Spoken-Word Poet Marc Bamuthi Joseph Breaks Down Black Masculinity

Marc Bamuthi Joseph will be giving a talk on black masculinity in America this Saturday, April 20th at the Auburn Avenue Research Library.

Courtesy of Adriana Oyarzun

When the Hammond House and the Auburn Avenue Research Library looked for a guide for their conversation about black masculinity, they called on Marc Bamuthi Joseph to lead the event. His spoken word librettos have been choreographed by the Atlanta Ballet as well as the legendary Bill T. Jones.

His Ted Global Fellow Talk has almost a million views. Joseph is currently VP and Artistic Director of Social Impact at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

His words speak of the promises of potential, broken and the American dream, evaporated. Yet, his message also contains optimism and humor. His latest work,“The Just and the Blind,” is a spoken word duet with a violinist that addresses what he calls “the prison industrial complex.”

“So the “Just and the Blind” reflects on my own transition, his [his son’s] transition, and hopefully humanizes this idea of the criminalization of brown males,” said Joseph.

As a Morehouse graduate, he wants his audience to think deeply about how the judicial system plays out in terms of race and history in Atlanta. His works, mostly librettos, focus on tragedies within African-American communities.

City Lights’ host Lois Reitzes talked with Marc prior to his arrival in Atlanta for the “Beyond the Barbershop:Conversations about Black Masculinity” this Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Auburn Avenue Research Library.