I’ve always been fascinated by poetry. Its rhythm, cadence, and flow have always been a soothing salve for my soul. As a child, I’d spend hours reading Langston Hughes’s poems. His language was simple, but the ideas he expressed were deeply complex and musical. Hughes’ poems guided me through some difficult times because they always had a message of hope and redemption.
As I got older, I discovered hip-hop. This emerging artform allowed me to enjoy poetry in a whole new way. Young, street poets took my inner feelings and added some beats and rhymes. The revolution was not televised. Instead, it was voiced with two turntables and a microphone.
As a student at Howard University, poetry and hip-hop continued to shape my worldview. My poetry professor, Dr. Woodson, always stressed the importance of poetry. He taught me how to use my voice and creativity to make a difference, and speak for those who could not speak for themselves – the same lesson I learned from Public Enemy, The Last Poets, Sonia Sanchez, KRS-1, Amiri Baraka, Run-DMC, Haki Madhubuti, and many others.
A new generation is carrying on the tradition began by these trailblazers. Poets from around the world will share their talents in the new season of Lexus Verses and Flow (Saturdays 10p EST on TV ONE). This year’s talented line-up is sure to have you giving standing ovations from your living room floor. In addition to talented poets, each episode includes a music performance from some of the industry’s best R&B talents.
Poetry has the power to not only give joy, heal hurts, and express strong emotions, but also affect personal, political, and social change.