Se7eN the Poet
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Se7eN the Poet

Houston, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

Houston, Texas, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Spoken Word Hip Hop

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He has been described as a “prolific poet” and a “soulful Shakespeare” by various sources and has garnered a reputation as Houston’s Premier Spoken Word Artist by an increasingly growing following of admirers.

Great accolades for a Sunnyside Houston native who never planned to make a mark in the poetic arena.

“I never started out to be a poet. I had poems that I had been writing for quite some time, but it was not until I got on the mic and a couple of guys said to ‘keep doing it,’ that I began to pursue it professionally,’ “ says Se7en.

Varion Howard, known better as Se7en The Poet, has reawakened the art of the spoken word and is leaving his unique imprint on the art form as he raises the community’s social consciousness with his passionate lyrics.

“My friends charge me with being confrontational and I may be to some degree, but if you push me to the point that I’m going to say something--this is my tool, this is my weapon and I let people know what is going on, what they may be overlooking,” says Se7en.

That drive and passion to examine issues and social ills has given birth to his soon-to-be-released CD, “Public Commentary.”

The CD will showcase the gifted artist’s insightful lyrics as he shines the spotlight on a range of issues ranging from HIV to homelessness to parental responsibility.

“I’m not trying to force my beliefs or views on anybody, I just merely ask my community, my peers, humanity, hey consider this. Did you think about this?” says the Houston poet.
One of his popular pieces, “Toy Story,” featured on the CD, shares the artist’s insights and perspectives on the closing of a local toy store.

“I thought to myself that they are closing down so they must not be selling any toys. Then what are the kids playing with?” says Howard.

In the piece, he examines the increasing number of young people fixated on video games and absorbed in the virtual world.

“When was the last time you saw a playground full of kids? Kids don’t go outside anymore, they are not active. Our children are so wrapped up in technology, it is even impacting their mental health,” says Se7en.

“These kids will sleep in a parking lot waiting on a new video game to come out, but will not put that kind of diligence as far as education is concerned. So “Toy Story” focuses on what our kids are doing and what we are allowing them to do,” says Se7en.

Another piece spotlights the continuing battle against HIV in the community.

“I like to do my homework when I do my poems, so I went to an AIDS clinic and sat and observed the people and talked to the counselors,” says Howard.

Aware of the spread of the disease in the African American community, his visit broadened his insights on the impact of the disease, shares the artist.

“I was totally caught by surprise; it’s not just a lot of poor people, it not just a bunch of sickly-looking people, and not just Black Americans are being hit. But sitting in the clinic, I got to see that all Americans are being hit, all socioeconomic classes are being hit,” says Howard.

But the most shocking aspect of his visit was not the oldest person, but the youngest person that was potentially HIV-positive.

“That baby was 6 years old,” says Howard.

According to the artist, although the piece may ruffle some feathers as he shines the light on various aspects of the disease, his goal is to raise issues he believes society should consider.

He also gives voice to the growing issue of homelessness on his CD.

“I talk about charity and helping the homeless population and the truth about how we treat and view them, and how close many of us are to becoming one of those people,” says Se7en.

As he treads on everything from the taboo to the trends of the day, Se7en said his goal is to “not sound like the news and bring people the blues, but “all I’m saying is consider this.”

The Beginnings
Although he did not set out to pursue his current career path, the Houston artist believes the seeds for his present day success were planted in his early childhood.

“It dawned on me the other day that I was “being prepared for this” ever since I was a young child.

His mother, Prenise Howard, performed as a background singer for Teddy Pendergrass during her career under the stage name “Peaches,” shares Howard.

“Watching my mom get dressed to go perform, understanding stage presence, how to be a host, greeting people at venues and being accessible, I learned all of that watching my mom. She has had the greatest impact on my career,” says Howard.

Howard believes he also may possess characteristics of a father (now deceased) who was absent from his life.

“Everyone says I have my father’s confidence,” says the Houston artist.

His mother recently had a chance to attend one of her son’s performances.

“ I came on stage and she was sitting there crying, saying I’m just so proud of my baby and all that,” says Se7en.

As one of the top-earning spo - Empower Magazine


Sat 11/07/2009 Houston Chronicle, Section B, Page 1, 3 STAR R.O. Edition
Varion Howard has tried keeping his double life under wraps since joining the counseling staff at Westfield High last school year.
The 34-year-old worries what his Spring students will think when they learn he moonlights as one of the highest-paid spoken word artists in Texas. Maybe they'll question his priorities when they find out he spends weekends performing poetry under the stage name "Se7en" at bars and cafes across the country.
Come Monday morning, Howard always returns to his fluorescent-lit office at Westfield, where tidy piles of paperwork - mainly student records and transcripts - nearly cover his desk. He juggles class schedules, college applications, teenage heartbreak and distraught parents on the verge of eviction.
"At first it was fun to be Superman and Clark Kent. Now it's very difficult," he said. "I still haven't figured out what to say."
Howard spent the first decade of his academic career teaching at Houston's Bonham Elementary, Attucks Middle and Madison High. It was easier, he said, to keep his careers separate when his students were younger.
High-schoolers, however, sometimes show up at his performances. They've found his artist pages on Facebook and MySpace. Howard makes sure his poems' messages are positive - centering around manhood and social awareness.
"It's not anything I have to defend or hide … It's always written to enlighten, to inspire, to encourage," he said. "It's not rap. I don't need chains or gold teeth. I don't need a posse."
Still, Howard doesn't want his passion for poetry - which pays more than twice his counselor's salary - to be a distraction to the 460 teens he shepherds. When Se7en crosses paths with a student or parent at a performance, he sometimes pretends they have his identity confused.
"I play a Jedi mind trick on them. I'm like: ‘You're not looking at me. Who's Mr. Howard?'?" he laughed. "This could all be my own paranoia, but I don't want them to lose respect for what I have to do here."
‘Different personalities'
Jerrica Henderson, 17, was impressed when she heard Howard perform.
"The way he acts (at school) and the way he performs is totally different," the Westfield senior said. "He has two different personalties."
Henderson admires Howard for coming to school every day when he could make ends meet on his poetry alone. "You can tell he cares," she said.
Life's daily drama helps inspire the Sugar Land poet. "You really get to see how fragile people's lives are, all of our lives," he said. "Everybody's got something they're dealing with."
He also has plenty of his own adversity to draw from.
The Sunnyside neighborhood native grew up in a house of cocaine addicts. He started selling drugs at 12 to pay his family's bills and buy food. He stole cars as a student at Worthing High, where he was drum major and on the step team.
"The kids in the neighborhood, we stuck together … like Peter Pan and the Lost Boys," he said. "We would go to sleep at night, and we were just thankful we made it through the day."
Merging his passions
Despite his past, Howard attests to being somewhat of a nerd, rarely missing class and earning good grades. He found religion just weeks before enrolling at Prairie View A&M University, where he studied psychology and social work.
Just as he started teaching in the Houston ISD, he began performing poetry.
Now Howard, who is married with two sons of his own, is trying to figure out how to merge his passions. He plans, among other things, to write a piece that will acknowledge educators' hard work.
"One of the things (educators) don't get is gratitude - from the students, from the community, from anyone," Howard said. "Teachers are under the gun. Who's supporting them? I'm going to address it. I found out I have a lot of power with that microphone."
Principal Frederick Walker said he appreciates his counselor's double duty. By coincidence, he had heard Se7ven perform at a downtown church before Howard applied for the job at Westfield.
"I was kind of shocked that he was also in the counseling field," said Walker, who was thrilled to add a young male to his all-female counseling staff.
"There's no limit to what he could offer just by being himself," the principal said.
jennifer.radcliffe@chron.com
- JENNIFER RADCLIFFE HOUSTON CHRONICLE


Poetry is no longer the dress-in –all-black one person on the stage, speaking on love or the everlasting hurt. It has taken a new form into creating a name for itself and trying to break into the mainstream as a genre.

Taking it by storm and helping it to the next level is local artist, Se7en, who is a known artist among the spoken word crowd.

Se7en, whose real name he choose to keep withhold, walks into the Shadow Bar as calm and mellow as he wants to be. He checks his phone and speaks to a few of the regulars as he makes his way to the stage. No warm-ups at all. HE glances around trying to feel the crowd out and steps on the circular platform highlighted by bright white stage lights. Everything gets silent and the room grows dim. He’s the center of attention now.

“I’m definitely an entertainer,” said Se7en. That he is, off stage he is just a goofy person and he has the ability to tickle you to your soul. He could have been a comedian; he’s humorous and incorporates that in his hosting.

On stage he takes on a different persona. He has loads of personality and lots of character that is presented with his presence on stage.

“I didn’t choose poetry. Poetry chose me,” Se7en said with a southern drawl that pulls you in to listen even closer to what he’s saying.

For someone who has been writing since he was nine, it is astonishing that he just started performing professionally in 2000.

Se7ven said he went one night with a friend to a place called Muddy Waters

“They called my name and I’m not [going] to back down from a challenge. So, I got up there and I spit what I had and walked out as soon as the last word hit,” he said with a laugh.

Se7en, a little nervous and embarrassed, owned up to the challenge that his friend signed him up for and was amazed by the results.

“I got a good response, They called me back on the sidewalk and they kept coming outside and [were] like ‘dude, you need to keep doing this’ and the crazy part is crazy part was it was the same people who went before me and these dudes was phenomenal with their delivery with their subject matter and their content,” Se7en recalled.

“That was my first night on the mike and I have been doing it ever since,” he added.

Se7en said he sees himself far much more than what he is labeled to many - a spoken word artist.

“I just say I’m an entertainer. I do consider myself as a poet, a spoken word artist, an emcee, all of that.”

It’s interesting to see that someone who considers themselves so much more is not always deemed the same by their peers.

“This weekend at the performance when I finished, the other entertainers on the show or the other artist on the show were like ‘you’re not a poet; you’re not a spoken word artist. You’re an entertainer.’ And that’s not the first time that I have heard that,” the 33-year-old said.

He doesn’t let the fact that he and his associates don’t see eye to eye on labeling what he does get him down. He keeps on going. Se7en’s training consist of… well, he didn’t have any formal training.

He laughs for a few moments and pauses to think.

“I was in a school play and it was funny. We all had to come up with our own characters…so; no I didn’t have formal training. Everybody be who you want to be – if you call that formal training, I had formal training,” he said laughing.

It is something to think about but in reality Se7en was implying that he writes all of his own poetry. He loves to take the challenge of getting with people who aren’t so much into what he has to say.

“Naysayers? I LOVE THEM! If you already like poetry, there [isn’t] a challenge in talking to you. I know that’s my own little personal ego thing but on another level. If my mission is to make this bigger, I have to go get the people who [aren’t] giving this a chance.”

When asked where he fits in the Houston scene, he replied passionately about it.

“I’m trying to push it to another level. And take not only myself but the Houston scene as a whole to another level. You know. I was once told you have to be a catalyst so that’s where I fit in. I’m the coach. I’m pushing it,” he said.

Se7en wants to push it to the next level. He and a handful of artists are aiming to make it a more mainstream genre and a less underground appeal like it is now.

“I think it definitely has the potential to be a bigger genre or a more mainstream genre than what it is. First generation of hip-hop- they’re still into the message or the lyrics of what you have to say.

Everybody now in music has this cookie cutter formula. We will put a catchy hook on it we are going to make it real simple and we are going to sell a lot of records. It’s some people that enjoy being entertained for the intellect of being entertained- if you will. And that’s the thing we got to push it.”

Taking it to the next level for Se7en includes doing more television, more movies and more events. He’s making an effort with big steps to get th - Monday, November 12, 2007 By Morgan Wilson, Bellaire High School


Se7en is an award-winning pioneer who continues to dominate the art of spoken word. Not only is he a skillful entertainer but his craft has also revitalized the culture of poetry.

Houston, TX (I-Newswire) August 29, 2012 - Renowned poet, author and motivational speaker Se7en will be hosting the album release event for his new album Public Commentary: The Blue Collection on Saturday, September 1st. The album release affair will be held at The African American Library at The Gregory School from 7pm to 9pm.

A dominant force in spoken word Se7en was recently inducted into the historic museum at The African American Library in Houston for his phenomenal poetic works. Constantly elevating himself not only through poetic art forms but also through his community outreach and ability to positively influence others.

The first single from Public Commentary: The Blue Collection album "Before the Bell Rings" is already being well received and highlights the significance of his undeniable talent. You can preview the new album on Amazon before it hits stores on September 1st.

About Se7en The Poet

Se7en has been commissioned to perform spoken word pieces for special occasions including tributes to Micheal Jackson, Marvin Gaye and Hurricane Katrina survivors, as well as touring the country as the Featured Poet in I’m Ready Productions’ hit stage play, “Cheaters” featuring Brian McKnight, Syleena Johnson, James Avery, Carl Payne, and Wendy Robinson.

Se7en has also performed on Radio One’s “One Love Gospel Cruise”, the Houston House of Blues Local Inaugural Ball for President Barack Obama and the Texas Alliance of Black School Educators (TABSE) “Education is a Civil Right” conference. He's also the featured guest speakers at the Annual Banquet of the 40th Annual Conference of the National Alliance of Black Educators this coming November 17th, 2012 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennesse. - A&M Entertainment


Ryan Doyle Public Relations For more information: Natasha Turner
713.494.0703


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE



Houston Entertainer Blazes the Stage in New Urban Play!!


Houston, TX- Se7en the Emcee/Poet to perform live with the play Cheaters starting Thursday, February 23 through Sunday, April 2, 2006.



A favorite Houston poet and host of his own venue, Da Poetry Lounge at the Shadow Bar, Se7en has been performing nightly as a host in the new urban drama Cheaters as it crisscrosses the country to warm receptions and rave reviews. The cast of this play features some of the most acclaimed entertainers in the entertainment industry today including James Avery (Philip Banks, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), Brian McKnight (multi-platinum singer), Carl Payne (The Cosby Show, Rock Me Baby), Wendy Raquel Robinson ( Regina Greer, The Steve Harvey Show), Karen Malina White (Malcolm & Eddie, A Different World), Michael Jai White (actor, Spawn), and Syleena Johnson (recording artist).



Se7en is quickly becoming a star in every venue in which he performs and he is provoking his audience to think beyond the normal boundaries of traditional potery as they know it. Says the poet,"My goal is to bring poetry to the fore of entertainment. I want people to recognize poetry as genre of entertainment that not only stands alone but stands the test of time." Se7en just recently released his CD, Make Me Laugh, Make Me Cry to rave reviews on music websites such as CDBaby.com. Comprised of thirteen a cappella, live performance, and R & B laced tracks, Make Me Laugh... is a generous mix of soulful and conscientious poetry that delves into issues affecting the new adult set while also leading them to think introspectively about personal issues and experiences that affect them such as inspiration, envy, faith, and love. Se7en incorporates many musical characteristics into his performances such as singing, rapping, and improvisational mimicry . The album is a throwback to the raw honesty infused R&B albums of the 1970's.



Se7en is bringing that same talent and energy to stages across America as the host and emcee of the phenomenal hit play, Cheaters.





To schedule interviews, please contact Natasha L. Turner at 713.494.0703.



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- Ryan Doyle Public Relations


Discography

Public Commentary: the Blue Collection - CD
Se7en live at St. Johns - DVD
Power in the Word: the White Collection - CD
Make Me Laugh Make Me Cry - CD
Se7en - CD
Deadly Wordz (Maverick Movies) - DVD
A Romantic Comedy - DVD
III Artyst "The Whole Nyne" - CD (Featured)
Se7en Live and Raw - DVD

Photos

Bio

Pushing the edge of social consciousness, championing the call of manhood - Renowned poet, author and motivational speaker, Varion Se7en the Poet Howard is progressing mind frames in a style and flare that is all his own. He is an outstanding storyteller who entices with prose perfectly pitched to the voice and rhythm of todays society. Se7ens poetry has the ability to pull the chords of our souls making us laugh, cry and look deep within. This undeniable ability truly makes him a rare jewel. Se7en is developing a platform not only to inspire but to be inspired. He is constantly elevating himself not only through poetic art forms but also through his community outreach and ability to positively influence others.

Originating from Houston's Southside, Se7ens prominent and prolific voice has established him as a sought after speaker and entertainer. Se7en - Houstons motivational diamond in the rough - is a graduate of Prairie View A&M University with undergraduate dual degrees in Psychology and Social Work and a Masters degree in Counseling.

His upbringing, educational background and passion for his community give way for him to speak on life as it evolves. He creates unforgettable moments with poems like the Jesus Piece as well as raw, edgy, uncut poems like Toy Story. His versatility, humility, and fierce stage presence captivates audiences and leaves them with thought provoking conversation pieces. Each one of Se7ens albums includes a generous mix of soulful and conscientious poetry that delves into issues affecting everyday life and leads audiences to think introspectively about personal issues and experiences that affect them such as inspiration, envy, faith and love. Se7en's infectious stage presence coupled with his intellect has positioned him to change the way people experience poetry and spoken word. "My goal is to bring poetry to the fore of entertainment. I want people to recognize poetry as a genre of entertainment that not only stands alone, but stands the test of time.

Continuing to brand his raw and riveting talent of words and insight, Se7en is featured on season 3 of the NAACP Image Award nominated Lexus Versus and Flow show premiering September 11, 2013 on TV One.

Se7en is the proprietor and host of the longest running open mic poetry set in Houston Texas. Poetic verses and the experience of spoken word can be heard weekly at Poetry Lounge Sundays at Bam Bou in Rice Village.