Brutha Gimel was born in East Texas but moved to Los Angeles. He finds a “mostly liberal way of thinking out west,” especially in comparison to East Texas. He started out his poetry career by being the D.J. of a poetry event his friend held in 1997. He was already a rapper and decided to try out changing his raps into spoke word poetry.
It blossomed into a new artistic venue for him and he helped start Da’ Poetry Lounge. He ended up being on Hollywood’s national poetry Slam Team, getting second place at nationals in 2000. When it comes to competing, he enjoys what it offers him as a performer, challenging him in different ways.
“New audiences hearing my work motivates me,” he said.
Most of his poems are about the righting the wrongs in his life or society; his personal favorites are “Unifying Love Poem,” “9 Months of Humility” and “The Third Race.” He also hopes to instill a “sense of self-confidence” in his listeners.
“I’m not a fan of oppression or self-hatred,” Gimel said. “(My poetry gives) different perspective on how to pursue life and attack your fears, encourage people to overcome impression.”
Over time, Brutha Gimel’s poetry has changed. He doesn’t use as much rhyme and it has gotten more personal for him.
“I’ve gotten more comfortable in things that cause controversy,” he said.
Not only is he poet, but he’s a teacher. He holds workshops and schools and nonprofits about spoke word poetry and performance arts. His most recent workshop was called “Be Comfortable in Your Silly.” The main goal of the workshop was to get people out of their shells and embrace their “sillier sides,” gaining self-confidence to show it onstage.
“If you can laugh at yourself, you can be more comfortable in front of a crowd,” said Gimel.
Gimel is still an accomplished DJ and has been invited to work the turntable at many events in Hollywood, including the holiday parties of “The King of Queens” and “CSI Miami.” He also has worked for Mad TV, Flex Anderson and D.L. Hughley. He’s also the resident DJ of “The Temple Bar,” a popular LA club.
If you missed his performance at Another Type of Groove, you can check out several youtube videos of his poetry.