To Be Heard (2010) Movie Script

Im tired of fearin
the walk down to the registrar.
Like payin your tuition with rolls of quarters
and socks of change isnt as cool as the flick
of your pencil signing your name on them dotted lines when...
the only lines Im familiar with are the ones outside the pantry.
Im tired of feelin like who I am
isnt worth being part of your family portrait.
Im really tired of having to debate
between dinner and carfare for school.
Its hard trying to hear the inner you
when your stomach roars.
Floors make out as makeshift beds.
I bet you would look differently at lead-paint poison
if you were 3.
Im tired of 125th Street being the borderline
between the haves and the have-nots.
Tired of who I am being where Im from
like somehow my worth isnt worth...
Im tired. -Im sick and tired.
Im tired of being sick and tired of being...
...broke. -...broke.
All right, what do you need?
With division. -Divisions, oh, crap.
8,500 divided by 5.
Let me see.
What was it?
Im the oldest of six.
I have a lot of responsibilities.
I have to be role model for the kids
and I have to help my moms out a lot in the house
cause she works, and its just overwhelming at times.
Why you have to be putting stuff that needs to be recycled
in the garbage?
Oh my God.
I live in a private house, we need to recycle.
Youll go to jail for not recycling up in here.
Stress me out. -I wouldnt know that.
Like, all we do is fight,
and I honestly thought that she didnt love me anymore,
you know, and me being 18 now, its even worse
because she thinks I dont need as much attention
when, in reality, I need a little bit, you know,
even if its a hug before I go to sleep at night.
Thatll satisfy me.
I dont want to be an adult yet.
Im 18 years old, but I dont want to be,
you know, without Mommy yet.
This is my neighborhood.
Right now Im on 173rd and Southern Boulevard,
or like my brother and them like to call it,
the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
This hood is like any other hood.
You got your hustlers, your basketball players,
your rappers, because thats, like,
the only real way to make money on this block.
Ask any of these kids.
Angel, is $6 an hour money?
Hell no! -Thank you.
When I write a poem, its like Im in somewhere
completely different than right here.
When Im writing a rhyme, its like my exit path,
thats my get-out-of-jail-free card.
This city aint helpin us do shit.
They just give us a basketball and a gun and say,
"Either shoot the basket or shoot each other."
I dont have no special pictures.
I aint got no paint.
I aint got nothing on this.
This is my bathroom.
I got a tub.
I aint got no step-in shower.
It aint the size of somebodys apartment house.
Its my sisters room, but, um,
my fathers in there,
wrapped around in a pink cover.
Hes embarrassing me, come on.
Check these signs out.
"Waiting for Mr. Right."
Skeleton. Thats me.
These are the quotes that I did.
All these are quotes
that I had everyone come to my house and give me one.
This ones one of the best that Ive got.
"The best way to make your dreams come true
is simply just to wake up."
And I wrote down all my positive traits about myself
and all my negatives.
The worst thing on this is "fear"
because I have the fear that Im not gonna be anything,
Ima fear that I might get rejected by someone or a job,
I have a fear that I might not get into college,
I might not make it in life,
Ima fear that my family will be stuck
in the ghetto forever, you know?
This is the one Im working hard to get rid of.
Warning: Put your cell phone away for me, please.
Jonathan, dont hold up the line!
And pull those pants up! Whats the matter with you?
Journal, very important.
Life-and-death situation.
Many killed.
Last week you guys were working on what, autobiographies?
Autobiographies are, in many ways,
the most important bit of writing
that every one of you guys can do.
This class is called Power Writing.
The most simple and basic way you empower yourselves
is through self-awareness.
Youre in this room to teach yourselves
how to be heard in the world.
Whats the motto of this class?
Whats on the back of your T-shirts?
If you dont learn to write your own life story,
somebody else is gonna write it for you.
This is the first chapter that youre writing now,
or the first part of the book,
then the rest is gonna be up to you guys
as you walk out into the world.
Um, were gonna divide you up into small groups,
put you with one of us, and then we need to hear
your perceptions of your world, okay?
Thats the major function of this class.
The day that I met Roland, Joe, and Amy,
I was like, "Hold on, shes white in the Bronx."
And then I saw Roland and I thought to myself,
"Who is this Shakespeare-in-the-face dude?"
I didnt know what to expect from him,
and I was really, really afraid because this was something
thats so personal to me, like, my poetry
Ive never expressed to anyone, and now I had a place
that I was supposed to pour my heart out?
I always thought poetry wasnt cool.
It was about, "Oh, my hearts
and the birds and the butterflies."
I never looked at poetry as a way to escape.
"...And I loved to hear we were going to go see him."
A lot of people in my hood, theyre just worried
about making money, getting an apartment, moving out,
but all I see for myself is bright lights and stages,
and Im not gonna settle for normal, I mean,
I gotta be extraordinary.
Hello, we need a master.
Little gangster, if youre gonna play master,
two things have to happen.
The person has to be introduced,
we clap the person in, we clap the person out.
The first poet is Anthony Pittman
with "Infatuation."
I aint never have nobody show me
all the things that you done show me,
and the special way I feel when you hold me,
we gonna always be together, baby, thats what you told me,
and I believe it.
I know this means that I am a bitch,
but... I dont care, just as long as Im your bitch,
and just as long as Im that little niche,
Ill always make you feel good like a scratch to an itch,
like the cure to the sick,
like whatever else makes you feel better.
See, we belong together like rice and beans,
like neck bones and collard greens,
like ugly people and Halloween...
You already know youre a great performer,
but this is kinda different coming from you,
the asshole of the group, to actually show
some deep emotions
with some respectable things to say, so its kinda new
and I liked it, but, okay, moving on.
Its not really a class, were a family.
They brought us into a little room
with no AC, hot-ass room,
and we realized that we have everything in common.
We grew so much at the same time,
and so were all connected in certain ways.
You know, me, Anthony, and Karina.
Its a tripod, we call it.
It means no matter what happens,
we are gonna be there for each other.
We were meant to do so much better
than just chill on a block and wish we was rappers,
wish we were stars, Im telling you,
look out for us cause were gonna be stars.
Remember that time I got naked? -I got the dollar.
I got naked on the train before. You already know that I did.
So what? I got the dollar.
You gonna strip? Go ahead.
Wait till the children-- -Go ahead.
Wait till the children get off the train.
Take it off.
Take it off, take it off!
Take it off!
Ill give you all my laundry quarters!
Take it off!
Okay, thats funny.
Tonight, were gonna be performing
at the Whitney Museum.
And, like, we havent done a public reading
in like a long time,
and Ive been dying to perform in front of a crowd.
So, starting in February,
Urban Word NYC is very proud
to be hosting the eighth annual
New York City Teen Poetry Slam.
Im never nervous, I love the attention.
I get on stage and its like Heaven.
Make some noise for Anthony Pittman, yall.
Give it up for Anthony.
Yeah, Im gonna read something for the ladies real quick.
I love the things you do.
Thats one of the reasons why I cant take
my eyes or my mind off you.
See, Im infatuated.
That shit is an emotional roller-coaster.
One day were talking about being friends.
The next day were talking about shit
that she doesnt want people to know that were talking about.
Make some noise for Karina!
This piece is called "Love."
The shaking of my leg and the trembling of my lip
and the fact that I cant stop smiling while in your presence.
I mean, I dont know if this feeling Im feeling is love yet
because we havent been together long enough to say,
but whatever this feeling Im feeling is...
Aww! -...I like it.
The special way I feel when you hold me,
we gonna always be together, baby,
thats what you showed me, and I believe it,
cause I aint never have nobody do me like you when I--
I think about you,
cause just looking at you, I think to myself,
"Your eyes are so dreamy, now come closer and kiss me."
Loving the things you saying, the way that you say them,
feeling the style you portray and the way you portray it,
and the fact that youre not mine,
goddamn, I hate it, but...
it feels good.
Anthony Pittman, yall!
Shut the fuck up!
Went out while you were sleeping.
No! -Yes, it did.
This went on in the cellar.
Look, let me see.
My daughter Karina was born
18 years ago on my birthday,
and shes like my right hand.
Shes like second mom here.
If Im not here, shes Mom 2.
Turn off the lights. Why are the lights on?
Shes very outspoken, and Ive given her that.
You know, Ive always taught my children
to let me know where Im failing at,
and I have a problem with accepting it sometimes,
especially when it comes from her,
cause she know how to get me,
she know how to hit me where it hurts.
Let me go!
Mommy, tell him to let me go.
Ill behave, Mommy.
Tell him to let me go, I promise.
Dont leave me.
They say that I was crazy, but the truth is
these walls are whats doing the trick.
Visiting time was over, and this day, like every day,
I would cry and hold onto her
until my hands were literally ripped off her jacket
and I was forced to sit in my uncles lap
until she would walk out that door and, to me,
felt like out of my life.
I look into your eyes
through the three-inch-thick glass window
and see you turn your back again,
but this time, I was expecting it.
I know that a lot of us find it really hard
to write about our families truthfully.
Sometimes there are very terrible things
that need to be said.
Its a very, very strong piece.
Im very proud of you. -Thanks.
Okay, it was a great piece.
I have some news
that I literally wanted to slit my wrist when I found out.
My mom is pregnant!
So its gonna be seven now. -There is like a thousand kids
in your house, son.
Youre gonna have to sleep in the cupboard.
Go to bed, get in the knife drawer!
Lets go, lets go, we have like seven people...
I always tell my kids every year,
as long back as I can remember,
that I really cant teach them what I know.
Its taken me my lifetime to know what I know.
But I can teach them how I know,
and then theyre on their own.
I have to understand that these kids are not mine,
and that if I dont do it, they will be fine.
I dont want to be their "When Mommys not home, youre Mommy."
I dont want to be that anymore.
Im here because I had no place to let that go.
Theres nothing that satisfies my day
than a finished piece of writing and a couple hours here.
Whenever Im upset at something, Ill write.
If I cant write, Ill turn on some music
and Ill try to dance.
If I cant do neither, Im going nuts.
Karina, this will give you permission to wear your hat
in school all day.
All right. -Whats today, the 3rd?
Then by Monday, I pray that this is gone.
What are you putting on it?
Cocoa butter, cocoa butter and ice.
Let me see it. It looks better today than it was yesterday.
Your mother beat you up?
Oh, you fucking kidding me?
Who did that to you?
With what?
Last week, Monday, me and my mom
got into a really, really bad fallout.
She got really upset because I spend a lot of time practicing.
She needs to understand that, you know,
Im always home, I do what you want me to do,
just give me my time.
Every time I would come home, she would pick a fight with me
and it just piled up to the point where I just exploded.
I just packed up some clothes and I left.
I went to school one morning and I didnt come back.
I aint been writing. My moms took my journal.
You mean, all of that drama and you didnt write it?
You know how strong your poetry gonna be
if you write about this situation?
I couldnt. I was sitting at the computer
and I couldnt even start. -Grab a pen and paper...
I cant do the pen, especially when Im like this.
Start thinking about all the shit that make you mad
and scream it. -I get frustrated.
Like, a lot of time, my strongest pieces...
I get them in the shower, and as soon as I get out
the shower, Ill be like, "Yeah, Im gonna write it down!"
As soon I get out the shower, I forget. What!
I keep my pen and paper with me everywhere.
You should see how wet my paper be.
I be washin dishes and writin shit.
Im always writin.
So when I put the foundation on, you dont get red on your face.
Holy shit, son.
Zenina, look!
It looks so nice now.
Im gonna cry and mess up my makeup!
You beat me down, beat me down,
beat me down with your mental, emotional, and physical abuse
to the point where I cant lay my head to rest at night.
Hiding bruised cheekbones and fractured ribs,
covering aching thighs that just remind me
of why they hurt so bad, and yet I remain strong,
but how many more?
How many more fractured ribs and busted lips
will I have to blame on a fight?
How many more, Ma?
They say that if you look over that rainbow,
you would see that there is no place like home.
And I say youre damn right cause
theres no place I dont want to be more.
Fine, fine.
Ill get up.
You guys suck.
Mommy, Im leaving!
So where are you off to today?
Where you going? -School.
Oh, what time you leaving? -9:30.
As a parent, I have a tendency to look at her
from a different perspective.
Im a disciplinarian.
Ive been a single parent for the majority of my life,
and, um,
I would always be the one that had to hold it down,
so I couldnt always afford to be her friend.
We fight like cats and dogs sometimes.
Its a loving war, you know.
Theres been, Im sure, periods of time she couldnt stand me
and I couldnt stand her
and we had to go to separate spaces.
Theres only four dollars on this.
Right, but the transfer is automatic, girl.
But what about when I get home?
My mama, wise woman that she was, she said
that children are not children;
theyre adults in training.
And there was no such thing as an afflicted child,
just afflicted parents.
I knew that I wanted to find people who accepted me,
who looked at me, didnt just see an overweight girl,
who gave me a chance to speak, who understood me as a person.
I needed someone to finally hear me.
So now, on this reading, whos reading first?
Pearl. -Pearl.
Okay, traditionally, what do we do?
Clap. -Why?
We clap people in. -I like to think
that we clap people in to let them know theyre home,
that you know youre home.
The first poet up is Pearl Quick
with a piece thats untitled.
See, you have my soul in the cleaners,
and some things arent meant to be cleaned by me.
You had me feeling oh, so dirty
cause you played my existence in moments
when everything you said had me falsely accused
in fairy tales of, "And they lived happily ever after."
See, Im in love with a man who aint in love with me.
Started telling me through apps and mailboxes and...
"Oh, Im sorry, I was busy,"
that you and I aint never gonna be a "we."
See, when its the end and the curtains go down
and the people are now rising out of their chairs,
its clear to see wholl be now left,
with tears streaming down their cheeks and bad reviews
cause news got out that the shorty who wrote this poem,
see, she was through.
The piece, I felt, was beautiful.
Its truly about someone whos actually fed up
of being in love with someone that doesnt love her back.
You know, Pearl, youve grown to a pretty high level
up to a few months ago, and now something--
something else has happened in your work
that Id never heard before.
What youre writing about now is much more detailed
and much more refined as you look at what it means
to be in love, to be in pain about that love,
to be frustrated.
I was there for the genesis of this piece, I believe,
and Im sorry your hearts broken.
I really am.
Yo, Ima fuck that nigga up when I see him.
People always say to me, "Well, arent you supposed
to keep a distance, and how come you know so much about them,
and why do they know so much about you?"
But, as far as Im concerned,
thats why the kids have gone where theyve gone.
Okay, um, how do you want me to start?
How do you start something like this?
Well, you can say, "As part of my participation
in Power Writing, I have gone with the group
to museums, theater pieces."
I dream of going to Sarah Lawrence.
Thats the only place that Ive ever wanted to go
since 10th grade, just to know that Id be in a place
where its, like, constant poetry and writing and reading.
Sadly I missed the deadline, so Ill do my best
at wherever I go and then transfer if I can.
Can I just drop out?
Drop out of what, life? -Yeah.
No, you cant drop out of life.
Sorry! -I cant do this.
Honey, you aint seen stress if you think this is stress.
Its stressful!
This aint a walk in the park.
This isnt a dress rehearsal.
This is your life.
You gotta get the hell out of the Bronx.
Yes, I know.
I know, I know.
My stepfather left, so theres no more income
but my sad little paycheck, and my moms on welfare,
and they tell her, "If you get a real, paying job,
then well take away your welfare,"
and we cant pay $1,500 a month--
well, I cant pay $1,500 a month.
I wanted to get better, I want to move out,
but it helps me take care of my family,
and thats more important than going away or something
for right now.
Here you go, maam. All right. -Thank you.
But maybe in about two years, I can do better
cause I cant live there anymore, like,
I love my mom, but, you know,
I really need my own.
What happens if you dont understand language totally?
It can go right past you. -The ideas go past you.
You are screwed.
You are imprisoned, you are fucked for life
if you dont get every single vocabulary word.
When you dont understand a word and you let it go,
youre just erecting one of those prison bars
right in front of your face.
These are weapons, these are stones, these are rocks.
You have to know how to use em
and you have to know how to defend yourself
when people try to use em against you.
Thats why were teaching vocabulary here,
not because you gotta take some stupid test sometime.
This is a weapon in your life.
Let me try.
Anthony made a decision that he was not gonna continue here
and so that he was not going to graduate from our school,
and that was his decision.
And I just wish that he would grow up,
that he would mature and just get over it.
Ima just go get my boys and were gonna leave.
Anthony. -Anthony.
Look at all of these people, yo,
and I cant be on campus?
No, this shit pisses me off, yo.
They treat me like Im a fucking convict or some shit.
I should slap the shit outta Brenda
and give her reason to arrest me.
Anthony, just avoid it all, please.
Im gonna tell my boy that Im leaving--
No, youre not gonna tell your boy anything.
You wanna know why? Cause your boys not gonna be
riding with you in the back of a fucking police car
when you guys get arrested.
Thats why.
Going over there to tell my boy--
So if youre political enough to write a political poem,
the politics that are in front of you right now say, "Bounce."
Youre not disappointed, you cant be hurt,
because no one can make you a nigger, no one.
No one can make you a prisoner unless you open for them.
Okay, you know, let it go, man.
Theres lots of other shit we can be angry about.
Look at me, look at my fucking face.
No (unintelligible), bounce.
Okay, cause Im tellin you, three of my favorites
left this motherfucker in a police car
cause thats the way they wanna do it.
All right, so Ill see you later then.
I just wanna chill, then we go, come on.
Being in the streets is not a good thing.
I mean, like, my father was like a real, big-time drug dealer,
and like, he got arrested I think 11 years ago,
so I havent seen him in, like, 10-11 years.
I dont know exactly when he comes out.
Like, my family doesnt really tell me.
They still think Im a child, so...
If he doesnt wise up now, Lillian,
hes not gonna graduate.
It was about us three: me, him, and Pearl.
It was a thing that we had,
thats why Im so upset right now.
It has nothing to do with you, nothing, zero.
So how you gonna say he fed you over--
Because he knows what plan we had.
It was me, him, and Pearl.
Me, him, and Pearl, we all agreed
that we were gonna be graduatin at the same time.
Pearl graduated early, all right, understandable,
but hes not doing anything.
Well, maybe hes afraid.
Im afraid, too, thats the problem!
Yo, this experience is, Im scared to death, Lillian.
I know.
I be stressed over it, I be...
Ive cried over it.
Im scared too!
He might not be graduating with the tripod,
and thats just gonna kill me.
Like, seriously.
The next stop is 176th Street.
I was on the roof with a friend of mine,
noticed some guy was asleep up there
and, like, we really didnt pay no attention,
but like, being like me, Im an asshole, so like,
I was kinda bothering him a little bit,
but, like, we didnt wake him up.
Like, my friend Angel came upstairs,
and like, was messing with his bag a little bit,
and like, he thought somebody took his bag,
so he had a knife on him, and during the fight,
I got stabbed once and cut once.
The doctor said an inch deeper
and my lungs wouldve been collapsed.
All night they were telling me I was lucky.
Sometimes I feel like my cup is full,
and being a single parent is like--
I used to hear that back in the day, be like,
"Oh, shut up, you just gotta take care of your kids,"
but now I realize that sometimes
if youre a two-family household,
being with your husband and both of you back and forth,
its like not one person, and in our community,
we tend to think we can be the mother and the dad,
and thats a myth.
We dont wanna admit it cause were strong Black women
and we have to take care of our kids, but its bullshit
and I just wish we would just tell our kids,
"No, everyone needs a support system."
I dont care if its two dads, two moms, whatever it is.
You need--you need more than one person.
And I dont want him to think, you know, I dont love him
because lately its like, "Oh, Im sick and tired of you,"
and I dont want him to just get that from me, you know.
He needs to know that Im frustrated,
and sometimes it makes me feel like a failure, like,
"What the hell are you doin wrong?"
Its like...
Im blindfolded.
Unable to see the path that I must walk, but...
unable to stop walking.
I wanted to shed my skin
so that I could become a man,
but this cocoon doesnt have any exit signs.
Seeking the easy way out has given me nothing
but hard times and hard lines to put in my poems,
but sadly, these hard rhymes dont mean shit to no one but me
because the world doesnt listen to failures.
So what are you supposed to do
when your five-oclock shadow arrives at two?
When adolescence never shows up,
and for your own good,
youre forced to grow up?
Wow, blueberries is really gonna throw me off.
I dont know, it just tastes kinda weird.
These cheeses are disgusting.
Thats "Fear Factor" food.
"Fear Factor" food!
Stay away from the Gruyre--
Swiss Gruyre cheese.
Its disgusting.
Its Pearl Quick with a piece called "Unglued."
Can I just say, on Monday will be my four weeks on a diet?
Can I just say that?
Thank you.
You got me unglued.
See, Im tricklin down train of thought
cause my bodys in a drop and Im drawing out of emotion,
asking on bended knee, "How can I finally be set free?"
Im playing heads or tails with a double-headed coin,
knowin I wont win but secretly hopin Id lose.
See, you mistook me for another happy ending.
See, I havent made a name for our so-called beginning.
So drink me full of emptiness
because I am hollow.
Im lost between him and I,
and I just wanna cop out and give up
and be what Ive been for the past 18 years:
I wanna peel my layers back
just so you can see how deep I can get.
Hand you my insecurities hoping youd know what to do with them
once you get them back, cause Im truly
all out of suggestions.
It was always a great voice.
We always were convinced immediately of your sincerity,
okay, but now you have, um, presence.
Now the full young lady is there, youre all there.
Well, youre much more comfortable in your body.
Period. -Yes, I am,
which makes it better. -It does.
I always think of, when I first knew you,
the Pearl that sat at the desk kind of curled into yourself,
who didnt speak, who didnt smile,
and...shes gone.
She was like that? -Ate the bitch.
She be gone, that Pearl is long gone.
Oh, they dont have Black people, okay, I get it.
You dont seem to understand
that the world needs you to go to their colleges.
So they can feel diversified? -Yes, thats right.
They have an obligation to become diversified.
Oh, there he is.
Oh, where, where, where, where, where?
Damn tall.
How are you? -Im good, how are you?
Are you ready for this? -Yeah.
I hope so!
This is a predominantly Jewish school.
As much as I complain about diversity on campus,
once you stop thinking of things as race and class,
you meet wonderful people,
like the people that I live with.
Im not saying, "Forget where youre from,"
Im not saying, "Forget your roots,
forget your family," but a break is necessary
where they smell the fresh air and meet some new people
who will challenge their perceptions of reality.
Thats what they need.
We create this notion that hip hop is
this big, vast, wide thing, and if I can get in on the side,
then Ill just hide out over here
without having to come through the core,
you dig what Im saying?
So if its cool for me to just tip my foot in
and be hip hop today and be somethin else tomorrow,
it really deals with our values and our beliefs,
but more importantly, it deals with stereotypes.
Culture, as a human social construct,
is an opportunity for us to enjoy how other people live
despite not being born
into the same life as those people, you know.
I can put on the clothes of Spanish culture.
I can still enjoy, become part of, and then contribute to.
I guess because I come from the hood,
I feel like were always a little skeptical.
Youre a little afraid to let someone
who isnt born in your situation come into your world
because youre afraid that, today they wanna be hip hop,
tomorrow they wanna go back to where they came from.
You see, cause I cant leave my hood.
I cant be down for a day.
You know, you gotta dig deep if you wanna become more
than what youre born into, you know?
Thank you, I mean, the way you guys
carried yourself in class today, youre ready.
And you see how confident you were
as opposed to how confident other people were,
you should see that youre ready,
and dont ever minimize where you come from
or what you do because at the end,
everybody really trying to be like you.
"In 1845, Henry David Thoreau went to work and live
at Walden Pond where he stayed for two years,
keeping a journal of his thoughts
and his encounters with nature and society,
and published them in the book Walden in 1854."
"To front only the essential facts of life,
and to see if I could not learn what it had to teach
and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
Thats really tight.
Now, what is this place called?
Wa-- -Wa--
Wa-Wa-- -Walden Pond or some shit.
Thats not no goddamn pond.
Some days when I dont want to be in someone elses world,
I write my own because thats where I was most safe,
and thats where no one made fun of me,
and thats where I was treated right,
so whenever I wrote about a girl,
she would be slim and she would be great,
and everyone would love her.
I feel like, for other people, they can mess up,
and Daddy and Mommy will bail them out,
but I dont have that.
I have to succeed,
or Im just gonna be what everyone thinks
people in the hood will always amount to be.
And I want to take care of business.
I think its time.
Ive been the same Pearl for the last eight years.
I think its time to be just a little bit different,
and Im, like, working towards a better me.
Its like we all feel before I get on stage with poetry.
Feel like Im gonna puke.
Im afraid!
The last time I did this, nothing went right!
I want to hide under my bed,
if I had an under-bed,
and if I could fit.
I cant do this, Amy.
Cant I just work forever instead?
You have to just print everything out,
put it in a folder, and were going.
Do you have a check for $65?
Im already...
Yeah, they gave me Speech, Math, Sociology, Health,
and no English because my test scores
were so high, they didnt give me no English.
They didnt give you "no English."
Maybe you could take an English class.
Yeah, I know, right.
Its all just the first step.
So I want to stay in the CUNY school
for about a year and a half because I wanna qualify
for Sarah Lawrence.
Im excited, you know.
The lady inside of the orientation room said,
"If youre doing it for anybody else,
then youre gonna fail because you have to do it for yourself."
And I know that Im ready.
This isnt a political poem.
This isnt a shout-out or whats-up or slap-fest
on Hot 97.
But broken sidewalks remind me of simple bodega dreams,
and I wanted to live in the land of the free,
home of the brave.
Now, brave men now lie six feet under
and cowards walk streets spray-painted in gold,
and hip hop played backward says "Army Reserve."
So like I said before, this isnt a political poem,
just to remind you.
Im gonna have a heart-to-heart with Anthony today.
So, what do you guys want to say?
Whats your feeling about his state in the world?
Its a crazy dichotomy.
He is a gifted sort of linguist, you know,
phenomenally creative, observant, um...
You can smell the tragedy building, you know,
its kind of, um, a genius level of perception
and an apparent inability to put
the common two-plus-twos together.
I dont think theres a fast-solve solution for Ant.
If he were my son, I would send him to the shrink.
I would say,
to tell Anthony that were his best shot,
that he has to commit to coming to poetry every Friday,
and well work with him until hes safe,
outta here, off the street.
Blunts and broads,
life and death,
either survive or dont.
See, my life is the streets,
where eatin grits with sugar is the closest
youll ever get to oatmeal, with no seals on cereal bags,
and no seeds in nickel bags,
and no serial numbers on cable boxes, VCRs,
or DVD players,
where every Black man must be a Blood
and every Hispanic male must be a King,
where a race full of kings and queens has been erased
and replaced with thugs and pimps, sluts, and bitches.
So, fuck the blunts and fuck the broads,
and fuck the get-rich-quick bullshit,
and fuck the love shown between me and my niggas
cause if it isnt the love shown between me and my peers,
then I aint with it, and fuck being a G.
Ill take my chances being me
cause even though my life is the streets,
Id give my life to get off of them.
Thank you.
You know, Ive never been through shit
that youve been through, where you can just slide over--
you can walk over a dead body and be like,
its an ordinary day.
So, the fact that you flip it at the end and you tell them,
"Well, you could stay here.
But this is my life, but I dont want to be here,
you know, and Im gonna fight hard to get off it,"
so Im very proud of you.
All right.
The way Pearl said that walking over the dead body
and it just being a regular day,
thats a reality for most of us,
and for you to actually put it down in writing
is extremely difficult.
I think that piece is hot.
Its one of the hottest pieces you have.
All of you write poetry
that is personally very powerful.
It means something to you, you all speak your own truths,
and I think Joe and Amy and I are proud
that we can support you in doing that.
Um, what this poem has
is something that I havent seen
in that many poems in this room yet,
is the ability to transform other people.
To get to the point where you write a piece
that changes other peoples lives
is really, to me,
the most wonderful accomplishment of power writing.
Thats when you become truly powerful.
Theres still time...
Its not that I dont love Anthony.
I do! -Im just going to tell you,
she calls me every day to find out
if Ive heard anything.
Yes, because you went MIA.
You scared the shit out of me.
Why she dont put on--
Why dont she act like that around me?
Because! -Why do yall girls do that?
Like, yall feel so much about a guy
and then yall dont show it in front of him.
What type of shit is that?
Its not that I want him to get a job
cause thats, like, you know what I mean?
I loved Anthony before that.
Aint enough seats.
All right, come on.
Why are you still trying to treat me
like Im some nigga that thinks that Im nothing?
Like, you listen to my poetry,
you listen to me when I talk,
youre there when Im down, youre there when Im up.
And, like, I finally found a chick
that I wanted to open my heart to again,
and shes saying I aint ready for it.
I dont want this mess around shit.
Then dont do it, then you stop it.
Then you stop it. -Thank you!
You get your shit together.
You be the man Ive always seen you as,
and you become who you want to be.
Its up to you.
Throughout the whole week,
he wont do nothing to fuck up.
As soon as we got something to do, he fuck up.
He fuck up all...
Oh my God!
I guess I know him like the back of my hand.
I know what I want in life,
and Im not moving forward with someone
thats not with me anyway, you know what I mean?
I know that hes gonna be a big star one day,
like, he has those qualities, but youre not there yet.
And he would prefer to be upstairs smoking weed.
Thats not gonna get you a job.
Thats not gonna get you out of your mothers house.
Thats not gonna get you the shit that you need
in order to get the fuck out.
Oh well.
She wanted something really cute,
but not too boyish,
so she fell in love with the Noahs Ark,
and this is his stuff.
Because the lamp and everything is gonna be over there
and the mobile could be over here.
Yeah. Got it.
The baby, you know, is just tiny,
so theres gonna be... you dont want nothin to fall.
Rockaway onesies.
I mean, who--Rockaway onesies?
Rockaway onesies?
Rockaway infant caps.
I mean, come on now.
With every child that your mother has
or is added to your family,
your heart grows just a little bit bigger
so that youll be able to love that person
just as much as you love everyone else.
Hey, even if my mother decides to have another one,
what am I supposed to do?
Im excited.
This is my little brother. -Oh, yeah.
Another little person Im gonna have to take care of.
His name is David Matthew Batelle
and hes approximately one day old.
Can you be nice and give him to me now?
Can you wait?
So burp him. -Give me him.
I didnt say I wouldnt.
She wants to act like shes a professional.
You dont know how to do it.
Im a mother. -Give me, put him here.
Shit, now youre about to have it.
Put him here. -See, youre making me...
Put him here, Mommy, put him there.
Hello. -Just put him here, look.
Im gonna embarrass you on camera.
What are you doing?
Something you dont know how to do without me.
Thats not how it goes.
I know. You know everything.
Hes supposed to be enough.
It may be because the stress that my home possesses
causes me to digest the routine verbal abuses
that I get daily, enough to fill
three niggas up at once and drink it down
with a bucket full of responsibilities
that arent mine.
God forbid I tell her no.
I hate looking in the mirror and see this beautiful girl
that everyone else sees when I dont.
I hate the fact that my mother knows
that when she calls me "anorexic"
it hurts my feelings and I cry,
but she does nothing to avoid the situation.
I know that I cant love someone else
until I love myself first, but I dont.
I dont want to hate to have to go home
to this stressful place.
And I eat a fucking bowl of cereal
without thinking about a fucked-up problem in my life
to then lose my appetite.
I want to be able to eat as I please.
But, see, this problem cant be correct
until Im pleased with me.
The safe space part of it is, from my point of view,
the most important thing
and that we take that safe space into the world,
and they see that the safety is really within them,
that they can learn to create that safe space
within their own hearts and their own bodies
and their own minds.
And thats what we want them to do.
Pain in the ass.
Come so I can put this on your lips.
Im not putting that gloss on my lips.
I dont like sticky. -Look.
Put a--just put a dab.
Im gonna punch you in your face
if its sticky, so you better run now.
Just put a dab, Karina, thats Avon, man.
It costs money, eight dollars for a lip gloss.
Dont you look pretty!
You look so good!
Thats my sister.
It goes on your jacket.
Eat it, dammit. -God, this nigga look like
a pimp today!
Pimp daddy mack up in this mother, woo-wee!
Im about to cry, dont play with me.
Oh my God, this is beautiful.
Look at me, daughter.
Shit, thats a beautiful couple.
Jesus, have mercy.
I got to save these photos.
Put on the jacket, please. -Its hot.
Whyd you wear the white tie?
Its supposed to be out a little bit.
Karina, youre not married.
Stop being so demanding.
Its supposed to be like that, and put on the jacket
cause I want you to look nice when we go outside.
It always felt like she wanted me to fail.
I go around her and shell be like,
"Aye, what you looking like that for?"
And then shell hug me.
And Ill tell her like always, "Get off me!
You always do this!
You always make me cry."
And then she says to me,
"Youre grown.
Gotta cut the cord."
Karina Sanchez.
But thats my mom, I learned to accept it.
Ive learned that I can choose what I want to be around
and what I choose not to.
For the most part, I know who my mother is.
You know...
Love it or shove it, you know?
I had my preliminaries yesterday
and everybody want to bring the cameras today?
Guess whos in the semifinals?
Ill fix it later.
Guess whos in the semifinals?
What? -Ive got to memorize
that poem
The poem was good when I was reading it,
but after I memorize it, like, it is so different now
and so much stronger.
All right, so this is the semifinal round
of the eighth annual teen poetry slam.
Folks got three minutes to rock the mic.
No props, no costumes, no musical accompaniment.
Just yourself, your body, your words, your voice.
You know, I recently lost my job
and my bills are killing me,
and I watch him sitting here.
And to me, you have to go to work, go to school,
preferably both, but you got to pick something.
You cant just live here and watch me
provide for everybody.
All right, yall, put your hands together
right now for Anthony Pittman.
Im from the show-me state with Anthony right now.
I feel so bad.
I want to be right there with my heels
and my pom-poms, but, ugh, it just really pisses me off
that hes just kind of waiting around
for the next big poetry gig.
Since when has being locked up become an accomplishment?
We need to stop the nonsense
and become conscious to our surroundings
because if you havent noticed yet,
that angry Black man shit is played out.
That angry Black man shit will either get you laid out
or laid up in a room the size of a queen-size mattress
with a metal sink and a metal toilet to piss in,
sleeping in the same room that you shit in.
Fuck what you feel because we are still gonna prosper
because I have been to my mountaintop
and I have had my dream
that the hip-hop generation will gain its respect
by all means necessary.
So, in no particular order, the seven poets going on
to the finals from today are Nicole Lacosta.
Come on up here.
Give it up for Anthony Pittman.
Give it up for Devon the Poet.
Now, the last finalist, give it up for Boylan Gomez.
You know what that is?
You know what that means?
That means Im a finalist, yo.
Two years ago, I didnt even make it
past the preliminaries.
This year Im a finalist, yo.
We got the cam, yo.
Im proud of you.
Fuck whoever said I wasnt gonna make it,
including my mom, I aint shit.
I aint shit?
Im a fucking finalist.
What she fails to realize is Im not my father.
I have things going my way.
Thats why I try to sort of--
I try to surround my whole life with poetry.
I try to go everywhere theres poetry, every time.
If theres nothing to do,
that means I have to stay in the hood.
I dont think your mother connects the dot
between powerful words
and being able to do
what you need to do in your life.
The funny thing is,
theres a strong connection between those two.
I cant live without poetry.
Poetry is like rehab.
I dont care what position Im in
as long as I get to read tonight.
Two years and Im finally here, yo.
Im so focused... -Use that! Use that!
No fuck-ups.
Im gonna go dumb strong.
On one-minute pieces of shit.
Lets go.
The anxiety is killing me.
But lets go.
You feel me, right?
Im just ready to go.
Im not talking about that cute
"they met and fell in love" blood.
Im talking about that slave raped six times by the massah,
birthing six mixed babies then were hung blood.
Started kicking as I stood at the end of subway cars,
train swerving back and forth.
I can hear the heartbeats of the people...
After a certain point, if certain things
have happened to you, you stop being afraid.
The closer you get to death,
the less you become afraid of life.
I go for whatever I want now.
Like, if I feel thats what I want,
thats what Im gonna go after
cause, like, Im not afraid anymore.
Come on, Anthony!
Youve got everybody looking at the hip-hop culture
as if were a bunch of thugs with our pants below our ass,
but what theyre not recognizing
is the difference between us.
And yall can see me.
Poetry is my job.
I wear these clothes because I like them,
and the only reason why my pants hang low
is cause Im skinny and my belt doesnt come
with enough holes.
See, nowadays, every color bandana means something.
And a do-rag in a fitting makes old women grab their purse
so tight that their knuckles turn white.
So fuck being a Blood and fuck being a Crip.
Im gonna let my words bleed out my pen
until it cripples the perception of the ignorant
because I have been to my mountaintop
and I have had my dreams that the hip-hop generation
will gain its respect by all means necessary.
My fucking God!
Oh, shit!
Oh my God.
I need to calm down.
Without further ado, Cain Smith is gonna announce
the top scoring poets.
So, yall make some noise for Tahani Simone...
Anthony Pittman.
Fucking amazing, yo!
Oh my gosh.
Yo, that makes me one of the top ten poets
in all the world.
All over the world.
Are you offering to plead guilty
to the fact that you attempted
to engage in sexual intercourse
with a person who was less than 15 years old?
And at that time, you knew that person
was less than 15 years old, is that correct?
You dont have to, but its up to you.
I can say anything that I want?
What do you want to say?
Anthony, we love you.
We want you to know we know a lot of things
that they didnt know and we love you.
Youll be all right.
Im sorry that when I finally got my life together
that it messed up again.
But now that I know that I can get my life together,
when I get out again, Im gonna change.
Thats it, Your Honor. -Friggin bullshit.
The sentence of the court is one and one half years
in state prison and three years
post-release supervision.
That is the sentence of the court.
For me, as a person, I believe you have to have
a moral center, an ethical posture
that essentially begins with the idea
that I want for your child what I want for mine,
and, um, I proceed from that.
In every transaction with my students,
I want for yours what I want for mine.
And, um, given the Darwinian nature of our culture,
I guess at some level, what Im saying
is I want your childs chance to survive
and thrive in America to be equal to the chance
that we struggle so hard to provide
for our own children.
Her thighs held fingerprints of a soulless man.
And shes willing to give up hers
if it will have him stay just a little bit longer.
She is way past numb.
That was a really good take. -Really good?
Let me make a couple of edits, and well listen to it.
You gave her a death sentence.
I wish it was me instead of her.
I wish it was me.
I blamed you
and I think I still do.
That was good.
That was really good.
I told you it was hot.
Wrap it up.
This is so cool! -This one is yours.
I know, Im so excited.
Yeah, I did a really great essay.
I sent in some of my poetry and everything,
so everything should go well.
...Manhattan bound.
Yes, sir.
Its a really great school for writers and poetry,
and thats what I am, Im a writer and a poet.
Its a liberal arts school.
Yeah, but its more for me.
Round tables.
Makes me feel like part of a family.
This is a great day.
Im so happy.
Im so excited!
Oh, I did so well.
Amy Sultan!
Im standing in front of it.
I did it!
Im so excited, Amy.
It was four in the morning
and she beat the shit out of me.
She made my eye puffy.
My nose was bloody.
I think she busted my lip.
Four in the morning, she didnt give a shit
where I went.
She told me to leave.
Get out! Get out!
Oh, I want to kill this bitch.
Get out!
Thats all she do is fuck shit.
Im gonna break your motherfucking habits.
Go ahead, go ahead.
Three days later, I had no more clothes,
so I had to go back to my mothers house
and pick up some things.
Then, when I go upstairs into the house,
my bags were already packed.
I didnt know where I was gonna go.
And so I asked Alex if he could help me,
and I just left.
Our living conditions arent ideal,
but I dont have to make no bottles,
I dont have to change no ass.
Im pretty good, you know?
This was his closet, just with my touch.
Piggy bank, thats how you do it.
I forgive her for a lot of the stuff shes done to me,
but it doesnt mean I have to deal with it.
I dont have to forget either.
You feel almost like cows.
I feel like Im put out to pasture.
Im really the property of somebody else.
They strip you of humanity, dignity, everything.
Like, Pearl, its always gonna be my conscience.
Karina is always gonna be in my heart.
Do you know how it feels when you get a letter
and she writes "laugh out loud,"
and you can hear her laugh?
That shit kills you.
You cant just have that shit.
Man, this shit is making me emotional.
Im gonna cry just talking about
the shit that I miss, like...
...pigeons, I hated the pigeons.
I miss them shits now.
In order for me to prove that I am the man
that I say I am,
I have to do it myself.
Im strong enough to live through it,
but Im not made for this shit.
Im made for much more.
"Dear Pearl, it is with regret
that we are unable to offer you admission
to Sarah Lawrence College."
I hate the "we were not able to admit
all of the talented students who applied."
Thats just so crappy.
They make you seem like, "Oh, you were really great too,
but it just wasnt enough."
And I always think, I just imagine who they did,
you know, who really did get in.
Im trying to think of the kind of people
who are better than me, like, no,
I dont really know anyone.
Like, Im just, like, my application was so full,
and Im just so confused,
and they dont give you a real answer.
You know, yesterday was a bad day.
You know, its really hard to know that you cant go
to your dream school, but I also realize
that I did everything I could.
It just didnt happen my way, sadly.
For a long time, I didnt think he even cared
about what I went through.
Then, he writes me a letter and, "I hope youre serious
about coming up to visit me.
I dont want anything.
I write to complicate things between us.
Maybe this is how shit is supposed to be.
You found someone that makes you happy,
and even though that person isnt me,
I wish you the best.
You dont know how much your letters mean to me.
Thanks for still caring.
Oh, yeah, I quit smoking."
Youre only as strong as your weakest link,
and he, right now, is our weakest link.
And we have to make sure that hes better
when he comes home because if not,
then how is a tripod gonna stand
with just two legs?
It was hard.
Im not used to seeing him like that,
you know, and I felt bad.
I mean, in the beginning, I was kind of mad at him,
you know, cause he put himself in this situation,
but its like why throw salt on a wound, you know?
This is a poem he wrote.
Its untitled.
And it starts off:
They say dreams are the doorways to future
if you possess the right keys,
but this nigga lost his set.
So, now, his thought bubbles are filled with blank spaces,
and his poetry books are filled with blank pages,
and his voice is left on mute.
No longer a baby boy, he lays before the tombs of men
who made it possible to say the things
he couldnt say before,
so, now, he speaks with a tongue
that rebels supplied him with.
If you ask him now why he writes,
youll have to listen cause you wont hear him speak,
but you could almost hear his pen whispering.
When I first heard of it, I was in Butner, North Carolina,
doing a 15.5-year sentence for conspiracy
to sell and deliver crack cocaine.
So I told him that, you know, once I get out,
I can never bring back the time that we missed,
but I can make it better for the time that we have.
No one never wants to see their child in harms way,
but with prayer and faith,
I knew that hes gonna make it out just fine.
Mr. Pittman, youre soon to be released from jail.
You have your entire future in front of you,
and its my hope that youll be able to resolve
and put behind you all of this and continue the good work
that I understand that you have been doing.
And you, from this point onward,
will be the author of your own destiny.
I do truly hope that you are successful,
and I do truly hope never to see you again.
You see it, right?
I dont want people to judge me for my crime.
Im not mad that that paper says I am.
I know a whole lot of shit is gonna change between now
and five years from now,
that as long as Im living my life
the way I want it to be lived and Im not in trouble,
thats how I want my life.
Oh my gosh.
Dont cry.
No reason to cry, Im here, ya hear?
I missed you, Pearl.
In jail, I didnt want to watch Cops and shit like that.
If you dont understand how it is to be a Black man
in America, you have no idea
what a tiger feels like in a zoo.
Ill punch yall in the face.
I see that look.
We cant talk about those kind of jokes
for about a year, a year and a half?
Cant talk about that shit ever because I lost my freedom
cause some little bitch said some crazy shit.
And Im gonna call her a little bitch
for the rest of my life.
Give me my jacket.
Youre gonna leave because I said that?
Im leaving. -Yall dont understand
what it feels like to lose your freedom
because somebody else said some crazy shit.
I didnt expect to hear "it was her fault."
Anthony, you have to own up.
You understand? -I own up every day.
No, but see, just you saying, "Well, it wasnt my fault.
She looked this age..."
I never said it wasnt my fault.
I know what I did.
I know what I did,
but the people that I trust the most
cant see shit from my point of view.
Its not even seeing it from your point of view.
You just told me... -Its not seeing it
from your point of view, Anthony.
Im gonna shut it down right now
so we aint got to even talk about this no more.
Just because youre females, youre gonna look at it
from the female perspective no matter what.
You got nerve. -You just told me that.
Shes 18 in my mind.
She tells me shes 18.
You tell me youre 18 and we have sex,
and I get locked up the next day
because you lied to me,
I was wrong?
It still stands, Anthony. -I was wrong?
The situation could have been avoided.
With us being here, your best friends,
okay, your best friends.
If we were truthful a hundred percent with you
before this shit happened, you should have--
you should have expected us to be
a hundred percent with you now.
I expect it, but I still got to say my piece and...
I know that youre angry, and I know that, you know,
youre going through a lot, and Im not here
to put more pressure on you.
Im just saying you went in, and we were a tripod,
and you left us out here.
And, yeah, we were angry.
Of course we were angry.
For me, you know what you did?
First time ever, you stood here and you said it.
Ive never--even in your letters,
youve never said it to me, "Pearl, I fucked up."
And thats the first time youve ever said it.
Come on, Ive got to think about this shit every day.
Every day I know I fucked up.
I wasnt wrong, but I fucked up.
Youre gonna try to see it from my perspective,
but you never lived through what I just lived through.
You will never understand why Im as angry as I am.
I was legally a slave for 18 months.
Niggas laughed at my nigga.
This aint a joke, this aint a game.
Ive got to do this shit for the rest of my life now,
my nigga.
If I move and dont tell the police
that Im a sex offender, Im going to jail.
I cant even see the students on Friday, nigga.
My life is completely fucked up
for the rest of my life.
I love you, nigga, always, you know?
Youre crushing my glasses.
Theres a bunch of people who are new here, right?
Raise your hand if this is your very first class.
Okay, one, two, three, four.
Power writing is about taking control of your life
in this world, period.
Its about using the power that you have
that people absolutely do not want you to use.
I am so over...
I love this place.
Lets go look at all the rooms.
Like, I just woke up one day and I just realized
that I just dont want to die
before I do something great, you know?
Im not gonna give up.
Smith, Vassar, Sarah Lawrence were the three schools
I wanted to apply to,
and Im gonna apply to all of them.
I feel like Im gonna learn something
that Ive never learned before.
I want everyone who reads my work to start thinking,
"Shes grown up a bit."
Im gonna do things on my own and help myself
in becoming a better writer.
The object is not to have them become great writers.
Not everybody is gonna be a great poet,
but everybody can become a fuller human being
with more confidence in themself.
And our route into that is through controlling language.
If you dont control language in this world, you go to jail.
Whether its a physical jail or a mental jail
doesnt really matter.
PO Bronx to area office.
I will not leave the state of New York or any state
to which I am released or transferred
without permission.
Number 11, I will permit my parole officer to visit me
at my residence and/or place of employment.
Its gonna be a whole lot easier
once I get my own apartment.
Then Im gonna stay in my house all day.
Yeah, Im gonna be on the phone a lot,
reading a lot, writing a lot.
Ill go to work, go to college, and then go home.
My real goal is to have my students pass
the test of life, to have them survive America
at a very special level far beyond near subsistence.
We really hope to produce literate, ethical,
politically motivated students,
people that are gonna be conscious,
people that are not gonna settle
for the way the world is,
but rather use their information
to change the world.
Can I look at it? -Mm-hm.
You sure? -Mm-hm.
Okay. Did you write in it? -Mm-hm.
I gave Tatiana, Imani, and Hector journals.
I strategically gave Hector this journal.
He wrote in the red something he was mad about,
and in the pink he wrote something he was feeling
really lovely about.
Because Im not home, I kind of lose
lots of precious time with them
and that if I have this, you know,
I kind of keep them close to me.
You want to read one?
Okay. "Sometimes my mom gets mad at me,
but sometimes I cant take it and so I just start crying.
But my mom says, Dont cry.
What are you crying for?
Nobody did anything to you.
And I said, Because I get nervous a lot.
Every day I help her out
and make sure that we survive in this world forever."
I know that theres a lot of things in life,
not even just home, in life that may bother you
and tick you off, and I just want you to know,
like, instead of getting mad about it like you used to,
you can just be like, "You know what?
Know what? Screw you!"
Im not gonna get mad.
Yeah, dont get mad, just write.
I live with the hopes of one day
looking into the eyes of my future
and not seeing pain and anguish,
to see a day worth waking for and live a life worth living.
I live to write my own life story,
for no one else knows what it is
to breathe the air that hurts my lungs,
to bear this weight I balance in the space
between my shoulders and eventually become
the woman Ive always dreamed of being.
I live to connect,
to love, to feel.
I am a poet.
I live to write.
Its been a long, long time
since I been back around the way.
Its been a long time
since I been back around the way.
This is eventually gonna be
part of your autobiography.
So anything you feel that this class,
your new family, should know about you,
like, "This is me and these are my struggles.
I want you to hear it."
And just start writing.
As soon as you get those first couple words out,
just let it flow.
Itll leak after that like a faucet.
Since I been back around the way.
Its been a long time.
Let it spin, let spin, let it spin.
Long time, long time.
Long time.
Yeah, struck by the luck of the draw.
Real-life preservation, what Im hustling for.
My name, black thought the definition of raw.
I was born in South Philly on a cement floor.
We had nothing at all, I had to knuckle and brawl.
They swore Id fall or be another brick in the wall,
another life full of love that lost.
Thats silly, this Philly.
Yall really aint stoppin the boy
with the pen like Willie on top of the hall.
Pure soul is what the citys most popular for.
Hear the tones that will ease you.
Smooth as Bunny Siglers soundtrack.
Keepin your head boppin and all.
And its something in the water.
Where I come from
they used to sing it on the corner,
yo, where I come from.
Making somethin out of nothin
because everybody fifty cents away
from a quarter where I come from.
Yeah, the streets aint timid, but I feel at home in it.
Gotta see a couple people, I aint got at in a minute.
Yeah, you can take a brother out of South Philly,
cant take it out of him really.
I forever represent it and its...
Its been a long, long time
since I been back around your way.
Its been a long time
since I been back around your way.
Its been a long time.
A long time.
Long time.
Live and direct, I dont need no mic check.
Remember mommy told me, "Peedi, you aint write that."
It started in the bathroom taking a dump.
Listening to Ultramagnetic, ego tripping.
You wont pressure my word,
Im the urban version of you chump.
Stomped on a different ground, sound second to none.
The synthesizers tweet to improvise your feet.
I calculated every lyric to arrive on a beat.
Its free, come get high on me.
Before a nine millimeter shell hit my Pelle Pelle in the P.
Yeah, its somethin in the water though
where I come from.
They used to sing it on the corner though
where I come from.
Making somethin out of nothin
because everybody fifty cents away
from a quarter, yo, where I come from.
Its just a natural reaction for crack to make it happen.
Let the pen ink sink into the paper of the pad.
Think back when I was younger,
ghetto could have took me under,
but Peedi cant mess with North Philly, never had.
You dont know about me, you aint stroll my streets.
I look familiar, I feel ya, long time, no see.
Its been a long, long time
since I been back around the way.
Its been a long time
since I been back around your way.
Its been a long time.
A long time.
Long time.