3-minute interview with Marc Bamuthi Joseph

The list of accomplishments (National Poetry Slam champion, San Francisco Poetry Grand Slam winner, Broadway veteran) is nearly as long as the job descriptions (hip-hop artist and dancer, activist, teacher, poet) for the San Francisco-based artist. At the age of 10, he understudied Savion Glover for “The Tap Dance Kid.” The 31-year-old will end his world tour of “Scourge,” his solo work of spoken word and dance, Saturday at the ODC Theatre in the Mission district.

Are you sad to see “Scourge” come to a close? Yes and no. No, because I’ve made art that I love but yes because I’m eager to premiere my next piece [“The Breaks,” a personal account of his global travels influenced by S.F.-based writer Jeff Chang’s “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop,” a history of hip-hop].

What was it like as Glover’s understudy? He was the coolest kid in the world and he introduced KRS-ONE and Boogie Down Productions to me.

What is hip-hop outside the U.S.? There’s some mimicry to the MTV dance style but it’s also folkloric, political and much more grass roots. There are fewer resources for global artists and it’s more about expression.

Favorite experience in your travels? In Bosnia. I traveled there in 1999; Sarajevo was in shambles. It was the first time for me in a war zone. I was thrust there to teach spoken word at workshops to Bosnian youth, who had been experiencing similar tragedies. Using poetry, dance and music, the kids excavated their tragedies and found it very therapeutic.


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