by: Tania Lasenburg
In 2002, HBO premiered Def Poetry Jam. Acclaimed and beloved rapper and actor, Mos Def hosted the show.
I was 13 years old, sneaking the television on to watch this. It came on 10 p.m. (right before Taxicab Confessions or Real Sex). I was captivated, I was moved but most importantly inspired.
Like most 13 year old girls, if it wasn’t art, it was poetry and watching adults express themselves, with the highs and lows of their voice, the movement of their hands and sometimes their tears, I wanted to be just like that. I wanted to be on that stage. I wanted to
showing how important each.sentence.was.
I wanted to stand in front of a crowd and hear the
and see the brightness of the audience’s eyes as I
pour out my soul
letting it drip from my finger tips to
fall onto the stage in a puddle
that I would then
to remind me of the piece,
I just let go.
I looked forward to Def Poetry Jam and although my crippling fear of public speaking stopped me from standing on stage, it did not stop me from writing.
Each week, I watched; seeing Jill Scott, DMX, Saul Williams, Daniel Beaty and etc, not only joke but release something buried so deep inside them that I could feel the air shift as they spoke.
When I was 16, my father bought me Jill Scott’s first published poetry book for my birthday (I still have it) and I would write poems for people at school. Def Poetry Jam gave me the confidence to write.
It filled me with the desire to
It opened my eyes to
outside of love.
It made me feel
It made me feel
like my story was
12 years later after it last aired, I still get chills watching the Youtube videos and most importantly I still get inspired.