Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry 1 (DVD)
From the makers of Russell Simmons's Def Comedy Jam, comes an all-new series that showcases practitioners of one of the country's fastest-rising performing art forms - def poetry - in an intimate, uncensored format. Taped live at The Supper Club in New York, Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry is hosted by popular rap artist Mos Def, and spotlights original material performed by contemporary urban poets and well-known music/comedy artists.
Produced by Russell Simmons and hosted by Mos Def, this groundbreaking HBO series presents poetry for the hip-hop generation. The setting is New York's Supper Club, the performers are young men and women of every hue, and the tools are words: angry, funny--even profane--words. Taped live, each of the four 30-minute episodes from the first season features several poets and a guest or two (from the fiery Last Poets to the out-of-her-element Jewel). This isn't your grandma's traditional verse, but rather slam poetry--or spoken word--as influenced by Public Enemy as Langston Hughes and the evening news. Some are powerful (see Suheir Hammad), some clever (Sarah Jones), and some irritating (Yellow Rage), but each poem is sure to provoke some
kind of reaction. Def Poetry
would go on to beget a world tour, a Peabody Award and, in its Broadway incarnation, a Tony for best theatrical event. --Kathleen C. Fennessy