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Gumball Machine Poetry and a Philly Soul: LindoYes's Sweet Treats for the Mind

Jan 29, 2024 02:00PM ● By Anand Subramanian

Image: LindoYes. Source:

It's time to forget sticky fingers and sweet tooth overload. In the artistic streets of Philadelphia, a different kind of treat is being dished out: tiny bursts of poetry and unexpected solace, courtesy of artist-activist LindoYes and his "Gumball Project."

LindoYes, a name that rolls off the tongue like a smooth rhyme, is more than just a poet. Uptown Philly, born and bred, weaves spoken word magic, designs clothes that speak volumes and throws events that pulse with life. His art? Think fireworks of theatrical poetics and visual explosions, tackling big themes like love, manhood, and the raw realities of being Black in America. 

LindoYes is different from your average artist. He's a Philadelphia whirlwind, a vibrant tapestry woven from spoken word verses, theatrical flourishes, and a profound artistic soul. Born and raised in Uptown Philly, his voice resonates with the city's gritty spirit, tackling themes of love, masculinity, and the complexities of the Black experience with unflinching honesty and lyrical beauty. 

Imagine Def Poetry Jam electrifying an Ivy League lecture hall. That's LindoYes. His words have graced stages from the legendary Def Jam to prestigious universities like Bucknell and Haverford, leaving audiences breathless and hearts pounding. 

He's more than just a poet; he's an artist, an activist, a teacher, and a friend. LindoYes is Philly personified, a vibrant kaleidoscope of creativity and compassion, reminding us that even in the grittiest corners, hope can bloom, one poem, one button, one gumball at a time.

Now, we are going to paint a vivid picture.

If you will, a bright red machine tucked away in a corner bodega or a bustling community center. It beckons you, not with sugary promises, but with the possibility of something more. You crank the handle, anticipation crackling in the air. Instead of a rubbery cherry, out pops a tiny capsule, and a rainbow bursts against the steel. Inside? Not gum, but a poem. A small, hand-written ode to resilience, a whispered encouragement penned by LindoYes himself.

And then, the pièce de résistance: a card bearing the number for Philadelphia's 24/7 mental health hotline. This simple act speaks volumes about LindoYes's understanding of his community. He knows mental health struggles can be isolating and overwhelming, and by making help readily available, he's tearing down barriers and offering a lifeline.

 Gumball Machine at Bok Buliding, Philadelphia. Source: Screencap from Community Embrace: The Story of the LindoYes Poetry Gumball MachinesYoutube | LindoYes

The Gumball Project isn't just an art installation; it's a love letter to Philly, a poem etched in candy colors and whispered through verses. It's a testament to art's power to heal, connect, and spark change. It's a reminder that hope can be found in the most unexpected places, dispensed in bright, candy-coated capsules, one poem, one pin, one phone number at a time.

Making a colorful gumball machine, reminiscent of childhood, a focal point of the public-awareness project stems from the idea to make a serious issue like mental illness more approachable.

Here is a video for you folks to check out - Community Embrace: The Story of the LindoYes Poetry Gumball Machines

So, the next time you find yourself navigating the streets of Philly, keep your eyes peeled for these unassuming gumball machines. They might dispense a bit of unexpected magic, courtesy of LindoYes and his candy-coated crusade for hope.

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 Anand Subramanian is a freelance photographer and content writer based out of Tamil Nadu, India. Having a background in Engineering always made him curious about life on the other side of the spectrum. He leapt forward towards the Photography life and never looked back. Specializing in Documentary and  Portrait photography gave him an up-close and personal view into the complexities of human beings and those experiences helped him branch out from visual to words. Today he is mentoring passionate photographers and writing about the different dimensions of the art world.

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