playlist

Spoken-word fireworks

Brave and beautiful expressions from some of the world's most talented spoken-word performers, who weave stories in words and gestures.

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  1. 18:25
    Sarah Kay If I should have a daughter ...

    "If I should have a daughter, instead of Mom, she's gonna call me Point B ... " began spoken word poet Sarah Kay, in a talk that inspired two standing ovations at TED2011. She tells the story of her metamorphosis — from a wide-eyed teenager soaking in verse at New York's Bowery Poetry Club to a teacher connecting kids with the power of self-expression through Project V.O.I.C.E. — and gives two breathtaking performances of "B" and "Hiroshima."

  2. 12:03
    Shane Koyczan To This Day ... for the bullied and beautiful

    By turn hilarious and haunting, poet Shane Koyczan puts his finger on the pulse of what it's like to be young and … different. "To This Day," his spoken-word poem about bullying, captivated millions as a viral video (created, crowd-source style, by 80 animators). Here, he gives a glorious, live reprise with backstory and violin accompaniment by Hannah Epperson.

  3. 9:12
    Rives The 4 a.m. mystery

    Poet Rives does 8 minutes of lyrical origami, folding history into a series of coincidences surrounding that most surreal of hours, 4 o'clock in the morning.

  4. 4:29
    Jamila Lyiscott 3 ways to speak English

    Jamila Lyiscott is a “tri-tongued orator;” in her powerful spoken-word essay “Broken English,” she celebrates — and challenges — the three distinct flavors of English she speaks with her friends, in the classroom and with her parents. As she explores the complicated history and present-day identity that each language represents, she unpacks what it means to be “articulate.”

  5. 23:05
    Anna Deavere Smith Four American characters

    Writer and actor Anna Deavere Smith gives life to author Studs Terkel, convict Paulette Jenkins, a Korean shopkeeper and a bull rider, excerpts from her solo show "On the Road: A Search for American Character."

  6. 21:00
    Sarah Jones A one-woman global village

    In this hilariously lively performance, actress Sarah Jones channels an opinionated elderly Jewish woman, a fast-talking Dominican college student and more, giving TED2009 just a sample of her spectacular character range.

  7. 5:53
    Suheir Hammad Poems of war, peace, women, power

    Poet Suheir Hammad performs two spine-tingling spoken-word pieces: "What I Will" and "break (clustered)" — meditations on war and peace, on women and power. Wait for the astonishing line: "Do not fear what has blown up. If you must, fear the unexploded."

  8. 6:05
    Marco Tempest The electric rise and fall of Nikola Tesla

    Combining projection mapping and a pop-up book, Marco Tempest tells the visually arresting story of Nikola Tesla — called "the greatest geek who ever lived" — from his triumphant invention of alternating current to his penniless last days.

  9. 23:34
    Carmen Agra Deedy Once upon a time, my mother ...

    Storyteller Carmen Agra Deedy spins a funny, wise and luminous tale of parents and kids, starring her Cuban mother. Settle in and enjoy the ride — Mama's driving!