January 21, 2014

The Revolutionary Work of Saul Williams. ~ Heather Grimes {4 Memorable Videos}

“Regardless of how much I might dodge classification, the one label that I tote freely is that of being an artist. And it is the art of self expression that has heightened my experience on this planet and fueled my understanding of love, compassion, and humanity.”

~ Saul Williams

I can’t help but to contemplate the revolutionary work of Saul Williams. He goes unflinchingly after the tough topics of inequality, injustice and civil rights using a variety of modes of expression: poetry, music and wildly inspiring stage performance.

In short, this man is a force.

He is constantly creating and has the unequivocal power to move me. Regardless of where I’m at in my own mind when I watch him, he pulls me up to something bigger.

I can’t help but to share some of his words, his message, his spirit. Especially today.

Saul on performance:

“Acting, my first love as an artist, has allowed me insight into the nature of humanity. The many roles I have played, especially in theatre, exposed me to aspects of my own character before I even lived through enough experience to discover traits within myself.”


Black Stacey.

When I first watched this one, I went face-first into the carpet over my tangle of legs in the urgency with which I was trying to get up the stairs to show Jesse. We watched and he said, simply, Wow.

And you can call your gang, your posse and the rest of your crew.
And while you’re at it get them addicts and the indigent too. I plan to have a whole army
By the time that I’m through to load their guns with songs they haven’t sung.


Coded language.

This one is relatively new to me, and like an incredibly lengthy koan. Each time I watch it, mine it, another gem is left sifted in the pan.

Your current frequencies of understanding outweigh that which as been given for you to understand. 

The current standard is the equivalent of an adolescent restricted to the diet of an infant. 

The rapidly changing body would acquire dysfunctional and deformative symptoms and could not properly mature on a diet of apple sauce and crushed pears 

Light years are interchangeable with years of living in darkness. 

The role of darkness is not to be seen as, or equated with, Ignorance, but with the unknown, and the mysteries of the unseen.


Sha-Clack-Clack, from the 1998 movie, Slam.

I was 21 when the movie Slam came out. I was a fledgling writer and called myself a poet though I was still very much a child, using words to impress others or as a limited medium to express my confusion and vacillating depression. Watching Slam was my first real experience of seeing—feeling— the power that words can evoke. It was a radical paradigm shift.

(I was unable to find a clear and audible clip without subtitles.)

I am before that, I am before
I am before before
Before death is eternity, after death is eternity
There is no death there’s only eternity
And I be riding on the wings of eternity



This one, put aptly, blows my mind into a heap of indecipherable bits and dust. The audience’s participation becomes a part of the piece.

Diamond studded teeth strewn like rice at karma’s wedding.

The ring bearer bore bad news.

Minister of information wrote the wrong proclamation.

Now everyone’s singing the wrong song.


So, thank you to Saul. And to all the men who have in the past and continue to relentlessly offer their words, put their heads on the chopping block again and again with the pure intention of inspiring movement.

And it is from that movement: Change. Within us and beyond us.

He was quoted as saying:

“Intelligence is intuitive, you needn’t learn to love

unless you’ve been taught to fear and hate.”

There is oh-so-much more to Saul than what I shared here. Look him up for yourself.


Love elephant and want to go steady?

Sign up for our (curated) daily and weekly newsletters!


Editor: Bryonie Wise


Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Heather Grimes  |  Contribution: 11,600