Marc Bamuthi Joseph is an African American hip-hop theater artist who combines theater, West African and tap dance, spoken word, poetry, and live music to stretch the limits of traditional hip-hop and create a new forum for expressive performance art. Bamuthi is a National Poetry Slam champion, Broadway veteran, a USA Rockefeller Fellow in Theater Arts in 2006, and has been a featured lecturer and performance artist at more than one hundred colleges and universities. Bamuthi has performed with celebrated stars of the spoken word and music scene including: Ben Harper, Bonnie Raitt, Will Power, Mos Def, Sarah Jones, Sonia Sanchez, Gil Scott Heron, The Last Poets, Amiri Baraka, Danny Hoch and others.
The Joyce Award supported the Walker Art Center to commission the break/s, a new theatrical work by Bamuthi. Using hip-hop idioms in text, dance, music and video, the break/s is a poetic investigation of personal identity through an examination of hip-hop’s global impact. Bamuthi worked with local teens through partnerships with Minneapolis community-based organizations and select ten young writers/poets for an intensive one-week residency. the break/s was performed with two accomplished on-stage DJ’s/musicians, along with a video projection VJ, at the Walker’s McGuire Theater.
Established in 1927 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Walker Art Center is one of the most visited modern and contemporary art museums in the country. It is recognized internationally as a model multi-disciplinary arts organization and is a national leader for its innovative approaches to audience engagement. Its groundbreaking artist residency and active commissioning programs have established significant relationships with a range of artists now considered masters such as Merce Cunningham, Philip Glass, Twyla Tharp, Bill T. Jones, Liz Lerman, Ralph Lemon, David Byrne, and many others.