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Saul Williams

About this Artist

Saul Williams has been breaking ground since his debut album, Amethyst Rock Star, was released in 2001, executive produced by Rick Rubin. After gaining global fame for his poetry and writings at the turn of the century, Williams has performed in over 30 countries and read in over 300 universities, with invitations from the White House, the Sydney Opera House, Lincoln Center, the Louvre, the Getty Center, and Queen Elizabeth Hall to countless villages, townships, community centers, and prisons across the world. The Newburgh, New York, native gained a BA from Morehouse and an MFA from Tisch and has gone on to collaborate with artists like Nine Inch Nails, Allen Ginsburg, Kanye West, Nas, Janelle Monáe, Rage Against The Machine, The Roots, Mos Def, The Mars Volta, Gil Scott-Heron, TV On The Radio, System Of A Down, KRS ONE, Matisyahu, Blackalicious, K'naan, K-OS, Erykah Badu, Massive Attack, A Tribe Called Red, Tanya Tagaq, Gonjasufi, Moor Mother, Petite Noir, Christian Scott, Ted Hearne, BCUC, Gael Faye, and more.

As an actor, Saul was a series regular as “Sivad” on the CW's Girlfriends and has appeared in a handful of films, including K-Pax, Lackawanna Blues, New York, I Love You, and most recently the French-Senegalese Aujourd’hui-TEY (dir. Alain Gomis), which won 2013’s L’Etalon D’Or at FESPACO, where Saul was the first African American to win Best Actor in the largest and oldest African film festival. TEY was also awarded The Prize of the City at The Venice Film Festival. In 2014, Saul made his Broadway debut as the lead in Broadway’s first hip-hop musical, Holler If Ya Hear Me, based on the lyrics and poetry of Tupac Shakur. He stars in the film Akilla’s Escape, which premiered at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival and is currently finishing up his directorial debut Neptune Frost.

Saul has published five books of poetry, which have been translated into several languages. Saul’s writings and lesson plans surrounding his work have been added to the curriculum of schools and universities around the world.

His most recent musical release, Encrypted & Vulnerable, is the first album he’s ever categorized as “spoken word” and is the second in a series of three albums and part of the multi-tiered MartyrLoserKing project. The album is self-produced by Williams, mixed by Warp artist Gonjasufi, and features contributions from Dave Sitek, My Brightest Diamond, Grammy-winning trumpet player Christian Scott, astrophysicist Bianca Rhym, producer King Britt, Orko Eloheim, Thavius Beck, CX KiDTRONiK, Paul Whiteman, and Lippie. The album also acts as the score to Neptune Frost, executive produced by Stephen Hendel, which is about African hackers living in a village made of upcycled computer parts. Of the album, Williams explains: “Encrypted & Vulnerable is simultaneously a personal and intimately optimistic takedown on struggle, defiance, awareness, and aloneness, and a takedown of heteronormative capitalistic patriarchal authoritarian politics in topics ranging from love, technology, religion, and war to migration.”