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Lexus Verses and Flow premieres tonight on TV One at 10 p.m. Actor Laz Alonso returns as the Season Five host for his second year.

“This isn’t just a show taping. It’s actually a live performance. You have three amazing poets and you have amazing artists come on and perform with a live band. Tonight we have Charlie Wilson kicking it off. What I love about the show is that we select everyday 9 to 5 jobs, they don’t do this as a profession. They submit their poems, we fly them out and put them on the show,” Alonso said. “To me, it’s very special when you combine musical acts with people that have a love for poetry and they get to showcase it on here.”

Laz says that sometimes the aspiring poets are very enthusiastic about their work, which leads to some extra-long poems getting submitted. But Laz says that most of the show’s poets are either, ‘funny, angry or happy’ and that each poet is given a chance to do one from those three options.

“This season we got some great poems on mental health, on sexuality, just issues in our community that a lot of times are taboo to talk about. With Lexus’ backing we allow people to express what’s going on. When you see the news, you see what’s happening in that particular city or a certain country. But a poet tells you what’s going on in their streets and their reality and their everyday struggle. It’s like another version of the news, but in a more realistic, unfiltered way.”

No one has stepped to Alonso via poetry just yet, although he says he’s still single.

“I might have to take a little offense to that, now that you mention it. What’s going on with these poems?’

Sevyn Streeter, Jussie Smollett, Leela James, Chrisette Michele and more will guest on Verses and Flow this season.

Another plus is that Lexus is supportive not only of the show, but of the greater community.

“I graduated from Howard University and Lexus is giving back by donating not just to HBCU’s but to their students,” Alonso says. “That’s important to me.”

You can also see Alonzo on season 2 of The Mysteries of Laura on NBC this fall. Verses and Flow airs on Thursdays at 10 p.m.

Photos: TV One (Teal Moss)

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Musicians guest starring on Verses and Flow this season:

Charlie Wilson

CharlieWilsonVF

Jazmine Sullivan

jazminesullivanVF

Jussie Smollett

JussieSmolletVF

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