More than a month after he was executed outside his North Miami venue, The Literary Cafe and Poetry Lounge, Will "Da Real One" Bell's murder remains a mystery. Last week, Crimestoppers of Miami put up a $1,000 reward for any information on the suspects. Family and friends of the slain poet are also collecting donations to add to the reward fund. A charismatic spoken-word artist whose poems depicted the cold harsh reality of growing up Black in Miami, Bell gained fame when he appeared on two seasons of HBO's Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam. He was ambushed shortly after midnight on May 29 by an unknown gunman who leaped out of the passenger seat of a car.
Despite several witnesses who were with Bell the night he was shot, none of them could provide North Miami homicide detectives with accurate descriptions of the shooter or the getaway car, which was driven by an accomplice. His loved ones hope the reward will entice someone who knows the killers to come forward. Before he died, Bell was struggling with debts and paying the rent on his poetry club, which he started five years ago. He spent the early part of his adulthood in and out of jail before finding his groove on stage spitting rapid-fire verses.
His sister, Cynthia Bell-Lewis, says her brother worked hard to leave behind his life of crime and did not have any known enemies, which makes his murder hard to understand. She points out he even stopped carrying a gun to protect himself many years ago. "The way they shot him was so personal," she says. "This was a senseless killing."
Donations to the Will "Da Real One" Bell reward fund can be made via paypal