Willie Lee Bell, Jr AKA Will DA REALONE" , HBO Def Jam Poet, Miami superstar and well respected international poet, was gunned down this morning in North Miami.
Bell, 47, appeared twice on HBO's "Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry" in 2003 and 2004 and won several performance competitions. Miami's alternative weekly New Times named him the city's best poet in 2005, writing that Bell "spits words like high-caliber machine-gun fire, and his booming voice sets ears ablaze."
Bell had just closed his business, the Literary Cafe and Poetry Lounge, 933 NE 125th St., at about 12:40 a.m; As he walked to his car in the parking lot, two men pulled up beside him, shooting him multiple times, per Lt. Neal Cuevas of the North Miami Police Department
Spoken Word Artist and Poet Reaction:
World Renown Spoken Word artist/Wordsmith Eryk Moore commented as saying, "that this was really a shock and sad day for Spoken Word around the world! There will never be another like Will Da Realone. r.i.p. Big Will "
Co Founder of Def Poetry Jam, Author and Wordsmith Bruce George tweeted, "
Bell grew up in the Edison Court Projects on Northwest Third Avenue and 62nd Street in Liberty City, where his single mother moved the family shortly after Bell's father left them.
In 1989, Bell was arrested for armed cocaine trafficking in his neighborhood. He was convicted and sentenced to 14 months in prison.
Behind bars, he began writing love letters to an imaginary woman waiting for him "on the outside.''
After showing his letters to a fellow prisoner, who encouraged his prose, Bell and the prisoner began a business ghost-writing love letters for other inmates in exchange for commissary items.
When he left prison in 1990, Bell left poetry behind. It took another decade before the muse struck him again.
After signing up in 2001 for Lip, Tongue & Ear, a weekly, open-mike poetry competition, Bell was hooked.
He won successive contests, eventually earning the title of Lip Tongue & Ear's Poet Laureate of Miami-Dade in April 2003, a designation he held for a year.
It didn't take long for Bell to launch a career in poetry with CDs, and performance and promotion fees. His big break came in 2004, when he performed on Def Poetry Jam.
Bell opened the Literary Cafe in 2003, with the vision of giving poets a place to perform their art.
Police ask anyone with information on this crime to contact the North Miami Police Department at 305-891-8111 or CrimeStoppers, anonymously, at 305-371-TIPS
WE LOVE YOU WILL DA REAL ONE! R.I.P. YOU AND GIL WILL ROCK HEAVEN CLEAR OUT THE SKY!!
(I RUN! PHENOMENAL SPOKEN WORD PIECE PERFORMED ON HBO DEF JAM!)