For seven years our camera followed several new young songwriters and poets around New York City as they used the creativity of their words to promote change….. and interweaved their stories with an earlier generation that paved the way. These are just a few of those stories.
"As a child, I was conditioned to just follow the rules, to be very quiet, and not make any trouble. As I grew up I became committed to politics, wanting our whole political system to change. I decided that if I came to New York City, that I would sing in the subways - and then try to get others to use their voices for change as well."
"I love to write subversive poetry, poetry that gets people fired up. I'll get a book on a particular ideology or event in history and write a poem about it, and try to merge the two. I just take words that I see and things I feel, and tie it all together. I want to give words to this generation that lacks words."
"When the Weavers first got together we sang about what we believed in--the politics of humanity coming together, about unions, about peace. Because of that we were called Communists and even disc jockeys wouldn't play our records."
"I ended up reading my poetry in a coffee house which was the Gaslight Café. It attracted Allen Ginsberg who was the mayor of poetry in Greenwich Village, and Jack Kerouac . I remember when Bob Dylan first came in. He was wearing Woody Guthrie's underwear, and had a sign on his guitar that said 'this machine kills Fascists.'"
"When I was growing up I never really fit the mold I came out of, that suburban template. I always wanted to know what's out there, what's going on behind the curtain. I hope my song lyrics inspire people to look beneath the surface of things. Not just accept what's right in front of them but to look deeper."
"I grew up in the Bronx, New York the youngest of 8 children. I got into writing poetry when I was nine because I think it's poets who speak truth about what goes on in the world. Racial profiling is definitely a huge injustice for me. I work with children. So when I see a lot of things like gun violence or gang violence it really makes me want to use my poetry to spark a change."
"In the early 60s there was a folk music revival in Greenwich Village. People wrote and performed songs that expressed how unjust the whole segregation thing was in the South. There was a war in Vietnam and people sang about that as well. It changed the whole mindset of America."