Slam Poets Deliver Powerful Performances in Spoken Word Documentary
Verite’ 7: Random Urban Static
DVD Review by Kam Williams
Excellent (4 stars)
If you enjoy the strident, staccato cadence of commercial rap music but not its uniformly antisocial, macho content, then you’ll probably find GV7, aka Graffiti Verite’ 7, a refreshing alternative. Just when you're convinced hip-hop is dead as an art form, along comes this collection of powerful performances by 15 talented innovators as different from each other as they are entertaining in their own unique ways. Black, white, Latino, gay, straight, male and female, the only thing they have in common is a compelling ability to express themselves eloquently on the subjects most meaningful to them.
With the same raw intensity which the icons of BET videos celebrate misogyny, conspicuous consumption and black-on-black crime, these wordsmiths explore a variety of themes ranging from politics to privilege to sexual preference to self-esteem to racism to religion to AIDS to anorexia in a heartfelt and intimate fashion. Directed by Bob Bryan, GV7 features both interviews and acappella readings by accomplished artists on the poetry circuit, such as two-time Grand Slam-winners Bridget Gray and Sekou (the misfit), along with the likes of L.A. champ Mollie Angelheart who warns, ’If you don't cut deep’ you don't make a difference.’
Highlights include The Lindz, who deftly blends talk and song to produce a unique brand of soulful, blue-eyed lyricism, and Tim’m T. West, who reflects in rhyme about what it's like to be gay, black, and HIV+. I found his contribution to be particularly of value since the AIDS epidemic is hitting the African-American community the hardest, yet the voices of the victims of the disease rarely get heard. Obviously, Tim’m is not one to allow any stigma to prevent him from sharing his feelings with the world.
Ready to be discovered is Bridget, a charismatic beauty beloved by the camera with a look and attitude are tailor-made for movies. Nonetheless, each and every cast member holds his or her own, here, including Nicolas Lopes, Poetri, Jessica Healy, GaKnew Roxwel, J. Walker, Hunter Lee Hughes, Vejea Jennings, Eric Haber, Natalie Patterson and Rachel Kann.
A delightful indulgence in the lyric form likely to restore your faith in the Hip-Hop Generation.
Trailers From GV7
Graffiti Verite' 7 RANDOM URBAN STATIC - Bridget Gray
Graffiti Verite' 7 RANDOM URBAN STATIC - Tim'm T. West