***Video Contains Adult Content***
I checked out the Punanny Poets this past weekend during a midnight show at the Crucible in Washington DC. The midnight show was available at the last minute due to the large response which resulted in the earlier 8pm show to be sold out within days.
I had heard of the Punanny Poets years ago and was aware of their appearance on HBO's popular show Real Sex. However, I had never seen them before this past weekend and had no idea about the story behind the show.
To begin, the show is put together by the poet in the video above-- Jessica Holter. A Howard University alum, Holter created the show in 1995 as a spectacle for Black women specifically to become engaged and entertained. In response to the staggering statistics that list Black women as the demographic getting AIDS above others, Holter was fully aware of the impact this news had on the sexuality of heterosexual Black women. Add on top of that, Holter told her audience last weekend, the prevalence of men who are on the "down low"-- having sex with men while in relationships with women-- Black women are really burdened and traumatized to the point of giving up on exploring or even feeding their sexual natures.
The Punanny Poets definitely gives voice to Black sexuality. And then some. It is kinky. It is crude and lusty. It is straight nasty most times. But, the show, always, is entertaining. Not for the prude or straight-laced, the show is definitely an expression like no other. After comparing my experience of the show with some girlfriends who have seen the show in other cities and at other times, I've learned that the show is also relative to the actors and poets who are performing.
During the show I attended last weekend, the poet LOVE who hails from Baltimore was one of the featured poets. She was, by far, the stand-out star of the night. Bo "MF" Ellis was also another stand-out. You can check out his trademark poem in the video below.