Sharrif Simmons is a performance artist, songwriter and activist who's writing career has spanned more then a decade. Beginning in the early 90's, his prophetic poetry has become incredibly relevant to today featuring life experiences, political insight and musical ability. His education as a writer began at U.C.L.A. also known as (University on the Corner of Lenox Avenue), at the famed Liberation Bookstore on 131st St. & Lenox Avenue. Founded by his Great Aunt, Una Mulzac, the bookstore has served the Harlem community for over 35 years, 5 of which found Sharrif spending his days there as a book salesman.
As poetry and spoken word underwent a cultural resurgence, Sharrif Simmons became a staple in New York's cultural art scene. The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, The Cooler, CB's Gallery, CBGB's, the Brooklyn Moon Cafe, Satta Cafe, Frank Silvera's Workshop and Joe's Pub, were some of the New York based venues that found Sharrif showcasing his poetry on any given night. Poets and emcees like Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Saul Williams, Asha Bandele, Mike Ladd and Jessica Care Moore, who would eventually publish his first book of poetry Fast Cities And Objects That Burn on her imprint Moore Black Press, would often share the stage with him, helping to develop what has now become "The Movement".
Sharrif has toured Europe extensively, from 1996 through the present. He has performed in Amsterdam, Holland (Talking Heads Festival, Double Talk Festival, Palabras at Paradiso) Berlin, Germany (Littereature Werkstatt Festival, East Berlin Poetry Conference) Toulouse, France (Verb Action Mix Media Festival) London England (Apples and Snakes Brotha Talk Concert, The ICM International Conference, The Battersea Arts Festival) The Hague (Crossing Borders Festival). Glasgow, Scotland (CCM).
Sharrif has held performances and workshops at several Colleges and Universities throughout the United States. Alabama, A&M, The University Of Southern Florida, Howard University, Hofstra University, Nassau Community College, St. John's University, Morehouse College, Spellman and Duke University. Most recently, he taped on episode of Russell Simmons'Presents HBO's DEF POETRY JAM. Set to air in June of 2005, the show will coincide with the realease of his highly anticipated debut CD the ECHOEFFECT.
The album, a collaboration between poetry and music, transcends categories, breaking conceptual barriers while remaining in the tradition set by the Last Poets, Sonia Sanchez and Linton Kwesi Johnson, artists who have all deeply influenced his writting.
Sharrif has appeared in several feature length films including, New Line Cinema's Panther, directed by Marion Van Peebles, Slam, directed by Marc Levine and the documentary Hughes Dream, presented by Bravo and Black StarZ Networ. Sharrif has also appeared in the short films, BUM by Demetria Celez and Ripples by the Stickmen, winner of the Birmingham based Sidewalk Film Festival's best in show award.Interview with Sharrif Simmons
Sharrif Simmons plays Birmingham EarthFest in Homewood Park on April 16th