Urban Grinds own Jon Goode on Black in America

Urban Grind would like to congratulate, HBO Def Poet and one of Urban Grinds Open Mic Poetry Host, Jon Goode, for his role in CNN’s Black in America.
We wish Jon continued sucess in his career and are glad that he is apart of the Urban Grind family. Salute!

Please check the article below and click on watch Jon Goode perform live, to see Jon perform a poem at Urban Grind.
(You can see the original article and behind the scene footage of Jon Goode at
We’d love to hear from you. Did you watch Black in America? What did you think? Was it what you expected, more or less? Has your perspectives changed as a result of the show, if so how? What action if any do you plan to take after watching the show? Did you enjoyed Jon’s role? Leave a comment for Jon if you’d like.

By Dana Rosenblatt CNN

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) — In a small independently-owned coffee shop on the corner of one of Atlanta’s urban pockets, a group of would-be poets come together at open mic night for an evening of poetry and rhymes.

Emmy-nominated spoken word poet Jon Goode appears in CNN’s “Black in America” series.
It’s one of the monthly gatherings at Urban Grind coffee house that has lured talent as spoken word emerges from the underground.

Artists such as Tommy Bottoms, Goldie, Chas, Nukola, and TheresaThaSongbird take turns at the microphone testing their poetic skills. These new bohemians of varying talent coin rhymes about subjects ranging from AIDS and prostitution, to high gas prices and the pangs of unrequited love.

But it was the MC who got the most props that night.

Jon Goode rounded out the evening to much laughter and applause with a lyrical diatribe about his mom and the nostalgia of his youth:

“Kids will be kids but moms will be moms, you can did what you did and mom’s gonna show you right from wrong.

‘But Billy mom let him stay out for an extra few.’

‘I don’t give a damn what Billy momma do, I will beat you, I will beat Billy, I will beat Billy momma too!’

That’s how my mom used to do.”

Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Goode studied economics and finance at James Madison University in Virginia. His Southern-laced vernacular alludes to a rural upbringing. His bookish style — starched short-sleeve button up with tie, wire-rimmed glasses and a straw boater hat — is straight out of a Harper Lee novel. Watch Jon Goode perform live ยป

Black in America
CNN’s Soledad O’Brien examines the successes, struggles and complex issues faced by black men in America — 40 years after the death of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Watch tonight, 9 p.m. ET

Friends liken him to “a civil rights leader that listens to rap music.” Goode’s spoken word performances are drawn from a collection of personal stories, most of which are true, he says.

The seasoned wordsmith rose through the ranks to deliver his rhymes to the spoken word mainstream. He’s done writing stints and made appearances for Nike, Nickelodeon and CNN’s “Black in America.”

But it was after an appearance on HBO’s “Def Jam Poetry” that Goode really started to get noticed. Goode says the trek to renown was not easy. For several years, he sent the same demo tape to HBO, hoping to get picked up on Def Poetry Jam. They told him he needed to be more animated, theatrical.

It was not until he filled in on a radio show that he was noticed by an HBO executive, who asked Goode for another tape. Goode passed along the same one he had been sending them for the past four years.
“He [the HBO executive] took it home and said, ‘that was dope,’ ” recalls Goode.

One writing gig led to another, and eventually Goode was able to quit his corporate job and make a living from poetry. In 2006 he received an Emmy nomination for a skit written for the Nick@Nite Black History month campaign.

Borne of the smoke-infused speakeasies of 1950s and 60s underground San Francisco, California, the art of spoken word was popularized by beatnik novelists such as Jack Kerouac.

In recent years, spoken word has evolved into a by-product of rap music adopted by the urban community. Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons popularized spoken word with his Def Poetry Jam series on HBO, drawing special performances from big-name celebrities such as Dave Chappelle, Alicia Keyes and Kanye West.

Educator and hip-hop linguist Michael Eric Dyson, who also performed on Def Poetry Jam, says spoken word has given an intellectual voice to urban culture and poetry a new accessibility to an American audience.

“The revival of oral magic in black culture over the 25 years with the popularity of hip-hop has sparked the renaissance of spoken word and given it a new platform in black America,” says Dyson.

“Usually it’s more political and culturally conscientious than the hip-hop that is currently invoked,” says Dyson.

Goode agrees that spoken word is hip-hop in its most stripped-down form and a pill that’s easier to swallow when it comes to appreciating poetry.

“I like spoken word because it only requires you and your voice.”

“Hip-hop artists need all these beats and all this production,” says Goode.

But Goode is quick to remind aspiring poets that success does not happen overnight. He encourages writers to “have a plan” before they quit their day job.

It’s a message he passes along to the young people he meets when he’s on tour performing at black colleges or mentoring elementary school children.

“I try to speak to young people … and try to get them to move forward,” says Goode.
“They never knew they could be a writer, they thought they have to be a rapper or sell dope,” says Goode.

“I try to tell the kids that you can get to where you wanna be, just by being you. It may take you a little longer, if you believe in yourself and what you do, just stick to your guns, and you’ll get to where you are going.”

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