Camil Williams is a recent transplant from Chicago just trying to settle into the Atlanta vibe. As a world traveler and troubadour, she is more than experienced in her art. I’m putting emphasis on the word ‘art’, because Williams is more than just a poet, she is an artistic powerhouse and renaissance woman.
She has performed and presented art workshops at a host of conferences, high schools, and universities; locally and abroad, as part of the women centered activist-performance duo, AquaMoon. Using Hip Hop Feminism as a tool for creating awareness and dialogue on issues that marginalize and affect women of color, the duo co-authored several choreopoems, including Love Does Not Hurt and Aqua Beats and Moon Verses Vol. I.
Williams has also authored and released her debut, Butta to Fly: a collection of poetry, art and music (2007). Her artworks have been featured in the Ascend: Live Art and Jazz Showcase and the Humboldt Park Art Exhibit in Chicago. She’s appeared in several short and full-length films, including The Lies We Tell and Secrets We Keep and the hit web series, Between Women. She also writes and produces music for commercials, films and stage productions.
Tommy Bottoms is a fire-starter in the Spoken Word community. Maybe “fire-starter” is putting it nicely, but with connections throughout the Spoken community and poetry that is both entertaining and mind-opening, no one can deny the work that he has put into his craft.
As co-host ofThe Ugly Truth Radio, perennial performer for BET’s Lyric Cafe and Russell Simmons presents… Def Poetry Jam, and writer/producer ofEducated Gangster 101, Bottoms is a veteran of the Spoken Word scene and ongoing innovator.
His skills have taken him throughout the United States to universities such as Morehouse College, Tuskegee University, and Auburn University, as well as abroad to London’s Theatre Royal Stratford East. His work has brought him in contact with Spoken Word greats like Amir Sulaiman, Queen Sheba, Malik Salaam, and Jon Goode. Tommy Bottoms has been around the game.
He has a style all his own. Each one of his performances treads the line of melodic and lyrical, yet aggressively intellectual. His subject matter – most often sociopolitical, tackles complex problems while remaining accessible to a wide range of audiences. With clever word play and booming voice, he commands an audience’s attention with words as entertaining as they are prolific. However, Bottoms lives his poetry. He is unafraid to piss off his audience if the message needs to be heard, and loves to shine an unflinching light on the ugly side of things.
His soul runs free like wild horses,
that belong to travelling gypsies
and painted native americans.
It’s very essence? a burning flame,
that forms the shape of a soaring eagle.
His soul lives within my soul,
for I am him and he is I.
His soul is a dream catcher, a hamsa amulet
and a talisman. It’s essence? baptised water
and the very wine in the jewel encrusted holy grail.
His soul is the indigo veins on a tarot reader
and her, Tarot of Piedmont, deck of cards.
His soul lives within my soul,
for I am him and he is I.
The artist is an activist, especially in the spoken word community.
More than once have the words of a poet changed my outlook on any number of social-political issues. In part, this is the beauty of the form. Those who know more than I do seem so willing to share their ideas all with the aim to better the world around them with their collective voices.
Recently I was in Charleston, SC for a Diversity Conference. The conference was taking place only days after the killing of Walter Scott in North Charleston. Needless to say, the conference was abuzz with the controversy.
Enter Omari Fox.
Fox arrived with a solemn face and reserved energy that afternoon. Having just attended Walter Scott’s funeral, he was a man drained, but unerring in his mission. (more…)
Rue 77 is a real cozy scene. Red tints on black bodies — the room is an ember. The DJ is just warming up as Courtnay the Poet, the evening’s host, begins to dazzle. Enter SoufChase. Souf is energy. He makes the room buzz as navigates the neo-soul lounge connecting with those in attendance. People love Souf, but when it comes time to share that same energy onstage, Souf wasn’t about to disappoint.
**Hold the salt and the lime. I don’t need that. Just get me a glass from the flask with the green tag. Watch me make the bottle disappear like “Did you see that?!” You’ll be looking at the bottom asking yourself, “Where’s the leak at?”
SoufChase is where funny meets hip-hop lyricism with a beat all its own. (more…)
Let me start by saying that I love Tessica Williams. She’s one of those people that is hard not to fall in love with. Whether it’s her energy, her openness, or the fact she always has an interesting (read- wildly entertaining) story, Lady Tess is instantly memorable.
Her poetry is no different.
Tess’s poetry is an opera.
“and you would hear the breath of a rose
that was so close to death
she didn’t realize she was being smothered
by the debris of seasons past”
Tess doesn’t speak; she commands the energy of a room with words. (more…)
Daryl Funn (Mistafunn) was born on August 30 1972, and grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, where, entranced with Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, and Nikki Giovanni, he began to write at the age of 9.
Daryl joined the Java Monkey Slam team in 2009, with a 2nd place victory in the April slam finals. At the end of the 2009 season, Mistafunn was offered the opportunity to lead the 2010 Java Monkey Slam Team as Slam Master. As of 2014, he continues to perform this role.
Derek Berry is a novelist, poet, student, and activist born in Aiken, SC.
His first novel, “The Heathens and Liars of Lickskillet County“, will be published in Fall 2015 by PRA Publishing. He has published a poetry chapbook “Skinny Dipping with Strangers” and produced a spoken word album, “Perfect Nights“.
He organizes and co-hosts Charleston poetry show The Unspoken Word. He also coaches the Holy City Youth Slam Team.
You must write poetry about everything you can never tell your mother. – Derek Berry