Photos by Jason McCoy Photography
The day may be cold but the vibes were warm as I met Harold Green III at the South Loop, black-owned coffee shop, Overflow Coffee.
Already present once I arrived, Green greeted me with a smile and comfortable vibe, ready for whatever questions I was sure to throw his way.
Green is the embodiment of a classic man who lives to preserve black culture, black family and black artistry. Talking with the former educator turned full-time “curator of cool” as I called him, was like meeting the big brother you wanted your entire life.
His presence demands respect. Dressed like a true Chicagoan, ‘skully’ right and beard tight, I knew we were set for a wonderful conversation on life, love and his pursuit of dopeness.
A ‘Florist’ Helping Others to Bloom
I am someone that looks for every opportunity to help someone grow. I consider myself a florist. I use this term because I fertilize the ground in all the spaces I exist in. I recognize my gift is to help people bloom in a special way. Whether it be collaborating with other artists, coaching, mentoring or fatherhood, I believe that I am here to help those in my circumference. My responsibility as a florist is classic and will never go out of style, says Green.
As a “curator of cool,” Harold Green III gifts the living — that’s us — with indescribable experiences and moments like his latest event series, “Conversations at Sophy” in addition to “Flowers for the Living.”
Green states, I have people tell me all the time that they enjoy seeing me “be” in these spaces because I am settled in the joy and laughter of good company and connection. I have an insatiable desire to stand out. I ask myself, what can I curate that’s unique enough that people want to come back? I’m always looking for distinctive ways to attach to people because the human connection and sentiment at its core are what I’m trying to reach. It’s important to me to create spaces where like parted individuals can connect.
A Light for Poetry, Rhythm and Healing
As a true poet, Green lives a disciplined life as it is how he remains authentically rooted to serve as a florist.
Poetry is journalism for the feelings. Poetry, when done well, is about human feelings. Poetry is a great way of collecting data on the heart. Poetry has a way of finding its way to the darker side of things and the darker feelings that we possess. With my platform, I want to shine a light on the rhythm of poetry. I believe that human beings deal with the frequency of rhythm, and if you tap into the right rhythm you can unlock some things that were closed up before.
For many, Art serves as the basis of healing. However, Harold Green III remains solid in healing through love, kindness and words of affirmation. “While I don’t have a lot of things I’m healing from, I’ve been blessed enough to recognize what I seek to be above all is serve as a healer. Not in a Christ-like nature but more relational. I desire to show our community that Art has the ability to help us see the beautiful things this world has to offer. With this gift, I seek to open hearts and create a bond.”
A Voice for Family, Community and His City
As a multifaceted voice in the city of Chicago, Green continues to lean into his own genius by authoring several books which include, “Black Roses,” “Black Oak” and now two children’s books which become available on May 2 entitled, “The Numbers Store” and “The Rainbow Park.”
When asked if authorship was the goal, he said, I always knew I wanted my work to be spread vastly, whether that meant wide distribution through music, literature or television. I knew I wanted to tap into all markets if I could. Representation is important and being in a children’s space is necessary. To see the presence of a present Black man, tattooed with a creative background, interacting with his family is needed so that it can be modeled. I count it as an honor to represent in all these spaces.
As Green approaches his 20th year of artistry, he reflects on the joy that comes when you don’t quit on yourself. In the same lane, while he reflects on the connectedness of artistry and the beauty of thriving, Harold begins to smile when asked the question of finding community amongst brethren as a black man. “I’m just a curator, period. My friendships and lifestyle are very curated. It’s important to me that those I have in my circle have the same energy. I have a group text with my guys and weekly we affirm one another in love and light. I wrote about these brothas in Black Oak. The way I carry myself, people know that nonsense is not accepted nor tolerated and I’ve curated my life in such a way I don’t have a problem finding like-minded brothas that I saw modeled by my father.”
Preserving the black family is engraved in Harold’s DNA. As a father and a husband, he takes pride in leading by example and adds…it’s about maintaining the proper example in all spaces. This includes my children seeing me love their mother, loving them as children, loving the community and loving our people. Love is preservation and if we show proper examples of how to love, then the black family continues to thrive.
This Englewood native gets it and continues to push our culture forward as a thought leader.
Be sure to support his current and upcoming work here.