‘Verses And Flow’ Poet Prentice Powell’s Mic-Dropping Piece On Being A Black Man In America [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO]

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  • The fourth season of TV One’s “Verses And Flow” premieres tonight (August 16) and the program is sure to leave you snapping from your living room!  Presented by Lexus and hosted by Laz Alonso, each 30-minute episode features star-studded musical guests and spoken word performances from some of the most profound poets around.

    HelloBeautiful caught up with one such artist, Prentice Powell, a Oakland, California native who has had the distinct honor of being the only poet to grace the “Verses And Flow” stage every year since the show’s inception. You may have also seen the 2013 NAACP Image Award Nominee on the “Arsenio Hall Show,” touring with singer Jill Scott or performing at your nearest slam with his spoken word poetry collective, Fiveology, a group of five talented, passionate, and internationally recognized artists. And if you haven’t seen him perform yet, whew, you’re in for a treat! This season of “Verses And Flow,” is unlike any other, he says.

    “It was a really really different experience this season for me,” Powell tells us. “Usually I’ve had the opportunity to perform individually but I was blessed by Lexus ‘Verses And Flow’ and asked to be back to be a part of an organization called IconMan which is all about highlighting Black men in general. They highlight your local mailman, your coach who coaches the local basketball team in his free time, Harry Belafonte and other prominent Black men.

    So what I was asked to do by ‘Verses And Flow’ is to write and introductory piece for the season. [It] was really different because usually they know your poems, they look and see what they like and you do your own poems, but I was asked to write something specifically for this season. Not only to do that, but to write for four other people as well. So I was able to share the stage with Lance Reddick, Aldis Hodge, Wesley Jonathan and Jay Ellis…it was really wonderful. It was a great experience to get up there and perform with other people who were doing my work — a completely new experience for me.”

    Now, he didn’t want to spoil that group performance since it will open tonight’s seasons premiere, but Powell did give us a taste of a poem that he recorded that didn’t make it on the show–and if this is what was left on the cutting room floor, we can’t wait to see more. The piece (in the video above) expresses the poet’s thoughts on what it means to be a Black man in America, a particularly potent narrative and perspective in the wake of Michael Brown’s death by police and the current aftermath in Ferguson, Missouri that has shaken the nation.

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