A new program on youth slam poetry is set to debut on HBO next month. The seven-part series "New Voices," narrated by rapper Queen Latifah, follows forty-four slam teams from seven cities as they advance toward the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival held last year in Washington, D.C.
The annual slam competition, now in its thirteenth year, is sponsored by San Francisco-based literary arts nonprofit Youth Speaks. The organization teamed with Russell Simmons, creator of the HBO program Def Poetry, which showcases performances by spoken word poets, to create the new series.
"Youth Speaks is thrilled to be working with HBO on this historic project," said James Kass, the organization’s founder and executive director, in a press release. "This is a story about some of the greatest teen poets in the country, about the remarkable voices of our young people—the voices of twenty-first century America."
The first episode of "New Voices," which premiered last night at Sundance Cinemas in San Francisco, will air on April 4.