On sunny Sunday afternoons you may have been riding bikes at Green Lake, taking walks, or lounging in a chair in your back yard but what you’ll soon find out is that the youth representing Youth Speaks Seattle’s Brave New Voices team has been hard at work. They have been delicately workshopping their crafted spoken word poems.
Our team this year consists of Darius, Kim, Carlynn, Addie, and Acacia. They are youth represented from all corners of Seattle. If you ever get a chance to hear in on our meetings, you would hear enlightening conversation, repetition of words that had been left unsaid, and booms of laughter. Three words when I think of the slam team are exuberant, fanatical, and fresh. They bring social consciousness to an awareness and are the next visionaries.
During one of the practices, some questions brought up to ask a poet while workshopping is “What was your purpose for writing this piece?” or “Who were you specifically writing this poem to?”
Carlynn answered, “I write poetry to bring awareness for acceptance in this world. There are so many cultures that we all need to find acceptance of others and need to understand each other.”
Addie added, “We need to notice what is happening. I think a lot of people ‘try’ to make better of the past but we need to keep moving forward.”
“In our [collaborated] poem about Freddie Gray, we said ‘history repeats itself,’ we [as people] are firm believers of the past and need to make presence toward the future to be present,” Carlynn stated.
Slam preparation meetings are not only eye opening but also about self-discovery.
Youth Speaks alumni and mentor, Dako’ta Alcantara-Camancho came through last week to help give pointers about poetry through their perspective.
It wasn’t until Kim shared her poem about male rappers, a poem she wrote to male rappers and the rap industry; she raps as she shares it and it is always mind blowing each time. Once she shared her poem, Dako’ta suggested to test different mediums and added a beat into the mix. Kim then added her poem to the beat and that was when gears started to turn. We found out that not only was Kim a poet but she was secretly a rapper in the making.
We also have moments of stand-up comedy in the making as well. Darius is a clever minded and fresh thinker of turning slam poetry into moments of laughter- a difficult approach to spoken word. After you’ll hear his poem, “Five Minute Naps” you will think twice about closing your eyes from sleep deprivation. Darius’s style of poetry is the kind that you can listen to after a rough day because it’s extremely hilarious and will have your lungs expand from the charming charisma he brings on stage. It will literally knock your socks off.
During our meetings, there are also moments of vulnerability in which sharing poetry causes. Acacia wrote a beautiful poem in honor of her grandmother. The poem bridges and is relatable to the many relationships we have to our elders and ancestors. It not only makes you reflect but also causes you to tear up because of her delicately crafted words. She had also wrote a lettered response to the song “Black Boy Fly,” by rapper Kendrick Lamar which gives you thoughts to reflect upon.
With the amazing support of community from mentors, alumni, and friends this amazing team of revolutionaries wouldn’t been able to represent Seattle in Atlanta, Georgia this year for Brave New Voices.
Please support the team and get a peep at what poems will be shared on stage at Brave New Voices this year by attending our Send Off Show on Friday July 10th, 2015 at the Vera Project (7- 10 pm.)
Christina Nguyen is a Legacy Spokes Leader and BNV Assistant Coach