Interview with All Def Poet Moody Black
By Patrick Hill @Pathill17 @NeonRenMagazine
If you have not heard of Moody Black, you will soon enough. Rather you never heard of his poems or heard him speak; Moody is on a different level. Moody Black a South Carolina native, a visionary, an artist, an actor, a story teller, and photographer is art. To be feature on All Def Poetry giving the history of the platform from the days of Def Poetry Jam where Dave Chappelle, Kanye West, Common, Erykah Badu, Lauren Hill, David Banner, Alicia Keys, and more have grace their presence to the platform. A platform where poets have come through and made a name for themselves. Moody Black performance itself has grace 2,167 views with 197 likes on All Def Poetry YouTube channel. The comments have been all but positive about “In the Field” performance. His performance can be seen on Neon Renaissance Magazine video section and also on All Def Poetry YouTube Channel.
So, I got a chance to chat with him over twitter to talk about his performances and issues of today. It was an honor and privilege to sit down with someone who will one day be highly recognize in conversations of great artist and poet. In the conversation, I had with Moody Black, I wanted to know a bit about him. Particularly what made him get involve with poetry. He said to me “my mom, she was a single parent. She would work during the day. Then, take college courses at night. She would bring her literature books home.” He continues “having to know Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes was a rite of passage.” He later explains what made him finally write poetry. “My mom had this book my father got her for their first anniversary (before the divorce) entitled “This Time Called Life” by Walter Rinder. It had poems about being young and free. That really pushed me to write.” It was that point his desire for poetry grew.
I ask about his first time being on stage doing poetry and what that feeling was like when he got on stage. He explains “every time seem like the first time…I was and still is nervous…hoping I don’t mess up. Hoping people receive my art.” Being on stage is not easy as it may seem when you watch many poets go on and speak from what they wrote or memorize. However, you would not think that of Moody Black “In the Field” performance. A very compelling and powerful poem about a slave taking from home to the field. It was a very intense and well receive poem. I ask him about the poem. I wanted to know what was going through his head when he performed it. “Of course, the thing is not to show that you’re nervous you know the old saying never let them see you sweat” He said. He continues by saying “I always pretend that I’m there and I act as I’m that person in the poem.I put myself in that position.” I watched the video several times and each time it was just as good the first time I saw it. I also wanted to know from him was there a message that the character in his poem was trying to bring to light. “Definitely. Being captured altered his purpose and changed the structure of his family. And being brought to a new land was confusing. However, he was determination to be free showed our resilience as humans” he said. I also asked him about today’s society among African Americans in regards of his character in the poem and how it relates today. “Very much so. African-Americans really don’t have an identity or connection to a culture. A feeling of loss and confusion” He explains. It was a very interesting point he made. Giving the climate of today’s society among African Americans is troubling especially with the unemployment rate, public schools, violence, and broken communities. There aren’t many black own businesses and programs to help produce more opportunities. Instead you have seen more incarcerations and police brutalities among African Americans. I ask him what is the remedy to repair that sense of loss and connection that African Americans struggle in this time. He basically said “education is the key, just gotta keep reaching and teaching.” I made a suggestion of the days of the Harlem Renaissance to reconnect the culture and identity which he agree would be great idea. Giving the circumstances, it would take more than just revamping the Harlem Renaissance to help unify African Americans. However, art has always unify African American communities culturally.
As we about to end our discussion, I ask some questions that relates to his style of poetry. His style of poetry has elements of hip hop in it. When you watch, and hear his “In the Field” performance, you will hear Trinidad James “Gold” style of rhyme within his performance. Who cannot forget that song. I had to ask him about today’s generation hip hop and what he listen to the most. “There’s a few I’m not really into. But Hip Hop, looked all music evolves. I embrace it. With the advancement of technology, I’m able to find the music I like. Right now, I still listen to Drake, Kendrick, Killer Mike, Brother Ali, phonte from little brother, and 2 Chainz.” He said. He mentions his musical influences as well such as Run DMC, De La, ATCQ, Outkast, Jungle Brothers. Public Enemy, and Rakim. I also wanted his thoughts on the success of black films in 2016 and rather the bar was raised from those movies going into 2017. He wasn’t overly impress with the films but he was slightly impress as he said “nothing wow-ed me yet.” He later said “the films were cool. I would like to see more biopics from black writers and directors.Not sure if any bars were raised, though.” Even though the bars were not raised from his point of view for 2017, one can only hope what would 2017 will bring for black filmmakers.
As Moody Black gets prepared to go on the road to continue his journey, his legacy will not be defined by one moment, but through many of his accomplishments. Gracing his presences on a platform such as All Def Poetry has not only spark the rise of many opportunities that may land his way. It has allowed him to reach audiences from all over to listen to his words and visualize his message that will spark the brain. Art is Moody Black. Mood Black is art. Even though that may confuse you, you have to think where would you be without art and what would you do without art. Moody Black innovation and vision of telling a story through a book or poem invites the mind to discover the world of Moody Black. As he prepares to go on the road, you may catch him at poetry nights in your community, or guest speak at your local events. His vision is to engage and inspire the minds in search of hope. Though I never mention in the conversation where we both share the same taste of music and the times of Right On! & Word Up! Magazine. I wanted you the reader to know about Moody Black and follow him throughout his journey. For he will be someone on a major platform that will encourage others to listen, love, and learn.
You can follow him on these social media sites
You can also check out his website where you can purchase his cd’s, get the scoop on his next performance, or you can book him for your event.
He will also be in North Carolina this Saturday for Pemansip: out the box. The link is below to order tickets to the event.