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Poets carry messages from our communities that often get overlooked. Sometimes painful, sometimes joyful, but always truthful, the great poets are respected as the most important storytellers of their generation. Lemon Andersen, who I first saw bless the stage of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, is one of those great poets. He was so damn good with his words, his deliverance, his style, his swagger, that we kept having him back on the show. Ultimately, we knew he had to be part of the Broadway show that went on to win a Tony Award. My man really got that license to be ill.

The words are deep. The emotion runs high. But, when two filmmakers, Beth Levison and Laura Brownson, showed me a documentary they made on Lemon, I was blown away by the stories behind the stories. Stylistically fresh, and with a pace that would make Brooklyn proud, this movie shows a side of a poet you rarely see. The path to Lemon’s success certainly did not come easy, as with most poets, but what is remarkable about his journey is that he never put his pen down. He was resilient everyday of his life, fighting not just for his survival, but for his family’s survival. ‘Cause like my man Lemon says, “So watch me be the best artist who was born ready made. Watch me take my lemons and make the best goddamn lemonade.” And the way the filmmakers capture his beautiful struggle in the documentary is riveting at every twist and turn. It really is like no documentary I have ever seen about an artist. You are on the edge of your seat throughout the movie, but you also bouncing your head to the beats, rhymes and life.

I am humbled to present this film and urge all of you to check it. Peep the exclusive clips from the movie and go to http://store.cinemalibrestore.com/lemondvd.html to buy the DVD. 

~Russell Simmons

The film is released VOD at Amazon, iTunes, and Hulu. Check out the trailer…

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