Spoken Word Concert with the Original Cast of the beloved HBO show

Oaks Bluff, MA – We are excited to announce a special night of Poetry on the Vineyard: A Def Poetry Reunion benefit performance at Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center on Saturday, July 30, 2022. This epic evening of artistry is curated by Danny Simmons and he will bring the original cast of HBO’s Def Poetry together for a must-see concert featuring accomplished poets including Emmy, TONY and Peabody Award Winning Black Ice, ursula rucker, Jessica Care Moore, Kayo Charles and Elisabet Vasquez.

As the co-creator of the original Def Poetry series, Danny Simmons has a special connection to each poet who has agreed to come back and honor the memory of the groundbreaking television show to benefit the arts. The reunion is being brought to the vineyard in support of The August Wilson African American Cultural Center, Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation and The Mariposa Museum, a museum exploring black diaspora experience, in Oak Bluffs, MA, on Martha’s Vineyard.

“I came to the Vineyard last summer at the invitation of the Mariposa Museum to exhibit my artwork.  I hadn’t been to Oak Bluffs since my teen years. My memories are so vivid of my teen summers on the Vineyard. The day I left the island it occurred to me that I could do something to give back to the Mariposa Museum and so the idea for Def benefit concert was born. I later included Rush Arts and The August Wilson Center as beneficiaries when I realized the great audience and the powerful impact the concert could make. A great deal of hard work and planning went into putting the show together so I hope folks truly enjoy the poetry and the messages the poets bring.  Please bring family and friends and come to support the important work these organizations do.” – Danny Simmons.

Russell Simmon’s Def Poetry Jam opened on Broadway in November 2002. A television version of the show ran on HBO from 2002 to 2007. The TV series featured performances by established and up-and-coming spoken word poets as well as famous actors and musicians and was key in advancing the cultural importance of spoken word poetry.  Co-created by Bruce George, Danny Simmons, Deborah Pointer, Stan Lathan, and Russell Simmons, the Def Poetry Jam concept was key in advancing the cultural importance of spoken word poetry. The Broadway show won a Tony Award and the television series won a Peabody Award.

Poetry on the Vineyard, a Def Poetry Reunion will be held for one night only, Saturday, July 30, 2022 at 6:30pm.  For additional information on the benefit and to purchase tickets, please visit www.defpoetryreunion.com.

About Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation

Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation’s mission is to build a community-driven art space that provides opportunities to both local artists and curators, focused on community revitalization and relevance to the people of the surrounding neighborhoods, and arts-based educational opportunities for local youth who can benefit from them the most.

Mariposa Museum

The Mariposa Museum in Oak Bluffs explores American history and African diaspora experience through the creativity of artists, scholars, storytellers, and others who cherish Oak Bluffs’ welcoming spirit.

August Wilson African American Cultural Center

The August Wilson African American Cultural Center is a non-profit, multi-disciplinary arts center open to all.  They are dedicated to the celebration of the African American journey and presenting its unique and extraordinary role in the creation of popular culture in America and beyond.