Poetry slam Thursday night was put on at the Ginger Bay Cafe to honor the memory of South Florida poet Will “Da Real One” Bell.
Bell was shot several times in the parking lot of the Literary Cafe and Poetry Lounge in North Miami on May 30, 2011. The “I Will Remember Power Slam” competition gathered poets to compete for a $500 cash prize in his honor. The slam consisted of five judges randomly selected from the crowd judging seven poets, in a three-round elimination.
In first place was Genius Jones, second place was Jonathan Kelly and in third was Ali Langston.
Competing poet Ali Langston, who has been performing poetry for more than 20 years, was Bell’s close friend. He said they would do shows together often but one, in particular, he would never forget.
“Week before he died,” Langston said, “I was at the show. I, Will and Thirteen [another poet] were in the parking lot talking. Bell said, ‘Next week is my last show’ and that it was.”
“Each city had their main poet,” said Langston, adding Bell was Miami’s.
“He was a great person, so blunt to the point he was an uncle,” said event coordinator Michele Bazin, meaning Bell treated her like family. She said he always knew what to say at the right times.
“The best word of advice he gave me was he took me by the shoulder and said, ‘You look flustered.’ I would immediately calm down.”
Outside of the Cafe for the I Will Remember Power Slam, the poets spent time reciting their pieces to themselves before going on stage. Scattered around tables outside of the venue and on the sidewalk, each poet seemed eager for the show to start.
Head Coordinator Ingrid Bazin said Bell created a stage for others to perform on and that was his life’s work and passion.
Her daughter, Michele Bazin, said Bell granted her first ever opportunity as an event coordinator when she was 15 for a show called Flo In A-Minor. Ingrid and Michele Bazin have teamed up with venues to host events throughout the city. This one was most special, she said.
“He was a mentor, an example of the best of the art of spoken word,” said Ingrid Bazin.
“The event, I Will Remember Power Slam, kept the memory alive and introduced Bell to those who never heard his name and remind those who have to remember the will power of his words.”