A well-known and respected local def jam poet was shot and killed early Sunday morning outside the coffehouse and spoken word venue he owned in North Miami.
Willie Lee Bell, Jr., 47, who performed as "Will Da Real One," was shot multiple times just after closing Literary Cafe and Poetry Lounge on NE 125th Street around 12:40 a.m.
North Miami police say Bell had just locked Literary Cafe and was heading to his car when vehicle pulled up beside him and an occupant in the passenger seat opened fire.
A number of the cafe's patrons were present when the shooting happened, and differening eyewitness reports place black male suspects fleeing in a either a dark-colored vehicle with a spoiler or a light-colored car.
Bell, who opened his cafe about six years ago to host and promote spoken word poetry, was pronounced dead at the scene. No cash or jewelry was taken, leaving no obvious motive for investigators.
A Canadian World International Poetry Slam Champion and Miami Masters Poetry Tournament Slam Champion, Bell was featured on two seasons of HBO's 'Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry'. He also appeared regularly for a time on local radio station Power 96's Teddy T and Lucy show.
Anyone with information is asked to call the North Miami Police Department at 305-891-8111 or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 305-371-TIPS.
So I Run
I've been one of the many that was blessed to see Will pour out words of passion in person and meet the man, whose hand shake grip actually made me feel small. In fact Will is one of the few men I can honestly say made me feel smaller. And no it wasn't because of his size but his stature in the poetic community. The power in his voice and words, the feeling that in his presence you were in the midst of greatness.
When I Grow Up
Today we lost that greatness. He was stolen away from us in this rain of senseless violence that has been plaguing our communities. How many people do we have to loose to the bullshit till we realize enough is enough? How many families have to be destroyed, how many ripple effects till the tsunami of our lives crush our spirits? This can't be life!
"Born for more, die for less" are the words Rhymefest once rapped and every time I read another has perished it haunts me. Will was murder in front of the very place he build to help poets express the unexpressable. And now it stands as a monument to a fallen warrior whose words slayed so many people doubts and fears and inspired countless more to not only dream but dream out-loud and live it.
This can't be life? THIS CAN'T BE LIFE!!! We can't go on like this. The month hasn't even ended and I can't even tell you how many funerals have been birthed out the hell of this month. I, like many of my poetic and artistic family members are heartbroken. We have to find a new way, cause this isn't cutting it.
So with a heavy heart I say Rest In Peace Will Da Real One, and may you inspiration and you words continue to light fires. You don't have to run no more homie.