Russell Simmons Presents Brave New Voices;One part Def Poetry Jam and two-parts documentary

After a successful 6 season production of Def Poetry Jam, a poetry TV show that was produced by Russell Simmons, hosted by Mos Def and aired on HBO prime time, Russell is at it again. This time round, not hosting seasoned poets and internationally renown celebrities but instead, now going to the grassroots and picking young but talented teen poets and spoken word artists from all over the US.

One part Def Poetry Jam and two-parts documentary, Brave New Voices is a new late night series that features the finest young spoken word artists in the country. They ride along as teenage poets from San Francisco, Philadelphia, New York, Santa Fe, Honolulu and Ann Arbor prepare to compete in the Brave New Voices National Poetry Slam Finals.
Brave New Voices sheds light onto this largely unseen world, putting an honest spotlight on some of the most dynamic young adults in the country.
The Brave New Voices (BNV) spoken word festival was held in Washington, DC, just three months before the presidential election. In the shadow of the White House, America’s youth challenged each other with words and ideas.
For four outspoken days in July 2008, over 500 talented teen poets and spoken word artists from teams around the country and world faced off for top honors at this grand youth poetry slam.
They came from urban, rural and suburban areas, from the Deep South, Native American reservations, Alaska, Hawaii and college towns. Their backgrounds were diverse, yet they shared a passion for opening minds and hearts.
For many of the poets, the BNV festival was an eye-opening, life-changing experience. They left their family, got on a plane, performed in front of a crowd of thousands and found new opportunities for growth and friendship beyond borders.
And one team rose above the rest to become the 2008 National Youth Slam Poetry Champion.

The TV show; Russell Simmons presents Brave New Voices, premiers on 5th April Sundays at 11pm ET/PT on HBO(this is when I wish I was in the US, just for this).

I hope a DVD can come out soon for those of us who can’t tune our TVs to the HBO frequency but would love to see how Poetry is being used as a tool for change in the youth. Makes me wonder if there will ever be a local TV channel brave enough invest in Kenyan Poetry.

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Showcasing the best in Kenyan Arts;Music,writing,Poetry,fine art and art reviews as well as info on emerging art trends. “Art is not about thinking something up. It is the opposite…getting something down.”