Recently I had the opportunity to sit down and watch the newest installment of the multi award-winning Graffiti Verite’ Documentary Series, GV7 Random Urban Static: The Iridescent Equations of Spoken Word. Filmmaker, Bob Bryan released the series under his Bryan World Productions indie label. The series has also played at numerous film festivals over the years.
What I really like about this documentary is that there is an equal amount of focus on the poetry and performance as there is with the one on one interviews for each poet. Issues of analyzing the portrayal of oneself vs. reality, the crumbling state of hip hop, date-rape, inequality of women, homosexuality, anorexia, and so much more are openly displayed.
No topic is taken lightly or avoided, these poets are completely exposed. There are 15 poets followed in this documentary and while every poet has its purpose, there are few that really stood out and were very well written AND performed. Every poet had their own individual message, so this documentary has no sole message that connects each poet together…other than the point of vulnerability.
In the beginning, there is a lighthearted poem by Sekou (the misfit) called, “Seventh Grade Girl” which is about his infatuation at the time and it is easy to love. Poet, J. Walker shares how he educates the youth to think outside of the box while entertaining them at the same time. During the one on one discussion with Def Poetry Jam poet, Poetri says, “A poet definitely has to learn the art of listening,” emphasizing how much of a learning tool it is for poets. Poet, Rachel Kann breaks down the difference between poetry on page and spoken word. I like how she explains that spoken word came before hip hop with storytellers but the modernization of spoken word came from hip hop.
Later on in the documentary, Rachel performs her poem, “My Priority” which I really enjoyed and it will definitely make you think about your priorities. Poet, Bridget Gray presents my favorite poem on the documentary, titled “My Letter To Hip Hop.” She also shares a piece, “ I Am a Woman” that is just as strong and significant. The poem, “We The People” from poet, The Lindz really takes to heart how “we the people need to be the people” and not the segregated, social status societies that we are. The duo who make up “Common Ground,” Mollie Angelheart and Natalie Patterson perform their piece, “On Hunger” which every female and male, young or not needs to hear. It is all about self esteem and self image and it can really turn your way of thinking and living around…especially in this society that we live in which is so dwelled on image.
I enjoyed this documentary and was presented with such thought provoking pieces that I am sure you will benefit from when you watch it. Also, the background images, music, and effects on the documentary are put together well enough to not completely interrupt the concentration from the poetry. GV7 is released in 2 versions, for the general audience and an unedited version. Both versions have a running time of 2 hours.