Philly Poets Take First Place In International Slam

BAY CITIZEN: On the steps of San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House at around 11 p.m. last Saturday night, 17-year-old Kai Davis finally ran out of words. The silence was a little disconcerting, given the fact that words—specifically Davis’s gift for summoning them, piecing them together, and spitting them out in corkscrewing contortions—were what earned her Philadelphia-based slam poetry team top honors at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival just minutes beforehand. […] Philadelphia’s Davis, along with teammate Jamarr Hall, launched into an impression-riddled critique of popular music. With dreadlocks bouncing, Davis mocked Lil Wayne’s lethargic rhyme schemes, then eviscerated Nicki Minaj’s candy-coated persona. In unison, Hall and Davis scolded pop stars for making children’s “butts clap before they learn how to spell they names.” Once the final scores were handed down, Philadelphia’s team—dazed, still dashiki-clad—convened on the Opera House’s steps. Their coaches, Perry “Vision” DiVirgilio and Kavindu Ade, talked a little bit about the path that got the kids here: the seven qualifying slams that took place between October and March in Philadelphia, the dozens of other poets that didn’t make the cut, the time spent practicing poems in public—sometimes in hundred-degree heat. “They were given nothing,” DiVirgilio said. “This team earned everything they got.” MORE

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