Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Marc Bamuthi Joseph is one of an emerging class of hip hop theater artists who combines a variety of art forms in his work. Bamuthi uses theater, West African and tap dance, spoken word, poetry, and live music to stretch the bounds of traditional hip hop and create a new forum for expressive performance art. His works challenge audiences of all ages to reevaluate the relationship between spoken language, body language and the body politic.

Bamuthi has been a performer since childhood, working on commercials at the age of 5, Broadway stage by age 9 and a television series when he was 12 and 13. At 21, Bamuthi found himself in San Francisco, entering the arena of spoken word and performance poetry, first in poetry slams, then as a playwright. Bamuthi has already received four spoken word poetry awards and was featured on Russell Simmons’s Def Poetry Jam in 2003.

In the Spark episode “Telling Stories,” meet Bamuthi as he prepares for his first solo theatrical work based on his experience of becoming a father. “Word Becomes Flesh” is a highly personal piece that is a performed series of letters from a single unwed father to his unborn son. Bamuthi translates the words from the page to the stage, narrating his very personal experience through creative expression that combines spoken word with movement, visual art and music.

Bamuthi is also the current artistic director for the Living Word Project and program director for Youth Speaks. Through the spoken word medium, he leads students through a process of examining their world and the issues that are important to them and turning their perspectives into meaningful expression. His mission to be an agent for social change fuels much of his work, taking him far beyond the need for recognition into the realm of spiritual and personal expression.

Marc Bamuthi Joseph 30 July,2015Spark


  • Array
  • Array
  • Array

Related Episodes

Wiley, Akers, and Bamuthi Joseph

Meet a saxophonist exploring spiritual music, a weaver with an intense attention to detail, and a modern day griot.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor