Young poets from across America take the spotlight in the new HBO special BRAVE NEW VOICES 2010. Hosted by Common and co-hosted by Rosario Dawson, the show spotlights four promising teams from New York, Denver, Albuquerque and the Bay Area as they compete at the 2010 Brave New Voices National Youth Poetry Slam Championship in Los Angeles. Debuting in November, the special features emotional, creative and inspiring slam poetry, as well as interviews with the poets, coaches and judges.
Held in a different city each year, the Brave New Voices championship presents voices of 21st-century America in all their demographic diversity. Taped at the Saban Theater in Los Angeles on July 23, HBO’s cameras captured the four teams and their coaches as they vied for top national honors.
Judges for the competition’s finale include poet Mayda Del Valle (HBO’s “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry”), TV host Penn Jillette (“Penn & Teller: Bullshit!”), musician Talib Kweli (“Eardrum”), actress Sanaa Lathan (“The Family That Preys”) and poet Beau Sia (HBO’s “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry”).
The 2009 HBO series “Russell Simmons Presents Brave New Voices” focused on six teams from New York, San Francisco, Ft. Lauderdale, Ann Arbor, Hawaii and Philadelphia as they prepared for a chance to compete at the 2008 Brave New Voices National Youth Poetry Slam Championship
Most recently seen opposite Queen Latifah in the feature film “Just Wright,” Common is a Grammy-winning musician, actor, author and community activist. In 2007, he launched the Common Ground Foundation, dedicated to the empowerment and development of urban youth. Common has also written several children’s books, including “I Like You but I Love Me,” which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. He is currently working on his upcoming album, entitled “The Believer.”
A celebrated actress, Rosario Dawson was recently seen in “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief,” “Seven Pounds,” with Will Smith, and “Eagle Eye,” cptfc with Shia LaBeouf. Her numerous political activities include Voto Latino, the non-partisan organization she co-founded in 2004, which works to promote civic participation to create positive change. In November, Dawson stars alongside Denzel Washington and Chris Pine in the film “Unstoppable.”
Created by Youth Speaks in 1998, the Brave New Voices Youth Poetry Slam Festival has quickly become the largest youth poetry festival in the world. This unique event brings together 600 youth and 100 nonprofit organizers from up to 50 different U.S. cities annually to build a broad-based national movement of youth spoken word, civic engagement, and youth development programs. Held in a different city each year, Brave New Voices presents the voices of 21st century America in all their diversity. The festival focuses on arts education and performance, local program development, national movement organizing and the highlighting of a new generation of performing artists, audiences, and opportunity.
The executive producers of BRAVE NEW VOICES 2010 are Stan Lathan and Russell Simmons; co-executive producers, Kamilah Forbes and James Kass; producer, Cisco Henson; directed by Stan Lathan; hosted by Common; co-hosted by Rosario Dawson.