Will Da Real One's murder left many questions

But a tight-knit group is ready to keep preaching the word.

From there, she accompanied Will and one of his friends to a pool hall. "I flirted with him all night," she says. "I just developed this crush on him." The relationship blossomed along with his poetry. She traveled with him on tour. "We drove everywhere," she says. "Bell loved driving." The relationship was very independent, she says. "We were never on top of each other about where we were at or who we were with."

Tosca knew everything about Will, even the times when he ran afoul of the law — carrying firearms, driving with a suspended license, writing fraudulent checks. "He was no saint," she says.

Will had difficulty letting go of his delinquent tendencies. "He came from a world where walking around without protection is a joke," Tosca explains. "He finally stopped carrying a gun after we had a conversation that if he got caught again, he was going back to prison. It took him awhile to have the faith that he didn't need to live that life anymore."

Will once worked as a homeless outreach coordinator for the state health department. View a photo slide show of Will Bell's memorial service.
Courtesy of Cynthia Bell-Lewis
Will once worked as a homeless outreach coordinator for the state health department. View a photo slide show of Will Bell's memorial service.
Rebecca "Butterfly" Vaughns encouraged Will to stick with poetry as a profession.
Michael McElroy
Rebecca "Butterfly" Vaughns encouraged Will to stick with poetry as a profession.

Tosca doesn't know who would want to kill her boyfriend, but she has begun collecting donations from Will's friends and fans to augment a $1,000 reward put up by Crime Stoppers of Miami-Dade.

She says Will could have been killed over something as innocuous as inadvertently belittling his murderer. "Somewhere along the way, he may have made someone feel so small that this person decided to become a hit man," Tosca says. "Yeah, but not much of a hit man since he took out a poet."

See, I want to hear words put together to create new thoughts

Fuck always talking about underground railroads and wars that were fought

I want to hear about the artist

And the shit inside them that made them start this

You know, like how they went from being singers

To having callouses on their index fingers

From writing all night

And producing to sleep until words fall right

I am hungry for poetry.

In 2007, three years after his breakout performance on Def Poetry Jam, Will created the Literary Café & Poetry Lounge. His dream was to create his version of the Nuyorican Poets Café in New York City. He turned his joint into one of the most popular poetry venues in South Florida, according to Tosca. "He kept the place open no matter what," she says. "Bell gave everybody a stage. No one went in there and was told they were a bad poet."

Will's casual attitude made it easy for him to take on protégés such as Anomaly and Youngsta, a couple of poets now in their 20s who owe a great deal of their success to Da Real One's guidance. He took on Anomaly as his little sister. Whenever Will went out of town, he left her in charge of the café's poetry nights.

In 2004, Youngsta was a 17-year-old North Miami Senior High student when he met Will at a poetry reading in the school's library. "From there, we began our friendship in earnest," the young poet says. "He was the positive male figure in my life."

Two years later, Will caught on to Anomaly, who was making her first appearance at the Bohemia Room, a Wednesday-night gathering of poets that at the time was held at Power Studios in the Design District. "He pulled me to the side and coached me," she says. "He taught me how to watch the crowd and bring my poems to life."

With Will's guidance, she learned the ropes — from how to get booked for shows to getting paid what she was worth, Anomaly says. She credits him with helping her land a spot on BET's Lyric Café. "He molded me as a performance poet," she attests. "And he had the confidence to make me his cohost. I'm now hosting events, taking up the torch. It has been helping me cope with his absence."

The entire spoken-word community converged at the Literary Café, where Will didn't have to pay for a staff because fellow poets, and even some fans, volunteered to wait tables, serve drinks, and play DJ. But Will still had to pay for rent, electricity, and Internet.

He didn't serve food or offer a full bar because he didn't have a liquor license, so Will's main income was the $10 cover he charged. With no steady revenue, he was evicted from the first two café locations in North Miami for not paying rent. "He let a lot of people come in for free," Tosca says. "He kept it open so the people would keep coming back. He loved that café so much."

What made the venture more difficult, she says, was that Will couldn't travel for national performances and tend to the café at the same time. "He grinded harder than any of the poets," she says. "But there came a point when he couldn't go on the road."

The café became a source of constant friction between Will and Tosca. It was one reason she asked him to move out in 2008 when she was facing her own financial troubles. "My house was in a constant state of foreclosure," she says. "We never ended our relationship, but I needed some space." After a year of living on his own, Will moved in with his sister Cynthia.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
35 comments
willfan
willfan

Wow, Will amazing article about you, I am just reading this, and I must say, we all do right and wrong things in our lives NO ONE lives right and perfect, but we shouldn't judge and definitely shouldn't say someone should pay for their actions by death and saying he got what he deserved, that is beyond cold hearted and harsh. Its not like the article is talking about a mass murderer who rapes and kills little kids and the world would be better off without a human being like them, this is man who struggled in young life, and turned his life around to the best he could and tried to make a living with a passion and a dream. Because he didn't sit behind a desk working 9-5 corporate America or carrying a master degree under his belt doesn't mean his decision to make money with his passion makes him wrong. Will was talented, and I give high respect to even chase after his dream of Spoken Word. Spoken word isn't largely known and to see someone try to make a living off it it is impressive, he made people see what poetry is, and introduced poetry to a lot of pple. Its obvious he made someone mad enough to want to take his life away, but to put judgment on oh he must of did something to deserve it, is just cruel.And to read that he felt something in his heart/mind that made him have restless nights before he died, makes it even sadder, if only he could of said something. Will, you held it down in the poetry world. To many of us, people thought you were just balling with money, and many envied the fact that you made money out of your own business and passion, but as this article proves, things weren't as they seemed.You carried a god given talent, and when you would read and spit your poetry you made the building have vibrations. Being in a city like Miami where people just don't give a dam and will kill for almost any reason, saddens me that you were a part of it, i truly believe, had you been able to close the shop and tour just a little bit earlier than your death, you would of still been here, Miami, carry too much hate, and wouldn't want to see anyone successful.Your poetry lives on, thank goodness for your cds, and writings because it remains here, and it will forever be, in this generation, the next generation and more generations to come, a touch in peoples lives. You don't only leave behind a poet murdered, you leave behind your gift, and thats something a lot of people don't get a chance to do when they pass. Forever in our hearts, forever in our memories, forever in poetry! Love u Will

Frm3052904
Frm3052904

I frequented the The Literary Cafe and I had never heard of or ever seen this Tosca until the demise of Will, where she now decides to be all over the news as his "life partner". I, like the previous poster, only knew SANDI as Will's fiancee. She is the face that I saw at the cafe, she was the one on the front row at the funeral (next to his son), her name was in the obituary, she was the one that picked out the casket, and the one that decided to put him in the suit he had on. I don't know what kind of fame Tosca is seeking out of this. But its dispicable to try to gain from someone's death. Such a shame. (I won't bother to discuss her attire).

Poetryhesaidshesaid
Poetryhesaidshesaid

FRAUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This Tosca USED to be Will's girlfriend, but at the time of his death he was engaged to a lovely woman named Sandra (the love of his life since around 2008-2009). Ask the family. The poetry community has come to know Sandra as Sandra BELL!!!!! THAT is who is grieving the most, and this foolishness is not helping. If this is REAL journalism then they would have noticed that this PHONY was NOT in the family car, was NOT in the front row at the funeral, and NOT in the three seats at the burial. FACT CHECK and stop letting desperate fame seekers (with a HORRIBLE fashion sense in the area of funeral attire) distract you from the important task at hand, and that is to find who murdered my friend! And you can keep deleting my comment... I will KEEP POSTING IT!

Poetryhesaidshesaid
Poetryhesaidshesaid

FRAUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This Tosca female USED to be Will's girlfriend, but at the time of his death he was engaged to a lovely woman named Sandra (the love of his life since around 2008-2009). Ask the family. The poetry community has come to know Sandra as Sandra BELL!!!!! THAT is who is grieving the most, and this foolishness is not helping. If this is REAL journalism then they would have noticed that this PHONY was NOT in the family car, was NOT in the front row at the funeral, and NOT in the three seats at the burial. FACT CHECK and stop letting desperate fame seekers (with horrible taste in fashion and funeral wear) distract you from the important task at hand, and that is to find who murdered my friend! AND SCENE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Urtik
Urtik

Dam whether he's Black or White, the truth is the light, you moron.

LMR
LMR

A fine intellectual killed by a coward nigger...what a shame. RIP Will.

CAMSHEEL
CAMSHEEL

I am here to say to the family do not know details of this murder i just want to say my prayers go out to the family of this young man life cut short in his prime.

Happy
Happy

There's a reason why we're still around and he's not!

aaaaaaaaaaaa
aaaaaaaaaaaa

he screwed up and paid the price...not as innocent as you make him

aaaaaaaa
aaaaaaaa

really...and we are supposed to believe he is innocent? don't buy that crap. And not every man or woman is important to us because when they bring their beliefs and lazy lifestyle of robbery, drugs and murder they are nothing to us and they need to die right away.,,no jail time just a bullet. Miami is pathetic because we let Cubans take over and ruin it. You never let peasants run a state or a country...they have no idea of politics...just greed and self-serviing to their breed. Peasants thinking they know how to run our cities...what a waste Miami is.

Charles Dundee
Charles Dundee

Will and another woman from Liberty City were the first ones to encourage my writing and gave me an intimate look inside life in the inner-city. It really is a loving community in many ways. No matter how bad my initial poems seemed to be, they kept encouraging me and always made me feel at home.

Havetoseeit
Havetoseeit

Come on people that crap is not poetry or God inspired verse....it stupid ass shit spewed by someone trying to act smart. Go to the fucking Opera or Ballet you losers

ABLACKMANDIDIT.COM
ABLACKMANDIDIT.COM

Listen to some of the comments by these negroes. It's like, "just another day in the office."The only way these WHITE MEN in BLACK BODIES will overcome, including me, is when JESUS GETS BACK..

ABLACKMANDIDIT.COM
ABLACKMANDIDIT.COM

By the same token. Le me explain something to some of you lame brains about what it is to be an American. To be an American means that from this point on, I see each man as a man. Not as a Cuban or a Haitian or a Mexican or a Hondoran or a Columbian. We see a person as a man, as an individual, regardless of race color or creed. How many of you can do that. Probably very few. Why? Because you're a Jackass. Any true man will tell you that every man is important, every dream is important, and most of all, the 'PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD. Go inside suckers, that's where the problem is.Get the speck outcha own eye!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ABLACKMANDIDIT.COM
ABLACKMANDIDIT.COM

It's too much under the rug down here and all they need is some poor political poet to bring national attention to it. Think about it. All the Black Leadership Miami has had, has come in the like of "ya done good" type of shit or Uncle Loco. The only man I can remember with some sense is the one they aggravated so bad, he went to the Enquirer and shot his own head off. When it really dawn upon the White Folks up North, what the Cubans have done down here, they'll call for Senate Hearings. Trust me,

ABLACKMANDIDIT.COM
ABLACKMANDIDIT.COM

It left no questions with me. I've been hear since 19 53 and know their is an element who fears any strong Black outspoken competition. A Black man may have pulled the trigger, but some of these killings of African Men are orchestrated by Arabs or Cubans. Trust me.

guest
guest

If we had all known him before, his Cafe would have been sold out every night.

Vtillman87
Vtillman87

This is such a tragedy. I didn't know him personally, but I got the chance to hear him recite some of his poetry. He was a great man that died for a foolish reason and he will always be remembered. RIP Will

Ttsturrup
Ttsturrup

I went to his funeral last month.

La Guardia
La Guardia

Incredible article and tribute to Will. It gives me insight into the life off this great person I've met, but never got the chance to know.

+

JeffZelaya
JeffZelaya

Chilling story. Great work Francisco - your best piece thus far.

Jeff

JACOOK16
JACOOK16

CILL MY LANDLORD.... CILL MY LANDLORD..... C-I-L-L....CILL MY LANDLORD.

yokolee
yokolee

Great poetry...........(?)

eston.anderson
eston.anderson

@Poetryhesaidshesaid       HI POETRY HOW ARE YOU IM ESTON I WAS WILLS FRIEND AND INVESTOR I WOULD APPRECIATE IF YOU COULD GET ME IN TOUCH WITH HIS MOM AND OR HIS GIRL SANDRA [M PLANNING A SHOW DEDICATED TO MY FRIEND AT THE JAMES L KNIGHT CENTER NEXT YEAR YOU CAN REACH ME AT eston.anderson@yahoo.com

Guest
Guest

this person must be white

Guest
Guest

that must be in your dreams. wake up man. America is separated country with each group only for themselves. that is reality!!!

guest
guest

and why would Cubans want to kill black men? when half of Cuba's population are African descendents

Terri UrbanaSpeakz Meredith
Terri UrbanaSpeakz Meredith

indeed it is. his body of work is an amazing thing to feel. i'm blessed to have the opportunity to do so, blessed to know the man who created it.

rickscottblows
rickscottblows

Easy to get rid of Cubans. Start unlocking your outboards and rigging them to explode.

yokolee
yokolee

I set up a Facebook profile where I can post my pictures, videos and events and I want to add you as a friend so you can see it. First, you need to join Facebook! Once you join, you can also create your own profile. Thanks,Adela

To sign up for Facebook, follow the link below: http://www.facebook.com/p.php?... Already have an account? Add this email address to your account: http://www.facebook.com/merge_... =======================================This message was sent to If you don't want to receive these emails from Facebook in the future, please follow the link below to unsubscribe. http://www.facebook.com/o.php?... Facebook, Inc. Attention: Department 415 P.O Box 10005 Palo Alto CA 94303

 
Miami Concert Tickets

Around The Web

Loading...