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10/31-11/4 Spoken Word Soul Fest

Posted by novoscene on October 31, 2007

Dropping Serious Verses

-kwan booth

Slam poetry had its official start at the Get Me High Lounge in Chicago in 1984 with bar room poet Marc Smith. Looking for a way to bring poetry to the masses, Smith came up with the idea of combining poetry with an Olympic style tournament complete with rounds and judges and all the heckling and loud talking you’d find in any respectable drinking establishment.

Over the years the slam has grown into an international literary sport with competitions all over the world. As a whole though, spoken word poetry dates back years before Smith to the Jazz and Beat poets of the 50’s through writers like Gil Scot Heron and Lydia Lunch up to today’s crop of to wordsmiths, hitting the mic from every angle: the political, the personal, the academic and the dirty and the just damned funny. Today you never know what’ll come gushing out in furious free verse.

One thing’s for sure -the words spreading through Oakland over the next few days from the 1st Annual Spoken Word Soul Fest will be pretty damned impressive. Bay Area spoken word production company Hot Water Cornbread has brought together some of today’s best performers for a 4 day spokenganza. Some of the featured artists include Bahamadia, Ursula Rucker, Queen Sheba, Medusa, Martin Luther, Shihan the Poet, and Jaguar Wright along with local heroes Scorpio Blues, Prentice Powell, Amir Sulaiman, Ise Lyfe.

Hot Water Cornbread’s Khalil Anthony answered a few questions about the event.

Who/What is Hotwater Cornbread?

KA-Scorpio Blues, founder and CEO, created Hot Water Cornbread for the poetic guardians of the frontline; for those poets and writers who strive to pass on teachings and messages to the masses. Encouraging freedom of thought, speech and creativity. Hot Water Cornbread was established out of the need for more events that feed the soul of the people in Oakland, and not just entertain. The name pays tribute to the memory of her Grammy who was known throughout Oakland for her slammin Hot water Cornbread. While her ability to duplicate her grammy’s taste was lacking, she Unable to fashioned her own recipe to showcase her very own talent and a spoken word artist and vocalist. Taking the idea of the 5 simple ingredients that make up a batch of Hot Water Corn Bread and putting her own twist, Blues created the perfect remix: 1cup talent, 2 cups of passion, 2 cups of commitment, 2 cups of skill, and 1 tablespoon of defiance.

How did the Spoken Word Soul Fest come to be and how long have you been working on it?

KA-Just like the creation of Hot Water Cornbread, Scorpio Blues believed in the word enough to create an event like no other. The idea and conception of The Spoken Word Soul Fest is a brainchild of Scorpio Blues, and came to her in a dream. Ever since then she has pulled together her community of artists to make this 1st Annual event manifest and share its light on Oakland.


Your line up is probably the best and most extensive I’ve ever seen for a spoken word event. How did you get so many talented artists together?

KA-Basically, through networking and traveling as a working artist, Scorpio Blues has been blessed to meet and work with some of the best poets in the world. Her dedication to bringing quality spoken word and music to the scene has established her and Hot Water Cornbread as one of the leaders in this field.

Is Spoken word as popular as it once was? It used to be everyone and their moms to have a “Love Jones”, Open mic or poetry slam night. How has the scene changed?

KA-Since the film “Love Jones”, the scene and spoken word has developed into many different genres and mediums, and the idea of spoken word has exploded not only amongst artists but corporate America as well. Hotwater Cornbread works to continue the integrity of the culture by honoring our ancestors of the word, and curating events that expose Oakland to the rest of the world, as well as exposing artists to the wonderful world that is Oakland, CA.


If you had to recommend one not to miss event what would it be?

KA-Basically, Wednesday through Saturday… The whole event is one not to miss, seriously…


1st Annual Spoken Word Soul Fest

Oct 31-Nov. 4th

Oakland California

Various locations and prices (see website for details)


One Response to “10/31-11/4 Spoken Word Soul Fest”

  1. […]                                                   Source   Fear…fear is faith that it won’t work out. I’m full of faith and strong in that […]

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