Modern spoken word poetry became popular in the underground Black community in the 1960s with The Last Poets. The Last Poets was a poetry and political music group that was born out of the African-American Civil Rights movement. They used it as a way to promote political ambitions and frustration.

Spoken word is an art form that has long been present in human society. Oral traditions in cultures predate the written word, and poems, or a type of spoken singing or stories, sometimes accompanied by music, held captive many an audience far before the first book was ever written. Even when books became available, troubadours and balladeers often spoke stories of adventure, romance, tragedy and comedy to wide audiences, since reading was not a common accomplishment.

Today, spoken word refers to two separate art forms. One is entirely based on recorded spoken word, such as the reading of novels or the recitation of poetry that supplies us with the modern “books on tape.” The art form in its second definition refers to those events when poets, and sometimes comedians or social commentators recite or invent on the spot poems, commentary, jokes, and the like as a performance piece intended for an audience. The latter type arises from the oral traditions long held in numerous cultures.

Songs did replace speaking stories or poems, but in the beat poetry movement, interest in performing poetry and other writings held sway over poetry fans. Typically beat poets, not necessarily the famous ones, would recite their poems with music playing in the background. Emphasis however was more on the words than the music, though the poet might time phrasing to coincide with certain parts of musical performance. Music could be live or recorded depending upon the poet.

This tradition led to a little mockery, and some contend participants and fans took it too seriously. Certainly as with all genres of poetry, there were some bad poems written and performed. There were also some very valuable ones, and poets that grew out of the Beat Generation, include Mayo Angelou, who critics cite as being one of the most skilled at reciting her work, since her rich voice and phrasing lend resonance and depth to her work.

Spoken Word is poetry intended for onstage performance, rather than exclusively designed for the page. While often associated with hip-hop culture, it also has strong ties to storytelling, modern poetry, post-modern performance, and monologue theatre, as well as jazz, blues, and folk music.

Due to its immediacy and direct rapport with its audience, this type of poetry often contains references to current events and issues relevant to a contemporary audience.

At its best, spoken word is a powerful, high-energy form of expression that attracts artists and audiences of all ages from a wide range of disciplines and socio-cultural backgrounds.


Here are some examples on my influnces.

Spoken word artist Lemon Andersen begins today’s talk with the poem, “Please Don’t Take My Air Jordans,” written by Reg E. Gaines in 1994.

My Air Jordans cost a hundred with tax.
My suede Starter jacket says Raiders on the back.
I’m stylin’, smilin’ looking real mean,
Cause it ain’t about bein’ heard.
Just about bein’ seen.

The aime of this project is to create a music video combining spoken word and rap as an expression to tell the story. The rationale behind this is that, it’s going to be my first time directing a music video and collaborating with a music producer on a particular project. I am also going to be pushing my creative skills as an artist and also a producer because i will have the freedom to edit the project my self. I have never been a spoken word artist or a rapper but this is going to be interesting as i will be pushing bounderies and putting my creativity to test. I figuered the best way to learn something is to actually try it.      I am inspired by different music artists who co-direct their  music videos, for example:


what this music video reveals about Rihanna is a genuine and whole hearted lack of concern about anyone’s opinion.

This music video was Directed, written and shot by Justin Bieber even though it had another  co-director, this music video reveals that Justin Bieber thinks the media is out here to get him in what ever he does.

process and development 

I have come to realise that everything is a remix of an original idea. This violates the rights of copywrite rules but some theories suggest that the past always rules the future, meaning that the future we leave in now, is the version of a better past. This is common in hollywood movies, animations and music videos where they use concepts from the past and recreat them to fit in the present. For example Walt Disney his greatest works demonstrate better cultures of the past, His work proves how culture builds on the past. What he did better than every one else was that he was a mashup artist and he would take what was in the public demand, update it and made it relevant for our age. His work was always continuing the language of a particular culture. The importance is that this technique has been democratized because this idea of remix has given anyone with a fiffteen hundren computer and the capacity to recreate the power to say things differently.

i want to make something that could influence other people to do something that is engaging in a creative maner. Something that other producers or artists can take on as a challage or an idea of compositionin or form of creation. In otherwords just like art everything is a remix only because in most  case it has been modified and made better and enjoyable.

I want to be able to tell a story using images like most directors do. I got inspired by watching a few music videos and analysing how some directors use imagery to tell stories or bring emotions to the screen by use of  special effect and technics. I want to be able to bring the artistic and dramatic feeling to my work as a director and creatively challenge my self. i want to achieve this by the use of spoken word, recited on top of a beat with visuals to tell the story.  Even though this might sound like it has an expensive budget, i looked at how some directors who have managed to produce good quality of work with out spending rediculous amonts of money. i am lucky that i have all these resources provided by university otherwise this project would cost me alot of money in the really world.

I looked at some online sources and found out that the most expensive video of all time was directed byMark Romanek: Michael and Janet Jackson‘s “Scream” (1995), which cost $7 million to produce.

Melina Matsoukas says that expensive equipment is not necessary for a quality video and one should never think that way: “A good video has the right visuals, a well conceptualised story and should be exciting and elicit reaction.”


I love poems, simply because they take you places and make you think that there is more to this world. A poem has the power to change feelings and bring sad emotions or good emotion or some times make you cry. This inspires me to use images to inhence story telling because it engages the viewer by use of visual technics and music.

In the 80’s stories were told differently some times only people who are present at that particular moment got to hear the story but as time evolves some things change and now stories can be shared in different ways accross the world for every one to access by use of internet. In the 21 st century there are different technics of telling stories. For example a poem is a piece of writing in which the expression of feelings and ideas is given intensity by a particular attention to diction sometimes involving rhyme, rhythm and imagery. I really find that interesting because some directors use the same method to tell certain stories. This is the same thing i will be producing.

This is one of the poets of my century that use some of those technics and inspires me.

In this particular peom i like the combination of the acoustic guitar, music combined with George the Poet’s voice to help set the mood through which he is telling the story. This makes the poem more interesting through visuals and audio, it adds another element to the poem/story and this is where i get my inspiration from so i had to do an artefact with the same consept by using  music, imagery and a poems to give my story depth.

The music video i want to produce  for my final major project is something like this:


In the media world the genre of my Artefact is a poem produced into a hip hop music  as a style to tell the story , i am collaborating with a music producer  Josh Bates, who is creating a song  that we are going to use in my final major project. I am going to write a poem and visualy present it using different technics to bring out the right mood for the poem as seen in previous examples above.

My intestion is to record different scenes of the project in different cities including France, United kingdom and Amsterdam which will be more interesting for the audience to watch.

For example, In this video there is added value simply because it is filmed in a different country and it tells the history of the place. But that’s not the only thing that makes it different or interesting. I looked at the style in which it is shot and the use of music and camera angles to tell the story and create emotions. The story becomes more than just a poem but an art and that’s what adds value to the poem.

This will add value to my video in terms of traveling to different locations. The reason its going to be different from what has been done before is because the piece of work can be remixed by any producer or used to influence other people to recreate it or make it better, in other words something to continue the language of the culture. I have never directed anything like this before so i will be creatively challenging my self to make a good piece of art through illastration of words and music combined with visuals. I am collaborating with a music producer, creating a poem, story board and directing the video my self and i will be in the video as well, the video will be edited by my self and thats what makes it different. I want to become like “Stan Lee” an American comic book writer and editor who directs his movies and acts or appears in some scenes of the movies. Thats my vision and where my inspiration comes from.

Even though Dr. Dre is a music producer he also directs some of his videos like this one above. This reveals that he knows what to do with his hands even though it was also co-produced by Philip Atwell.

These kind of examples i have given above have greatly influenced what i want to do for my final major project. As seen above this is possible and different music artists have used the same approach. If they can do it, i believe i can use the same approach too. Even though i might need help from another co-producer or cinematographer i will have the full control over the work i want to produce because i will be editing it after its been recorded.

In terms of context this video needs to be made because there is only a few videos that have been made using the same concept, spoken word combined with rap and imagery to help tell the story or bring out particular emotions.

These days mordern culture hip hop has influenced everything from fashion to the way people talk and even it’s used as a form of telling different stories, same applies to spoken word. For example in this video you get to seen the combination of a solo guitar artist and a spoken word artist tell there story but using different styles. George the Poet does the spoken word and Jcooper plays the guitar and sings.

This is where my inspiration comes from, i am trying to use the same technic to tell a story but to be more original, on this project i have a producer who has agreed to make an instrumental using logic software and i want to get George the Poet on this project even though it might be imposible but i choose to have a positive vibe because everything is possible you just have to try. If i manage to get him on this project, this will give my work a certain adge to it and because he already has an audience out there my work will be more exciting.


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