Karness Turner Jr. was born and raised in Long
Beach, California to an African American father and a Caucasian mother. At age 11, he wrote his first poem called
“Abandoned”, when he began to look up words in the dictionary that sounded like
they would make good poem titles. He
never made it to the “B” section of the dictionary, and therefore his first 13
poems begin with the letter “A”. Karness published his first poem “Of A
Diamond” at age 16 in his High Schools Magazine, which gave him the confidence
to propel forward with poetry. He eventually lead Millikan High School to their
first all-city poetry slam Championship in 2003, and published his first book
“Poetic Eyes” later that year at age 18.
Karness moved with his mother to Chicago on May
24th, 2004 at age 19, and while in Chicago, published his second
poetry book “Convictions of a Stubborn Mind” in late 2004, and his 3rd
poetry book, “Cry Through My Inkpen” in 2005. While in Chicago, he joined the
local poetry group “3 Brothers and a Mic (3BM), and while with 3BM, released
his 1st poetry album “14 Signatures”. He also was selected to compete in the
National Poetry Slam for Team Palatine in 2006.
Karness joined the Christian Poetry Collective
“Spoken Life Project” alongside Preston Perry, Kevin Perry, Itohan Osaigbovo,
Glenn and Michelle Perry in 2009, a group that was instrumental in helping
foster his voice as a Christian Poet. In late 2009, Karness became renowned
when the Passion 4 Christ Movement released his poem “Does Anybody Know You’re
a Christian” on Youtube. He joined P4CM
as an honorary artist in early 2010, with P4CM releasing additional videos of
his work, including “The Biggest Loser”, and “Sarah”. Since 2009, Karness has
traveled across the country ministering and teaching poetry, performing or
teaching in 37 of the 50 states in the USA.
In 2011, Karness’ world was rocked, suffering
the loss of 11 family members and closed loved ones within a 6 month span,
including the death of his Uncle Leslie, his good friend Sean Thomas, his brother
Melvin, and most notably, his mother, Renee.
Three days after his mother’s funeral, he was excommunicated from his
church home, and in subsequent months, lost his career, prized personal and
family possessions, and has since battled a diagnosis of severe depression and
Despite being diagnosed with various mental
illnesses, Karness began to rebound in 2013, when he released his poem “Coming
Out The Closet” and in 2014, was nominated as a finalist for his first National
Poetry Award for Faith-Based Artist Of The Year. Karness currently serves as a
National Ambassador for True Voices, and does various independent consulting
for artists and artistic companies around the country. He is also launching his
online website “HUM Nation” in 2015, which will serve as a one-stop shop for
all things Christian Poetry related.
In his lifetime, Karness has written over 2,500
poems. He credits his faith in God for helping to sustain him throughout his
personal life and artistic career, and credits his friends and mentors, too
many of which to name, for his success along the way. He hopes his life and
work leaves a legacy for all generations to be inspired by.
His goal in life, is simply to, and has always
been, to make his mother proud.