
It is in her writing that you will experience her hardships and heart as she so eloquently shares her testimony. So, when you see her smile, know that she earned it through healing and the grace of God. Keep reading to find out for yourself.
Keiyana: In what ways has your upbringing molded you into who you are today?
Li’Zae: Watching my mom experience what she has gone through has helped me to become a strong and independent woman. Because of the example she set for me, it kept me from following the crowd. Otherwise, I would have gotten caught up doing my own thing and being easily influenced by others.
Keiyana: How did you get introduced to the art of poetry?
Li’Zae: Growing up as a family, we experienced a lot of trauma. During that time, I did not have anyone to confide in. My mom was going through enough as a single mom, and I didn't want to add more to her with my issues.
So around age eleven or twelve, poetry was my outlet. It was my way of expressing what I had inside and leaving it on the pages. Overall, I have always loved poetry and rap growing up. I grew up on Eminem, Scarface, India Arie, etc. So I had a good mixture of both. I knew I loved rhyme and so I started writing my poems. My poems started depressing, but that was my outlet to release my emotions without keeping them inside and exploding on the next person.
Keiyana: You incorporate rawness, vulnerability, and faith into your writing. How do you prepare yourself to be so transparent?
Li’Zae: My writing at first was very raw. I didn’t even know that Christian poets existed, so my work was not always faith-based. I was not raised in the church, so it was more of, this is how I feel, but Lord, I thank you. Once I found God, my aunt started taking me to church. I then discovered poet Isaac Wimberley who featured on a Kari Jobe track called Forever.
When I heard him and his message, he was talking about the beauty of how there were no words to describe who God is. It was beautiful how he expressed himself through the word of God. I remember praying, Lord, help my poems not only be about me and what I'm going through but to reflect on your glory so that I may encourage others who might feel this way. For me, it was knowing that I'm a vessel and that I am not the only one experiencing this pain. We can always find encouragement. We can always find the light. We can always find life in the word of God.
Overall, what prepares me is knowing that I'm not by myself. Somebody somewhere feels the same way I do, and if I’m the voice God chose to speak out on behalf of those who can not, then so be it.
Keiyana: How have you grown in your craft since you first started?
Li’Zae: My growth started with learning to be confident in what God has placed inside me. I can rest assured that He has given me everything I need to go and speak His word and encourage others.
At first, it was about translating my testimony and watching how others related. It taught me that God could use me even though I was not raised in the church. However, the enemy made me feel like I could not offer anything because I did not grow up on biblical teaching. Yet, despite that, God showed me I did not have to come from a Christian household to make a difference. I have what I need, and what I have is what God can use.
Keiyana: Past or present, what poet has inspired you the most and why?
Li’Zae: I have two poets that have inspired me. My first choice is Isaac Wimberley because he was the first Christian poet I heard of. With his poems, a light clicked when I saw that I could use my words to edify the Body of Christ and encourage others. My second choice would be Jackie Hill Perry. Home girl is real. She is straightforward and blunt. Her overall style and how she approaches topics are captivating to me.
Keiyana: Poetry is often considered therapeutic. What has been the most challenging thing writing has helped you heal through?
Li’Zae: Writing has brought healing to my life by helping me be truthful and honest with my feelings and what caused the hurt. Most of my pain stems from my upbringing, how I was treated, and the people that walked out of my life.
I believe breaking those things down and forgiving myself helped me process everything by writing it out. However, now a lot of my pens are not written down. I let the Holy Spirit speak through me while meditating on a word and seeking understanding of what the Lord is trying to teach me or say.
Keiyana: What is one of your favorite poems to date that you have written and why?
Li’Zae: My favorite poem would have to be one of my new poems, A Scar That Still Hurts. It is my favorite because it is personal and dedicated to my little brother's passing. As believers, I feel we tend to hide behind our faith. After I lost my brother, I tried to convince myself that everything would be okay because God knows what He is doing. Yet, some things just hurt, and confronting that scar as a reality still hurts. Now, it is about understanding that we can be healed though sometimes the pain can be triggered.
Within the trigger, it is a reminder of how God healed that wound and it is God that will keep you. So that poem is my favorite because we all have scars, and if it is deep enough it will still hurt when triggered. However, when hit a certain way, it is in pain that we begin to remember what God has brought us through and the process it took to become a scar.
Keiyana: What do you want people to walk away with when they hear your spoken word?
Li’Zae: I believe it is okay to feel your feelings, but welcome God in. We look to Jesus as a friend, which means we can always come to Him. We can have that intimate relationship with him knowing that He understands.
I believe people think they have to be a certain way before going to God, but it is in those moments that He wants you to come as you are. So in my artistry, I want people to take away that God sees, knows, and understands. He is just waiting for you to come despite what you are going through.
Keiyana: You are one-third of a creative collaboration called Poetic Rhythm and Soul. Tell us how this idea came about in its purpose.
Li’Zae: Poetic Rhythm and Soul consists of myself and two other talented artists. Of course, I represent the poetic side as Li’Zae God’s Poet, lyricist, and rapper Inael is the rhythm, and singer and musician Treshana Lewis represents the soul. This all came about because we would always end up at the same open mics, and many would compliment us and suggest we should collaborate.
Since we all respect each other's craft, we eventually decided to come together and produce a showcase of our work. Developing that showcase is how we came up with the title Poetic Rhythm and Soul. Our collaboration has been powerful because it covers all bases of art, understanding that we can glorify and worship God in our gifts no matter what it is. I am overall excited about this collective. I love them for real!
Keiyana: I can agree that you all are a dynamic trio and a force to be reckoned with individually. So, outside of writing, what other interests do you enjoy?
Li’Zae: Outside of poetry, I love to paint and have nature as my scenery. Painting is another way I can get my thoughts out. I am also a fashion designer, but it is crazy how God has a way of changing your plans. Growing up, I wanted to be a fashion designer. I would watch Top Model, and runway shows and make clothing for my Barbie dolls. I would even bring my creations to school to show my teachers. I honestly never thought of being a poet.
Keiyana: As we close, tell our readers where they can find you on social media and what to expect from you this year.
Li’Zae: You can find me on Instagram @lizae_godspoet and TikTok @lizae__godspoet. Coming up, God has given me the vision of the book ideas that I plan to release. I am working on one now titled Feel Feelings, which I aim to release sometime this year. I also plan on selling t-shirts inspired by my poems already released and preparing for a website launch so everything is in one place.
Lastly, Poetic Rhythm and Soul is preparing for an upcoming show in August where merch will be available. Be sure to follow us @poeticrhythmnsoul for more information about our events collectively.
On behalf of Foundation First, we want to thank Li'Zae God's Poet for sharing her inspiring testimony
Stay connected with Li'Zae by clicking the links below.