The audacious, uncensored late-night series Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry returns to HBO for a sixth season Fridays at midnight. This year the seminal spoken word series presents seasoned and up-and-coming poets performing their work onstage before a live audience, interspersed with a big-ticket lineup of celebrities also trying their hand at poetry.
Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry features a spectrum of voices, from struggling urban poets who've cut their teeth in speakeasies and small clubs across the country, to the icons of the form, to celebrated actors, singers, dancers, and comedians writing and sharing poems for the first time. This season's special guests include DMX, Big Mike, Red Storm, Jill Scott, Talib Kweli, Carole King, Black Ice, Beau Sia, Poetri, Suheir Hammad, George Clinton, Lemon, Steve Coleman and many others.
Each installment of Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry is hosted by the highly regarded hip-hop artist and actor Mos Def. The series is directed by Stan Lathan, who, along with Simmons, executive produced the long-running hit series Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam, which was also directed by Lathan.
Recognizing the power of urban poetry on modern culture, top rap music impresario Simmons, whose Def Jam Records launched the careers of artists such as LL Cool J and Jay-Z, teamed up with HBO to create Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry in 2001, turning the spotlight on the freshest and most fearless voices in America today.
Previous seasons have featured performances by special guests ranging from Dave Chappelle, Common, Savion Glover, Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, Alicia Keyes, Eve Ensler, John Legend, Phylicia Rashad, Smokey Robinson, Kanye West to many others.