|The Twin Poets. Photo: Teleduction|
Identical twins Al and Nnamdi -- social workers, activists, military veterans and poets -- grew up in the harsh Riverside neighborhood of Wilmington they serve. Unlike so many kids growing up in Riverside, they had a strong parental base, and were especially influenced by their late father, activist William "Hicks" Anderson. Al and Nnamdi are walking examples of the power of involved fatherhood in the inner city community, and, no surprise, are involved fathers themselves, not only to their biological children, but to all of the children in Riverside. They are tireless in their devotion -- they spend their days working with kids at Kingswood Community Center, public and inner-city charter schools, afterschool programs, and in the homes of high-risk kids. They comfort fearful youngsters, counsel young boys treading perilously close to being lost and encourage young girls to respect themselves and reach their goals. They shed tears with children who have lost parents to violence. It's a difficult calling, but, somehow, they keep their senses of humor.
If Al and Nnamdi wanted it, they could be millionaires, living in California mansions, instead of being social workers in lil' old Wilmington. Their spoken word poems, delivered in a distinct way that I'm not sure would be possible for non-twins, are that good. They've had their own HBO special, and they've had offers from rappers who wanted to use their words. The Twin Poets, while they work in words, are not rappers, and have no interest in being connected to to the often thuggish genre, even for big money. Their integrity is almost overwhelming. Honestly, judging by the reaction to their work, they might land that success anyway.
Teleduction has plans to show "Why I Write" around Wilmington and in film festivals around the country. Connect with the "Why I Write" Facebook page for information about the upcoming DVD.