Brian “SuperB” Oliva is an accomplished writer and spoken word artist, with a touch of r&b and soul. He has featured at countless venues and was the co-host and one of the founding fathers of the Inland Empire’s most successful performance venues, Urbane Culture. He is the 2009 and 2010 Inland Empire Grand Slam Champion and a member of the 2009 and 2010 I.E Empire Mind State National Slam Team. In 2012 he appeared on TV1’s Poetry and Music series Verses and Flow – Season 2 as one of the featured poets. Most recently, he was recognized by the Ontario Montclair school district for outstanding service to arts in education. Through his love of the art and community, he travels as a performer, advocate, and mentor, sharing and conducting workshops to enrich the art.
As SuperB continues to touch souls through his poetry and serve God faithfully, we were curious as to “how” and “when” both religion and words found their way into his life, so here is his story.
I was introduced to God long before I could write. The concept of a sustainer of the universe and creator of all things was; for some reason easier to understand as a child. I grew up in a Catholic household. Church every Sunday, rosaries , alter boy, baptism , first communion , confirmation- I met God before I had friends.
When I was 17 the priest at my church asked if I would consider being a priest. I told him I would pray about it, but I was open to anything. The priest sent me to a theology school in Ohio for a month. During that trip I learned more about Catholicism, faith, and God than in my first 17 years of life. Upon my return, the priest asked if I was ready to start the process of becoming a priest and my response was, ” I don’t think I’m Catholic, let alone know God or His plan,” which led to me leaving the Catholic Church and starting the craziest next 4 years of my life: church hopping, religion learning, dissecting my faith and God. I rebelled, refocused, mixed ideologies, and ultimately entered into a relationship with God.
I started writing poetry when I was 18. I saw my first spoken word piece on the tv show, Night at the Apollo and immediately I was hooked, spending the next few years learning the culture of spoken word. I was writing to be creative, to earn respect, and to say I was relevant in the art.
The next stage was learning to be honest in my story, and lastly was the opportunity to realize the power in my voice. Some people had posted some of my videos on YouTube and the comments people were leaving me were so affirming that I knew God was blessing me with a gift to communicate through this art. I had no clue my story was so relevant to so many others sharing similar backgrounds. It wasn’t always easy to talk about God in my poetry. It definitely wasn’t easy to talk about my faith. God took over my art and turned a hobby into not only a way to sustain myself financially, but most importantly to build relationships with people and spread the good news of the gospel.
The way poetry has become a vehicle to express my faith, is that it’s given me the confidence to speak about beliefs in the most creative way my brain knows how. Spoken word has enabled me to speak to strangers in rooms built for stories, divine appointments created to build the kingdom. This is my story.