Name: Aldavina

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Reviewed by Aldavina

You massage the universes spine the way you twirl through time and leave shadows on the sun Saul Williams demonstrates his gift of poetry in, by Marc Levin, as he plays the part of Ray Joshua, a gifted poet fending for himself in the ghettos. Ray is caught with a possession of marijuana and is put in jail. This movie shows the life of Ray Joshua from the time he is selling drugs just to get by, to the time he flees from the scene where his friend is shot in the head. Through the course of this amazing story, he meets a woman who helps him realize the amazing talent that he has, and encourages him to share his talent with the world. This movie shows how the forces around Ray Joshua define who he decides to be and how he decides to live his life.

SLAM demonstrates how society affects those who live in the ghettos. One issue that this movie critiques is how messed up the system is. In this story, Ray is caught with marijuana and is then put in jail. He is told by his public defender that if he tries to fight it, he will be faced with more than 10 years in prison, and even if he was found innocent, then he would still have to serve of a minimum of 2-3 years in prison. Here, through this story, he shows just how screwed up the system is, and that whatever we do, and no matter how innocent we are, there is no way to get out of the trap that they have set up.

In Rays case, the force that tries to define him is the community that he is from. He doesnt come from a wealthy community, and he doesnt have a job so the only way he could think of fending for himself is if he sells drugs. Selling illegal drugs is his only means of surviving, and he also comes from a community where drugs are easily accessible. He gets caught up in the mix, and when he ends up in prison, he realizes that he doesnt want to live life playing anymore. He tells one of his friends in jail that he doesnt want to join any gangs in jail just to protect himself, and neither does he want to be in the whole drug business thing. He begins to regain control in his life when he realizes that the way that he has been steering himself in life the way that he wants to continue to go through his life. He begins to define himself and take a turn for the better instead of resulting to violence when he begins to recite one of his poems while he is in jail. At that time he was about to either get killed or hurt badly, but instead, when everyone saw what he was speaking of they all backed down.

One theme that this movie successfully portrays is the theme of slavery and how the system [the government] has their eyes peeled, hungry for more people to lure into their traps. The theme of slavery shows up multiple times through the course of the story, for example, when we see Ray and his girlfriend at an outing with many other people learning about African history and how they used to be slaves. There were pictures depicting the slaves and showing where they used to be kept in slave ships. When extracting the meaning of one of Ray's (Saul Williams) poems, Amethyst Rocks, we can see how he talks about slavery and how the white people took the black people from their native country. He says, "Stealing us was the smartest thing they ever" and then he goes on to say, too bad they dont teach the truth to their kids. The he was talking about are the white people who captured the slaves in Africa and then brought them here to America. Then Saul goes on to say that they know what they did and how it was wrong, but still even now they find a way to keep the blacks in slavery and still have slavery be present in our society by keeping control of the system and how it works.

This movie told the story of an amazing young man trying to beat the system and ultimately attempt to do whatever he can to not become another statistic and be involved. My favorite part of the movie was when he was about to get beaten up in jail but then managed to stop the violence by means of reciting his slam poem. I loved his poem, and even now I continue to read the poems that he has published because they have feeling in them and he truly believes in what he is speaking of. I can personally relate to this story in the sense that I too come from an impoverished community and I have to struggle and fight immensely not to become another figure on a statistical chart. I too am trying to beat the system. This movie does a great job at exposing the flaws that the system has and also how unfair it is. Things are not always as they seem, like ho they are when we see justice being served on television shows. Things are a lot different in the real world. I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone who is interested in slam poetry, or anyone who is interested in learning about the struggles that people go through in their everyday lives just to survive.

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