Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry (HBO)
2002 | HBO and Simmons/Lathan TV
Poetry on television. Poetry spoken and performed, not read from the page. Poetry that draws a live audience into the intricacies of language, the humor of a varied inflection, the elegance of a sentence structure. It’s all there in the Home Box Office series, Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry. Based on the nationally touring stage production, Def Poetry Jam, in which poets trade verse before live audiences, Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry is hosted by musician-rapper and actor Mos Def, star of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Topdog/Underdog. Mos Def introduces poetry performers Beau Sia, Jason Carney, Thea Monyee, Sekou Sundiata, Marty McConnell, Twin Poets, Patricia Smith, Dante Basco, Maggie Estep, Black Ice, Kent Foreman, Roger Bonair-Agard, and others. They are joined by celebrity performers such as Jamie Foxx, Erykah Badu, Talib Kwell, Oscar Brown, Jr., Rakim, Danny Hoch, Malcolm Jamal-Warner, and Caroline Kennedy. With voice and body, rhythm and metaphor, these performers make words into the real stars. Producer John Irwin, Executive Producers Russell Simmons and Stan Lathan, who also directs, and Co-Executive Producer Mos Def have enabled contemporary urban poets to share their art with millions who may never have access to them. A Peabody Award goes to Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry, which has moved poetry from the periphery to the center, and proved that television can be as literate as any other media.