Chicago youth poet Malcom London breaks down the cycling patterns of the survival of the fittest mentality within the schooling system in this spoken word piece entitled “High School Training Ground.” As noted by the folks at TED Talks Education, “he tells of the ‘oceans of adolescence’ who come to school ‘but never learn to swim,’ of ‘masculinity mimicked by men who grew up with no fathers.’”
Watch Malcolm London’s compelling performance of ”High School Training Ground.”
Photo by Quintessential E
“How many deaths will it take, before this is considered genocide?”
In 2009, HBO ran an inspiring, documentary-series entitled Russel Simmons Presents Brave New Voices that followed the journey of six diverse teams of teenagers, as they prepared for a national poetry slam competition held in Washington D.C.
The new generation of poets penned pieces that would leave lasting impressions—one in particular, entitled “Lost Count: A Love Story” by Chicago teens Nate Marshall & Demetrius Amparan. “Lost Count: A Love Story” is a chilling, spoken word poem that reflects on the escalating gun violence in Chicago. Fast forward four years later and the message in this piece sadly remains relevant today, with the latest victim being 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins, who was shot 5 times. R.I.P.
Watch Nate Marshall & Demetrius Amparan perform“Lost Count: A Love Story” below.
Poet Miles Hodges performed his piece entitled “From Head to Toe” at Love, Sweat and Tears: The Strivers Row Valentine’s Day Show, along with the sounds of André 3000′s “Prototype” by Brooklyn-based songbird Bridget Barkan.
Watch Miles Hodges “From Head to Toe” performance below.
Spoken word artist Missterious Janette…ikz, hailing from California, addresses the issues of sexual abuse by revealing her personal account in this powerful video for Pure Path‘s series called 13 Floor.
When you enter the elevator of a high rise building you will seldom find the button for the 13th floor. It’s because of fear, superstition, or ignorance, that we pretend it doesn’t exist. The “13th floor” issues of abortion, sexual abuse, sex trafficking, and the sanctity of human life have become a widely unrecognized reality, accompanied by a basic fear of people, to honestly address these issues.
Watch Missterious Janette…ikz’s poem on sexual abuse below.
Zora Howard, a poet/actress hailing from Harlem, NY and currently studying comparative literature at Yale University, recites her piece titled “Walking” for Soul Features x The Strivers Row‘s collaborative poetry series in London.
He meant to say, “I never met a lyrical goddess
That uses hyphens and haikus
To prove that really God is.
I thought Nefertiti was dead
And never wanted to believe in queens
Except queen bees like Lil’ Kim
Watch her performance of “Walking” below.
Meet Kioni “Popcorn” Marshall, an extraordinary 12-year-old poet from the Bronx. Despite her age, Kioni has earned the respect and admiration of the NYC poetry community by developing her own unique voice and bravely exploring mature themes like alienation, abandonment, loneliness, and abuse. Follow Kioni’s emotional journey as she prepares for her first featured performance at New York’s famed Nuyorican Poets Cafe.
Set to Miles Davis‘ “Recollections,” Brooklyn native poet Aja Monet, who now resides in Paris, France, recites her piece “What I’ve Learned” in this Cam Be-directed video. The footage was shot at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and various places in NY by Cam Be and Aja Monet herself.
Chris Dean‘s life is the epitome of Tupac’s poem, “The Rose that Grew From Concrete.” He grew up in one of the toughest areas of South Memphis where a lot of people make it in, but few successfully make it out. Emmy-award winning filmmaker/photojournalist Alan Spearman and cinematographer Mark Adams teamed up with Chris to record a montage of images that took eight weeks to shot, in order to capture the essence of his neighborhood in this powerful short film entitled As I Am. Watch the film above as Chris recites his poetic piece by the same name of this film.
Synopsis: Chris is an observer and philosopher who has always had a few things to say about life from his vantage point in South Memphis. This film floats through this remarkable young man’s landscape, revealing the lives that have shaped his world. Poetic and powerful imagery, captured by Spearman and cinematographer Mark Adams, combines with the young philosopher’s trenchant observations about life.
SN: The young boy at the end of the film has so much soul.