Thursday, October 13, 2016

Lemon Andersen

Brea Burks

"'Gimme them Jordans!' And the punk tried to run. Took off fast, didn't get far. I fired,'Pow!' Fool fell between two parked cars. He was coughing, crying, blood spilled on the street. And I snatched them Air Jordans off of his feet. While laying there dying, all he could say was, 'Please man, don't take my Air Jordans away.'" This snip is from a poem called "Please don't take my Air Jordan's". Lemon Andersen opened the lecture with this spoken word that was originally written by Reg E Gaines, Lemon’s mentor.

Lemon Andersen is a poet, TV writer, actor, and screenplay writer that is from Brooklyn, NY. I had the opportunity to see him at the 90-minute series yesterday. The lecture was about the life of Andersen and how he was able to come from “Ghetto America” to win a Tony Award for a theatre performance. If you were wondering if Lemon is his real name, it’s not. He goes by Lemon because when he was younger was lighter than his brothers who were darker skin or the “normal” skin tone for Puerto Ricans.

When listening to Andersen speak you automatically get the feel of him being raw and honest to where he came from. He spoke about his parents who died when he was younger also his time in Riker’s Island and having to spend time in jail in Franklin County Ohio. While he was in jail, Andersen stated that he would read poetry while he was in jail. Once he was out of jail, he immersed him into the creative arts world by doing poetry live. He was noticed by Def Jam Comedy because he read a poem that the producer used to hear by his father when he was younger. This led him to perform in theatres and movies across the country with Def Jam Comedy. He was able to meet very famous people like Spike Lee, Russell Simmons, and Denzel Washington. Also work on major projects with them in the future.

Taken by: Brea Burks

One of the productions that he did with Def Jam was a very diverse play with ethnicities that you wouldn’t normally see in a play in the 1990s. This play won a Tony Award. Unfortunately, the production had to take a halt for six months because it wasn’t making the sales it needed to stay “alive”. But this didn’t stop he went back to New York to go to school and receive a major in Theatre and Screenwriting. After graduating, he focused on screenwriting and how to tie poetry into that lifestyle.

Now, Lemon Andersen is writing stories for TV and going back to his community to reach out and show kids that there is more to life than dribbling a basketball and rapping a lyric. He wants intercity teens to learn and experience poetry and screenwriting. He told us during the lecture that he would get children interested in poetry and acting by them acting out a TV show like "Narcos" on Netflix. This would show the power in writing. 

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