Because a drayage load can mean a few different things, confusion among carriers is common. Many carriers link drayage with going into a port, but that isn't always true. While all drayage loads typically originate from a port of entry, there are often several legs of a drayage journey before a container turns up at its final stop. Legs of a drayage load may include:
You may be thinking, what's so important about drayage? It's such a small step in the container storage transport process. In reality, it's an integral piece needed in the logistics industry and a crucial part of U.S. supply chain management.
To truly understand the importance of drayage, let's use flowers as an example. Most cut flower shipments enter the market from areas in South America until they end up at Dutch auction houses. Once there, wholesalers purchase flowers in bulk and send those products to retail outlets worldwide. Because flowers are perishable, they typically need to be refrigerated and are often shipped in reefer containers. These refrigerated vessels must maintain a certain temp to prevent loss.
Drayage companies like RelyEx allow flower shippers to send their products from Argentinian ports to airports in the Netherlands with peace of mind because their products are protected. The only way to accomplish this feat is with the help of swift, meticulous port drayage services. Drayage companies allow flower shippers to send their products from Argentinian ports to airports in the Netherlands with peace of mind, because their products are protected. The only way to accomplish this feat is with the help of swift, meticulous port drayage services.
If port drayage is compromised, it can cause delays and even fines. You know the packages you get delivered to your front door from apps like Amazon? Without drayage and drayage brokers, one or two-day shipping times wouldn't even be possible.
As a multi-billion-dollar industry in the U.S. alone, it seems like drayage shipping issues shouldn't exist. But the fact is inefficiencies and congestion are still major problems at ports. Whether it's a lack of carriers, absent chassis, or overburdened terminals, delays lead to missed deadlines, lost revenue, and worse.
But anytime challenges exist, so too do innovative solutions.QUOTE REQUEST
At RelyEx, we like to consider ourselves problem solvers. The nature of the container drayage industry presents new challenges every day, but we're firm believers that there's a solution to every hurdle we encounter. And while some drayage businesses implement a reactive approach, RelyEx customers choose us for our proactive mindset. We take pride in solving your company's drayage challenges to help you avoid frustrating fees, missed expectations, and delayed shipments. We strive to make every transaction successful and streamlined by partnering with shippers who prioritize transparent, prompt, and accurate communication.
RelyEx approaches your business from the customer's perspective - a unique approach that helps us provide high-quality, effective drayage services. We've been in the customers' shoes, know their pain points, and because of that, provide first-hand solutions to stressful supply chain issues. With over 30 years of collective knowledge, our team excels in:
Our varied, high-level drayage shipping experience helps us achieve our overarching goal: expertly managing your freight movement needs. That way, you can direct your time and focus on growing the core aspects of your business while we handle the heavy lifting. Throw in proactive planning to avoid bottleneck situations and strong communication for transparent customer relations, and you can see why so many companies trust RelyEx.
When it comes to shipping logistics, it only takes one mistake by a mediocre worker to disrupt your business. That's why, at RelyEx, we pride ourselves on forming and nurturing relationships with carriers who match our standards of care. Our founding partner started his career transporting freight for companies as an on-demand carrier. He uses that knowledge to maximize the resources of our carriers so that our customer's expectations aren't just met - they're exceeded.
Based in the port city of Long Beach, RelyEx has a keen understanding of the challenges of managing the inbound and outbound flow of containers. Our team of container drayage experts provides your business with unique solutions to nuanced shipping problems, minimizing demurrage and ensuring the successful delivery of your freight.
Customers choose RelyEx because:
Some drayage brokers don't care how customers feel about their service as long as they sign a contract and get paid. As a solutions-oriented team, RelyEx takes the opposite approach. We're motivated by the opportunity to overachieve for our customers and to provide them with the best logistics experience possible. With professional experience as carriers and shippers ourselves, we know the roadblocks and challenges you're facing. We excel at mapping out the best plans of action to solve those problems. But that's just the start.
Our tracking experts monitor and manage every aspect of your drayage shipment from booking to delivery, 24/7. Once booked, we look for the availability of your containers hourly once they're at port. When they arrive, our team acts quickly to access your storage containers when they're available.
Plus, RelyEx ensures your company's requirements are met by the carrier during loading and delivery and provide necessary documentation as fast as possible. With real-time tracking updates and access to our customer service professionals, your team has complete visibility throughout the shipping process.
Over the years, RelyEx has built a strong network of drayage carriers, transloading locations, and container storage spaces to provide you with the best possible options to match your drayage service needs. We know that searching for quality service presents an added layer of complexity and stress to our customers. That's why we work hard to take that off your plate by connecting you with our reliable shipping partners.
With a background moving freight as an on-demand carrier, our founding partner understands how to maximize the resources and equipment of our carriers to match your needs.
Like other industries, the global logistics space is complex. Mistakes will be made, and problems will happen. With those truths in mind, RelyEx has built its reputation as problem solvers. Unlike other drayage companies, we don't shy away from this industry's complexities because we take pride in solving problems. Even better, we aim to do what's needed to avoid those problems altogether.
As your logistics partner, we will provide your company with accurate, transparent, and prompt communication. If there are unexpected issues, we'll notify you immediately and will provide several options to remedy the problem. We even offer custom reporting for large clients who need at-the-moment updates and quick access to shipment documentation.
Why let the unpredictability of your industry dictate your success? With a background working in manufacturing, our founders are familiar with the demands of managing production schedules and sales orders. That experience makes it abundantly clear to us that every business and industry is different. If you struggle with seasonal surges or other factors, our team supports your business with a mapped-out plan and schedule, so you stay ahead of the game.QUOTE REQUEST
Typically, shippers need four specific documents to clear shipments through customs: A Bill of Lading (or BOL), a commercial invoice, a packing list, and an arrival notice. Seasoned drayage brokers like RelyEx are used to preparing these documents, but new shippers tend to miss this step due to inexperience.
If a shipper only pays for part of their shipment, a vessel operator may refuse to release their freight until their bill is fully paid. Payment delays lead to cargo detention at the port of entry, which triggers demurrage charges.QUOTE REQUEST
Paperwork is needed when you're shipping goods with a drayage company. When documents like the Certificate of Origin or Bill of Lading arrive at their destination late, you can expect demurrage fees. RelyEx avoids this situation entirely by being proactive when submitting paperwork.
Additional causes for demurrage fees can include:
At RelyEx, we know first-hand how stressful supply chain problems can be for business owners. Though drayage shipping might seem minor on the surface, it affects every stage of your shipping process. And when inevitable hurdles manifest, RelyEx propels you over the proverbial roadblocks with a proactive mindset and a passion for challenging projects. We believe that all problems have a solution, and our unique vantage point allows us to provide first-hand solutions to customers in a wide array of industries.
When it comes to your business, don't settle for anything less than RelyEx. Contact our office today to learn more about how we make your shipping experience streamlined and stress-free.843-885-3082
The following is a curated roundup of weekend events in Long Beach published every Wednesday on the Hi-lo/Long Beach Post. Have an event to share? Email email@example.com with “Things to Do” in the subject line.In the spirit of celebrating the return of Long Beach’...
The following is a curated roundup of weekend events in Long Beach published every Wednesday on the Hi-lo/Long Beach Post. Have an event to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Things to Do” in the subject line.
In the spirit of celebrating the return of Long Beach’s premiere art festival, Long Beach Walls, this week’s list is a tad more arty than usual. We hope you don’t mind. We’ve got a couple exhibitions, one of which is hosting one for the first time, plus a tour of our city’s murals you can take on your bikes or skates.
For those who like to imbibe on the weekends, we’ve found a brewery tour and a drink-friendly boat party. And we’d be remiss in not mentioning the return of the 12th annual Uptown Jazz Festival in North Long Beach.
Get to scrollin’!
For the last three years, local artists have been convening at a Taco Bell in Bluff Heights for a couple of hours to draw, doodle and mingle with others. The event, called the Taco Bell Drawing Club, was inspired by a similar drawing event that originated in New York City by renowned artist Jason Polan in 2005.
When Nick Zegel, the club’s organizer, started the Long Beach iteration in 2020 after the death of Jason Polan, he soon realized that turning the one-off event into a weekly occurrence was something local artists appreciated and looked forward to. And now, some of the club’s regulars will be presenting their artwork in a public exhibition at Taco Bell on Wednesday, Aug. 16.
The works of fifteen local artists will be on display, plus whatever art people decide to create the night of the event (yes, drawing will still ensue). The evening will also include complimentary tacos and Baja Blast soda for guests who attend. The event is free and runs from 6-8 p.m. For more information, check out the Taco Bell Drawing Club Instagram here.
Find the event at the Bluff Heights Taco Bell at 3125 E. Broadway.
Mural and sculpture festival Art Renzei and Long Beach Walls are back this week with live art demonstrations, pop-ups and activations including a free mural tour on Thursday, Aug. 17.
Pedal Movement, the organizers behind the evening bike ride event Moonlight Mash, are coordinating a 4-mile cycling tour that will guide guests around Long Beach to check out some of the murals being painted as well as murals created from past Long Beach Walls (formerly POW! WOW! Long Beach) festivals.
The tour is free to attend. Meet-up is at GoActiveLB Hub in Downtown at 5 p.m. Guests are welcome to ride bikes or skate. Click here for more information and to RSVP.
GoActiveLB Hub is at 223 E. First St.
Trademark Brewing is throwing open its taproom to the public on Thursday, Aug. 17, for a behind-the-scenes look at the workings of the brewery that also includes a taste of some of their popular pours.
Led by one of Trademark’s production staff, guests will take a private tour of their production facility and learn how they make their flavorful brews. Afterwards, the group will get to try a pre-curated beer flight featuring five different beers from their taplist.
Tickets to the event cost $25. Guests must be 21 or older to attend and wear close-toed shoes while viewing the space. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.
Trademark Brewing is at 233 E. Anaheim St.
A popular sea-faring music event that brings premier DJs and nightclub energy to a sunny voyage on the seas is closing out its party season in Long Beach on Saturday, Aug. 19.
Saturday’s Space Yacht party will be shipping out of the Long Beach shoreline with four hours of live music, drinks and fun. As they tend to do, Space Yacht’s lineup is secret, but the music event is known for pulling quality talent onto the bill.
Tickets for the Space Yacht start at $60. Must be 21 or older to attend. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.
Space Yacht will ship out of Catalina Cruises at 1046 Queens Highway.
North Long Beach’s entertainment highlight of the year, the Uptown Jazz Festival, is returning for its 12th year to Houghton Park on Saturday, Aug. 19, with a food, vendors, a beer garden and music all day long.
This year’s headliner is American Funk band, The Original Lakeside, whose hit R&B song “Fantastic Voyage” rocked the charts in 1980. The festival will also feature sets from DW3, Biscuits & Gravy, DJ Mr. Quick and Los Chicos Del Mambo.
The festival is from 2-7 p.m. and is free to attend. Click here for more information.
Houghton Park is at 6301 Myrtle Ave.
The Long Beach Creative Group is teaming up with the Long Beach Open Studio Tour organization to present a unique preview exhibition as a kickstarter of sorts to the annual tours that start in fall.
On Saturday, Aug. 19, locals can check out the works of 50 artists, many of whom can be visited during the Long Beach Open Studio Tour later in the year. Guests will see a wide variety of art, from paintings to mixed media and photography to ceramics—there’s plenty to see.
The exhibition will be at the Rod Briggs/Long Beach Creative Group Gallery until Sept. 16. Viewing hours are Friday – Sunday from 1-4 p.m. For more information, click here.
The Rod Briggs/Long Beach Creative Group Gallery is at 2221 E. Broadway.
A new pinball tournament, sponsored by Pinball Wizards, a Paramount-based organization that aims to build community around the classic game of pinball, is hosting an open pinball tournament at I Need A Miracle Tickets on Sunday, Aug. 20.
Players will go head-to-head against other players to compete for prizes and, of course, bragging rights. The tournament is free to enter unless you’re an IFPA member, then it costs $10. Click here for more information and to RSVP.
I Need A Miracle Tickets is at 5541 E. Spring St.
After starting the process in 2019, Louie’s on 2nd will finally officially open on Friday, Aug. 25, on Second Street in Belmont Shore.The restaurant, which will bring a version of the Garden Grove mainstay to Long Beach, will have a modern design, outdoor and indoor seating, a 10-12 seat bar, a banquet booth with about six tables, and serve different lunch and dinner menus.It’s been a long process for the Tavlarides family to get the restaur...
After starting the process in 2019, Louie’s on 2nd will finally officially open on Friday, Aug. 25, on Second Street in Belmont Shore.
The restaurant, which will bring a version of the Garden Grove mainstay to Long Beach, will have a modern design, outdoor and indoor seating, a 10-12 seat bar, a banquet booth with about six tables, and serve different lunch and dinner menus.
It’s been a long process for the Tavlarides family to get the restaurant open, as the pandemic halted the world for months in the middle of their work to open their Long Beach location.
“Anyone who’s built a building, or has done any sort of commercial construction, or even remodeled a bathroom in their house will understand exactly the issues that were put in front of us,” Chris Tavlarides, who has been involved in the day-to-day operations of the restaurant, said. “Just multiply that times a 3,000-square-foot building in the heart of Belmont Shore.”
The building has been owned by the family for several years, and after the space opened up, they considered renting it to another tenant but ultimately decided to open a second restaurant. The space was previous occupied by Acapulco Inn.
For residents familiar with Orange County, they may recognize the name from its sister restaurant, Louie’s on Main in Garden Grove, which the family has owned since 1953.
The Garden Grove location is a pub and grill, with an extensive beer, wine, and spirits list but a somewhat limited menu due to its smaller space and a different look from the new restaurant.
“There’s a lot more neutral tones like greens, blues, whites and blacks” at the Belmont Shore location, Tavlarides said. “It’s definitely elevated to match the street and the clientele on the street.”
A couple elements will be brought over from Garden Grove, like some lunch items that are the most popular at the other location, but at 4 p.m. every day, there will be a completely different dinner menu.
Executive chef Michael Sandi put together a dinner menu that will offer small sharing plates, salads, entrées and dessert. There will also be larger portion entrées with pork shank, roasted chicken, steaks and pastas.
“It was a struggle of a project,” Tavlarides said. “We kept pushing and we’re almost there, so we’re excited about that.”
The restaurant will take part in Belmont Shore’s Stroll & Savor on Wednesday, Aug. 16, and Thursday, Aug. 17, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., where guests can trade tickets for bites of food. Louie’s will offer garlic noodles, roasted drumsticks, croissant bread pudding and nonalcoholic cocktails, according to the Stroll and Savor website.
On Friday and Saturday this week, the restaurant will host a soft opening for lunch with discounted menu items. Next week, on from Tuesday, Aug. 22, until the grand opening on Friday, there will be a full soft opening. The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on both days with discounted food items and no reservations.
Louie’s on 2nd is located at 5283 Second St.
Pepperoni pizza has long been a quintessential American comfort food, and the gospel of its cheesy-spicy flavor profile is sung far and wide. But for those who abstain from eating animal products, finding a vegan substitute is often a fool’s errand—especially in Long Beach.In 2020, Paul Reese and his wife Andrada Groseanu sought to remedy that after they found themselves nearly tempted by a pepperoni pizza left on the dining room table by a roommate.“‘Oh my gosh, that looks so good,’” Reese r...
Pepperoni pizza has long been a quintessential American comfort food, and the gospel of its cheesy-spicy flavor profile is sung far and wide. But for those who abstain from eating animal products, finding a vegan substitute is often a fool’s errand—especially in Long Beach.
In 2020, Paul Reese and his wife Andrada Groseanu sought to remedy that after they found themselves nearly tempted by a pepperoni pizza left on the dining room table by a roommate.
“‘Oh my gosh, that looks so good,’” Reese recalled thinking.
So, they hopped online, determined to find a place in Long Beach that could deliver a vegan alternative, but failed to find any options.
“That is crazy,” Reese remembers saying. “There’s like over half a million people in this city. And I can’t get a vegan pepperoni pizza, let alone just a good vegan pizza at all? I looked at her and was like, ‘Let’s do it ourselves.’”
This fall, Long Beach Vegan Pizza—a beloved pop-up since 2020—will officially move off the sidewalk and into a brick-and-mortar under a new moniker and concept: MangiaFoglie.
That’s pronounced maun-gea-foli-yay, and it translates to leaf eater, Reese said.
Reese and his business partner Daniel Vesely will open MangiaFoglie, at 2300 E. Fourth St., where Portfolio Coffeehouse operated for more than three decades.
“No pressure, right?” Reese laughed.
Doors will open at 7 a.m. with coffee and pastry offerings. At 11:30, lunch service will have a variety of items like panuozzo, an Italian street-food sandwich. Then, the eatery will close at 3 p.m. and reopen at 5 p.m. for a proper Italian dinner service: appetizers, salads, a la carte pasta—plus beer and wine.
That includes, of course, the wood-fired vegan Neapolitan-style pizza that Reese and his wife once delivered out of their home during the days of lockdown.
“I’ll be honest with you, I have no cooking experience. I’ve never worked back of house before. I’ve only worked as a server, but I learned to cook from selling food,” he said, adding that he’s worked for Michelin-starred restaurants and their chefs.
Back in 2020, Reese and his wife, who both share a background in the restaurant industry, quickly assembled everything they needed to launch Long Beach Vegan Pizza. From October to May of that year, on their busiest nights, they would sell 40 to 50 pizzas, prepped in a small room in their home and fired in the backyard within four ovens Reese built himself.
But everything came to a screeching halt when Reese’s grandmother decided to sell the home they’d been living in.
By early 2022, Reese was managing a coffee shop in Hollywood, where he made pretty decent money, but Long Beach Vegan Pizza still tugged at him.
“I just always felt like it wasn’t done—’This isn’t how it’s supposed to end,’” Reese said. “So I quit the coffee shop and I bought basically all I needed to do pop-ups.”
Soon after, Reese would get a job at the Hi-lo Liquor Market in Downtown, where he still works and sets up his pizza pop-up each week.
Vesely entered the picture just a few months later, after trying Reese’s pizza at Beachwood Brewing. In disbelief that Reese’s pies were vegan, he was quick to partner up with Reese to help him invest in his vision.
“I already know what space I want,” Reese told Vesely.
The pair hope to open new doors to the long-darkened Retro Row location in November, where Reese will offer the plant-based pies that got him here.
“You would be amazed at the guidelines set forward to be considered Neapolitan pizza,” Reese said. “So, we’re ‘Neapolitan-style’ pizza, because none of those guidelines say things can be plant-based.”
San Marzano tomatoes, Caputo yeast, double-zero flour imported from Italy—sans mozzarella di bufala, Reese’s pizza checks off every other Neapolitan requirement for pizza.
Reese makes his own vegan cheese and meats.
“Right now, we’re just doing mozzarella, because I’m a one-man show,” he said. “The base of it is silken tofu, refined coconut oil, white miso, salt, lemon juice, carrageenan—essentially dehydrated seaweed.”
As for the pepperoni, that’s made out of seitan. Then, for added visual detail, a small amount tofu is used to mimic the fat deposits of real pepperoni.
And MangiaFoglie’s menu will offer more cuisine from the region of Campania—especially that of Naples, the Amalfi coast and the island of Capri.
The name MangiaFoglie—a tribute to leaf eaters—is apropos for multiple reasons.
The term “is actually what the people of Naples were called in the 17th century, because their diets were so heavily based off of plants and vegetables.”
MangiaFoglie will offer menu items that non-vegans will be familiar with—like the pork and fennel-stuffed tortellini or squid ink pasta.
“And we’re using activated charcoal to basically be our squid ink,” he said. “And we’re using vegan caviar and roe. So it’ll be very familiar to someone who is not plant-based, being able to sit down and see words, ingredients that they’re used to.”
While Reese’s plans to continue his mission of bringing quality plant-based food to Long Beach and beyond, he doesn’t want his customers to pigeonhole MangiaFoglie as plant-based mimicry of Italian cuisine.
“I’m not cooking from a vegan perspective, and I feel like one of my huge goals and one of the biggest undertakings for me is to break the negative stigma that people have against veganism,” he said. “The fact of the matter is that it’s good food—oh, and by the way, it’s also plant-based.”
Going forward, Vesely and Reese will keep the acronym LBVP, but Long Beach Vegetables and Plants will become the name of Reese and Vesely’s new restaurant group. Together, they aim to open several more plant-based restaurants in Long Beach, something Reese feels the city has long lacked.
But Reese dreams of much more than bringing quality plaint-based food to Long Beach. He wants to offer opportunities to the community and to inspire others.
In 2020, “when we started hiring people, I was like, ‘Man, I’m giving people jobs in the community.’ … And it felt good,” he said, becoming emotional.
“Just being able to have a good meal is far and few between for a lot of people, so if we can, from our success, level out the playing field and give more opportunities for those who don’t have it—that’s a win for me.”
The next Long Beach Vegan Pizza pop-up will be at the Hi-lo Liquor Market at 707 E. Ocean Blvd. on Wednesday, Aug. 16, from 5 to 9 p.m.
The Long Beach City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to join other cities and agencies that are opposing a statewide ballot measure that could tighten how state, county and city governments can implement new taxes and fees.The Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act will be on the November 2024 ballot, and city officials say that it has the potential to shrink the city’s budget by limiting how it assesses fees and fines.If the measure passes, at the state level, it would require any new tax adopted by the s...
The Long Beach City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to join other cities and agencies that are opposing a statewide ballot measure that could tighten how state, county and city governments can implement new taxes and fees.
The Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act will be on the November 2024 ballot, and city officials say that it has the potential to shrink the city’s budget by limiting how it assesses fees and fines.
If the measure passes, at the state level, it would require any new tax adopted by the state Legislature to also be put to voters before it could go into effect, rather than giving lawmakers the final say, as was the case with the controversial “gas tax” that was signed into law in 2017.
The changes under the proposed law would require two-thirds of both houses in the state Legislature to approve new taxes and then would need a majority of the state’s voters to also approve it.
Locally, officials say it would require “special taxes,” those dedicated to specific purposes like homelessness, to pass by a two-thirds vote, and cities could face increased scrutiny over fees and fines and would have to prove they’re set at the lowest possible cost. That could open the city to potential lawsuits, officials said.
“That is part of the reason why we’ve been recommending that the city oppose this ballot measure, based on the fact that it would potentially reduce city revenue streams and our local flexibility in terms of dealing with the financing of public services,” said Tyler Bonanno-Curley, the city’s manager of government affairs.
Councilmember Al Austin said this was not a “protection” act and it posed a threat to public safety and the city’s future if it passes.
“This is a real threat to our plans over the next five years, said Councilmember Al Austin. “This infrastructure plan, Elevate 28, it doesn’t happen if this passes.”
The proposed budget revealed earlier this month featured the “Elevate 28” investment plan, which includes a slew of new projects the city hopes to complete in advance of the 2028 Olympics.
The plan—along with the five-year infrastructure plan revealed last year that totals nearly $750 million, which is projected to be funded by state, county and city funds—could be in jeopardy if the ballot measure succeeds.
Mayor Rex Richardson said opposing the bill was a “no-brainer.”
“I think local governments have had an expanded role over time, and it’s been very difficult to sustain our operations, and we have to be able to have flexibility,” Richardson said. “I think this is yet another attack on our ability to fund basic services, and this is not the right time given the challenges that Long Beach has coming down.”
Long Beach is facing budget deficits in the coming years that could total $38.6 million over the next three years, according to the city’s most recent estimates. During that time, the city could have to deal with the loss of oil revenue, which has propped up the city’s annual spending plans by providing tens of millions of dollars that the city uses to pay for services and projects along the coast.
Voters will also get to decide how fast the city’s oil production phases out in 2024. While the city has projected that oil production will end by 2035 in Long Beach, Senate Bill 1137, which is on the November ballot as a referendum vote, could accelerate that.
The bill created 3,200-foot health and safety buffers from new oil production, and the city has previously said that over half of its wells are in those buffer zones. If the referendum vote fails and SB 1137 is upheld by voters, Long Beach has projected that it could cost the city as much as $20 million per year.
Meanwhile, the City Council will wait to chime in on another proposed law that would raise wages for health care workers statewide.
Anyone who passed by Micah Bournes’ childhood home, depending on the time and day, would hear either his mother singing gospel songs, his sisters playing Mariah Carrey, or his brothers bumping hip-hop.“There was always music playing in my house,” said Bournes, a poet and musician born and raised in Long Beach.It’s apparent that the diverse music influences Bournes grew up with had an impact on his creative career from the way his work jumps from genre to genre, releasing albums of folk, blues and hip-hop...
Anyone who passed by Micah Bournes’ childhood home, depending on the time and day, would hear either his mother singing gospel songs, his sisters playing Mariah Carrey, or his brothers bumping hip-hop.
“There was always music playing in my house,” said Bournes, a poet and musician born and raised in Long Beach.
It’s apparent that the diverse music influences Bournes grew up with had an impact on his creative career from the way his work jumps from genre to genre, releasing albums of folk, blues and hip-hop songs, as well as spoken-word poetry set to music.
At the same time his brothers were familiarizing him with rap and hip-hop, there were multiple Long Beach locals making a name for themselves in those genres. Bournes would rap along to their lyrics, his young voice becoming accustomed to the cadence of rap.
“Being from Long Beach, I had so much pride at the time of me growing up,” Bournes said. “A lot of the most famous rappers in hip-hop were from our city, you know? That was dope, to see like Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, Warren G, all these cats, they’re rapping about places that I’m familiar with.”
Bournes’ newest album, “De-Tox,” is a message to his teenage self, and uses rap and hip-hop to unpack many of the toxic ideas he learned from those same genres as a boy. He said that although there is misogyny in many music genres, hip-hop was how he was personally introduced to unhealthy ideas about women and masculinity.
“Every single song on that album, my audience is teenage Micah, like 15-16 years old, walking around thinking cripping was cool,” Bournes said. “Like, how did that kid think about women? How did that kid think about guns or what it meant to be strong, both physically and spiritually, what it means to be a leader? What does 16-year-old Micah think it means to be a man?”
While Bournes played around with writing love poems in high school, he didn’t seriously start writing his own work until his freshman year of college in Chicago, when a friend interested in music production asked him to help make songs for practice. Bournes would rap over beats they downloaded from the internet, and his friend would polish and produce the final version.
“I just find the poetry all around me, I find the music all around me. As cliche as it is to say ‘stop and smell the roses,’ it’s true.”Micah Bournes
After showing their peers the finished product, the positive feedback they received encouraged Bournes to pursue music.
In his junior year of college, Bournes came back to visit his hometown. During his trip, a friend drove him out to LA to watch his first spoken word poetry open mic. Bournes was intrigued by the art form, and sought out similar events once he was back in Chicago.
Bournes describes the Chicago spoken word scene as being more cutthroat than the local scene here, but it’s what pushed him to grow as a poet.
“They booed you off stage if you was wack,” Bournes said. “You’ve got to come with it. And so it was different from like, ‘Oh, you know, like, thanks for being brave.’ It’s like if you wack, we’re gonna pull you off stage, but we don’t want you to stop. We want you to come back next week with a better poem. And so growing up as a poet in the Chicago scene, I feel really made me sharper, very quick, because it was like, ‘Yo, I’m either gonna get good or I’m gonna cry and quit.’”
Bournes strives to live life at a slower speed while deeply observing his surroundings, which in turn inspires his music and poetry.
“I don’t find anything more or less inspiring than anything else,” Bournes said. “I’ve written poems about the most random things […] a woman’s foot, a bottle of shampoo. […] My eyes are open and I’m listening. I’m looking, I ask a lot of questions. I’m a very curious person. And I just find the poetry all around me, I find the music all around me. As cliche as it is to say ‘stop and smell the roses,’ it’s true.”
His spoken word poem “Normal Hair” was inspired by a shower he took at a white friend’s home, where he noticed a shampoo bottle that was labeled as being for “normal hair.”
“My hair was normal to me. Like what does this even mean?” Bournes recalled thinking at the time. “I said, ‘Oh, that’s weird’ and just took a shower and kept pushing, but I got out the shower, and I kept thinking about it. And I was like, ‘With all the different hair types and textures in the world, how can any shampoo be labeled for normal hair? What does that even mean?’”
“So I ended up writing this poem really about white supremacy, and how it’s kind of an insult in both directions, because to the people it’s formulated for it says your hair is just normal and regular and average and boring. And for the people who don’t have that type of hair, it says your hair is some type of abnormality. It just doesn’t even make sense,” Bournes said.
Bournes is working on a new book of poetry about love and grief titled “Stay.” He also provides guidance for others looking to create their own poetry and music, either online or in-person, for $60 an hour.
“My hope is that I am courageous enough to create something honest,” Bournes said. “And I believe no matter what I create, some people will love it. Some people will hate it. Some people will be indifferent, shoulder shrug. Some people will be challenged by it. Some people will be healed from it.”