Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry

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Friday 12:00 AM on HBO Premiered Dec 01, 2001 In Season

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7.2
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User Rating
58 votes
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SHOW REVIEWS
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Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry

Show Summary

Praised by the New York Times as an "exuberant, daringly fresh series that breaks poetry out of the neat little boxes it's so often put it," Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry features a spectrum of voices, from struggling urban poets who've cut their teeth in speakeasies and small clubs across the country, to the icons of the form, to celebrated actors, singers, dancers, and comedians writing and sharing poems for the first time. This season's special guests include Dave Chappelle, Common, Savion Glover, Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, Alicia Keyes, Eve Ensler, John Legend, Phylicia Rashad, Smokey Robinson, Kanye West and many others. Each installment of Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry is hosted by the highly regarded hip-hop artist and actor Mos Def (Golden Globe nominee for HBO Films' "Something the Lord Made"). The series is directed by Stan Lathan, who, along with Simmons, executive produced the long-running hit series Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam, which was also directed by Lathan. Recognizing the power of urban poetry on modern culture, top rap music impresario Simmons, whose Def Jam Records launched the careers of artists such as LL Cool J and Jay-Z, teamed up with HBO to create Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry in 2001, turning the spotlight on the freshest and most fearless voices in America today. Previous seasons have featured performances by special guests ranging from Cedric the Entertainer and Caroline Kennedy to Benjamin Bratt and Erykah Badu.moreless

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 8/12/2005

Season 5 : Episode 10

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Russell Simmons has created a wonderful show that has quickly become one of my personal favorites.

    9.0
    I am a huge fan of spoken word/poetry and I am glad there is a televised program that show cases all of the talented lyricists that are out there. Since I am a busy college student, there are not a lot of chances for me to get out to the clubs that feature poets, and this show is a great substitute. A few of the Def poets have come to perform at the Univeristy that I attend and they were great.moreless
  • Lost Gem

    7.9
    I have been watching this show since Season 1, thankfully it has made it to Season 5. I am thankfull that HBO has kept this show on the air for this long as judging from the activity on this site for this show, makes me think that not enough people appreciate it.



    I think it is one of the better shows out there, when people hear Poetry, they think sissy beatnick stuff, but when I get my friends to watch the show, they are amazed at how some of the poets can move them, it is really quite intense at times. Sure there are some people that shouldn't really be up there, or maybe I just don't get where they are coming from, but that is the beauty of the show, it is inspiring, and everyone may get something different out of it.



    I hope it has many more years left.moreless
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    More Info About This Show

    Categories

    Arts, Comedy, Music

    Themes

    Stand Up, Performance Art & Spoken Word