muMs da Schemer

SlamNation Extra - Spending a Morning With muMs

Guest post by Thomas Poole:

First of all it was an honor to videotape muMs in the neighborhood and home he grew up in. I had been working at the Nuyorcan Poets Café and had watched muMs work his poetic magic for years.  When Paul and I asked muMs to tape at his house he was a little hesitant. He made it clear that he didn’t let a great deal of people inside his personal life. This clip gives a little glimpse of muMs in his native and beloved Bronx.

One thing not shown in this clip (but is in the final movie SlamNation) was muMs telling how proud he was that his mother finally recognized him as a writer. He showed me pictures of his family, especially his father, a locksmith who was a first generation immigrant from the Caribbean islands, who never knew about his son’s literary accomplishments. Although, muMs was a highly rated football player destined to play in college on an athletic scholarship, he felt his father would have been just as proud about his writing achievements as his athletic ones. Back then, on stage, muMs portrayed himself as an urban guerilla style samari poet (even in this clip he is wearing solider like clothing) which served him well in getting acting roles in films like Bamboozle and the television series like Oz. However, this clip shows a more serene side of him even in the midst of him describing some unsavory aspects of his block. After that morning, I became more aware that the heart of his work is rooted in his devotion to his family and neighborhood.

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Slam Poem - muMs da Schemer - Roach Motel

Posted by Paul Devlin

My father once asked me what muMs was saying with the line, “That illy ill shit, keep the mental in check.” After I tried to translate he responded, “Oh, I see, he’s speaking a different language.” Of course – it’s cockroach poetry! Perhaps the ultimate persona poem, muMs’ performance from the point of view of a cockroach doubles as biting social commentary. A brilliant example of the unique work that has emerged from slam poetry.

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