PROSE OF A CON Will Debut on DanceGruv Radio
Electronic music-based nonprofit Give a Beat, DJ Times magazine and DanceGruv Radio have partnered for a new radio series called Prose of a Con featuring the poetry and prose of Russell Wardlow, a resident at Omaha Correctional Center. The six-part series will run bi-weekly from Sunday, October 13 through Sunday, December 22, 2019, at 5:00 pm EST on DanceGruv Radio with each episode showcasing Wardlow's prose and poetry read aloud by DJs across the electronic music community. Wardlow composes his work entirely behind bars. His poignant and insightful readings speak to the healing power of artistic expression to help transcend the harsh reality of the prison system. Tune in starting October 13th at https://www.dancegruv.net/event/proseofacon.
Each 30-minute episode of Prose of a Con will also include interviews with the DJs, Wardlow himself and program partners. Confirmed DJs for this series include Briddy, Blackliquid, DJ E-Clyps, Eli Goldstein (Soul Clap), Mr. V, Myxzlplix, Nickodemus, Oscar P, Pontchartrain and Stacey Hotwaxx Hale. Oscar P. is on deck for the October 13th show. All episodes will be archived on DanceGruv Radio.
The pilot episode of Prose of a Con aired on Father's Day 2019 with Detroit-based DJ, producer and social worker Pontchartrain reading "Dear Josiah" and "I Saw My Father for the First Time," with an introduction by Wardlow himself and a conversation with his best friend Katie Andrews recorded via prison phone call. With 2.7 million Americans with a parent in prison, Give a Beat felt it pertinent to air the pilot episode on Father's Day, which can be heard on Soundcloud:
"I was a state ward [foster child] with a mom incarcerated and father deceased," states Wardlow. "I went from the streets to the suburbs to college to prison. I escaped one statistic to fall to the other. The two pros to this con is that I'm alive and I've learned. The best thing about pain is the growth in it, so I hope to share mine through motivational speaking and performance poetry."
To read more of Wardlow's work, please visit his site at http://www.proseofacon.com.
Today, there are 70 million people that have been swept into the criminal justice system and face incredible barriers after their release. There are 40,000 legal restrictions to getting one's life back on track after having served time. Perceptions of incarcerated people must change in order to humanize, remove stigma and reduce recidivism.
The goal of this collaboration is to change the narrative around those who have been most affected by our system of mass incarceration. The challenge is to undo decades of labeling incarcerated individuals with stigmatizing words which classify people as lesser - allowing for harsh sentencing laws, the expansion of our prison system and high recidivism rates. Of course, this makes it very difficult for those reentering society to truly get a second chance in life. Wardlow's Prose of a Con moniker and his use of his number, #78756, in his branding is a play on this very concept of how words are extremely powerful and ultimately can shape policy . . . but they should not define us.