Man o’ Words: Old-School Freestyle (TEDx)

This TEDx talk from an independently-organized TED event is not by a black girl though it easily reminds me of my black girlhood practicing oratory every holiday at my Uncle Don’s house in Northeast D.C. I’d recite whatever he insisted from the previous holiday from memory and he’d give me a quarter, than 50 cents, and by eight or nine a dollar. That was huge back in the late 60s, early 70s for me.

It’s a slow start or maybe you could call it a slow sell but then it turns into one of the most satisfying TED talks I’ve seen in a long while.  It embeds its idea worth spreading in its very performance. And the message is timeless created from words from the audience. Brilliant!

Kudos Professor and poet Herbert Woodward Martin!! Representin’ Dayton’s vision dating back to the days when The Phil Donahue Show taped there. Kudos!!

The Old Griot: Herbert Woodward Martin at TEDxDayton

P.S. This TEDx Talk reminds me even more of hip-hop, of freestyling in poetry slams or emceeing off the top of the dome.  I love how this performance by an elder poet, unknown to most viewers, bears the tradition young emcees, male and female. A griot transforms life with the sounds of his words. She turns something mundane and common into revelation and mystery. Here Poet Martin turns the written word into pure poetic mystery.

Spare some time and listen!


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