Will "Da Real One" Bell Jr. was a slam-poet of great power, as well as an entrepreneur. He died over the weekend after unknown assailants shot him in a drive-by outside of his small establishment on 125th street, the Literary Cafe and Poetry Lounge. Police have an extremely vague description of the vehicle involved (it was either light or dark, and likely has a rear spoiler) and seemingly no leads.
Bell will be much missed. This writer knows of one homeless teenager to whom the poet was a great help and inspiration, as well as a generous friend. From what I hear, the girl's experience was not circumscribed. Bell sounds like a cool guy.
He doesn't sound cool in his poems, though. He sounds hot. His flow was full of dark fire and wounded, righteous anger, which landed him a gig on HBO's Def Jam Poetry. His words went further than anything else I know toward giving SoFla an authentic lyrical voice.
The newspapers now reporting Bell's death are largely family affairs and so cannot direct readers toward any of Bell's online work. New Times isn't afraid of four-letter words, so you can hear what Bell sounded like after the jump. (Not safe for work, natch.)
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to New Times Broward-Palm Beach's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling South Florida's stories with no paywalls.