*Now let me put this on pause because I told you all this was a music blog, and although poetry isn't music, without it there would be no hip-hop. No poetry in motion. No art from the mouth and for that ass* Now as I continue...
I am not shocked at the fact they covered slam poetry; I actually think that is amazing! An international yet city, newsy newspaper/magazine/website diving so deep into culture, especially non-mainstream culture, deserves a lot more respect than it is getting right now. HOWEVER, I am shocked at the angle the reporter went for this topic. The angle just stayed with "slam is dead", "slam is commercialized", "slam has lost its ground". The reporter failed to get all sides of the story. Nowhere in the article is a quote or graf that opposes the idea that slam is dead, there isn't even a sentence on there that makes the reader think critically about slam poetry. He just handed some dead slam poetry on a platter to his readers.
I do agree slam poetry is becoming commercialized, with that "Brave New Voices" show on HBO and every place's attempt to carbon copied open mic nights. But I disagree with slam poetry being dead. That's like saying hip-hop is dead. Yes, hip-hop is commercialized and starting to lose its ground, but it isn't dead. Like hip-hop, slam poetry will continue to have its grassroots implanted in society. Let's look at the meaning grassroots because one of the sources mentioned slam as grassroots in the beginning but now is a sport of who can say the previous line better, but onto the term grassroots:
- For something to be "grassroots" or "a grassroot movement" it must have the people in mind first. It must start at the root, it must start with the people, it must hone that "for us, by us" attitude. Without the people, that sense of community, who will move the opposition out? Who will plant the seeds and make the roots grow?
- Another thing about the term grassroots is the roots must grow, they must develop into what moves the people to liberate against the opposition. I'm not endorsing people like Russell Simmons or Stan Lathaan or Diddy to air out all that moves the young and unrested, but I can't be mad at the kid on national television who is spitting about being in school rather than on the street.
- But once money becomes involved with art, like the old saying goes, the art is lost. But in all honesty, like what was done with different movements (i.e. BAM) there are ways to fight that as well, which is the combative side of a grassroots movement. A grassroots movement doesn't end on the dollar.
For my music and art people, it's no secret the outlets are becoming commodified, but never will it die. It may change, it may integrate with the mainstream, it may divide within its own community, but as long as the roots are still implanted in society no art, no movement will ever die.