Breaking Dub Poetry into the Mainstream with BET


By: Olimatta Taal
Roots Cause Entertainment and Earth Strong Production have broken Dub Poetry into the mainstream with a Word, Sound and Power poetry series set to air on BETJ from October to December. "It's a poetry series with emphasis on dub poetry. It's an artistic force of uniting the African oral tradition of rhythmic dub poetry and the literal art form of spoken word," explains Aranthes Lewin, executive producer.

The first three series were recently recorded at Boone Hall in Stony Hill. It was hosted by M-1 of Dead Prez and featured some of the best dub poets in Jamaica and headliners from the Def Poetry Jam circuit. Lewin continues, "We are giving Dub Poetry its own platform. Mutaburuka, Oku Onuru, and Lynton Kwesi Johnson, have been doing it for years. Word, Sound, Power is something that has never been done, and will premiere the first week of October."

Dub Poetry has not really gained the respect and acceptance in the reggae community that it should have, however that is slowly changing. Word, Sound, and Power is providing a platform for Dub Poetry representing poets of Caribbean and African background. It also opens the door to express strong political messages and the creative artistry of Caribbean and African expression.

The entire show will be shot in Jamaica, utilizing the beauty, wonderful themes, and perfect locations. "It was important that we get some of the strong poets and fuse them with some of the great poets up here with the Caribbean background," says Lewin. The set up for the first three series was majestic and was reminiscent of the finest of poetry lounges, but with a Jamaican feel.

As M-1 set the stage for the poets, it was apparent why he had been chosen to host this historic series. Lewin said, "We needed a host that understands what the Caribbean is about and what Africa is about. M-1 is a poet and an artist whose roots are deep in the Caribbean and Africa." In 2006, M-1 released his first solo album "Confidence" on Sotti/Koch Records and continues to shine as a rapper, activist, and author.

The poets were phenomenal as they showcased some of their best pieces. Representing Jamaican dub poets for years and receiving numerous awards was Yasus Afari while other poets like Cherry Natural, Royal African Soldiers, LSX, Kamika, and others set the tone for headliners Suhuir Hammad of Palestine, Roger Bonairagaird of Trinidad, and Ainsley Burrows of Jamaica.

In four weeks Aranthes Lewin and his team will return to Jamaica to shoot four more shows. Local poets who are interested in being apart of Word, Sound, Power will get the opportunity by participating at the weekly poetry event held on Tuesdays at Weekendz, 80 Constant Spring Road in Kingston. "We filter the poets and get to see who's who and what's what. We give poets a chance like Kamika and LSX who got a chance to shine from Weekendz, or poets can contact us at and," concludes Lewin.