Freedom to Speak at Poetic Insight

Poetic Insight returned on March 28th for another inspiring night of poetry and spoken word from a group of talented young individuals. With no theme this month, we were treated to young people speaking their mind on a variety of topics.

Rhianna reminded us how hurtful our words can be to others, while Tony dropped some deep poetry about oppression.  Faith was an element throughout – Aaron let us know that Jesus has his back and Jack told us that we’re all beautiful because we’re made in God’s image.

Two of the most memorable moments of the night came from Alana, who expressed how sagging pants corrode our eyes, and Sid, who finished off the night strong with a spoken word piece touching on Islamaphobia, Syria and the USA.

I want to say a big thank you to Rhianna, Aaron, Alana, Tony, Jack, Melvis, Gamma Kid and Sid for making the night so special.  These events would not be possible without you.

A poem shared at the beginning of the night was sent in from Nina, a young person in Bosnia, who wrote about the anniversary of an artillery attack on Tuzla during the Bosnian war.  Here it is for you to read:

The Gate

The sky is grey today.
And it will never
be bright on this day.
I am gray today.

A place that always calms me
is now on my mind.
The air is evaporating
and I can’t breathe.

My heart is cramping
the bone in the throat is enormous,
my town is silent today,
as it was once…

Silent, quietly remembering
the beauty of colorful faces
the white skies and bright smiles.
Someone dared to destroy that.

I’m not here
but I feel something
missing in my heart
I feel a cramp.

How much more families would it have?
Would I meet their children,
maybe play with them?
Would I love?

I don’t know.

But it hurts that the clarity of my town
Was destroyed by a gray cloud and strong lightning,
and there was only liquid.
Are they not sorry?

Are they not thinking of the beauty of the taken souls,
the smiles so bright and sunny?
How can they not see
that they are the stain they pretend to clean?

My town aches me today
and the last thing I want to do is sing.
But that is the only way
I can show myself crying.

The next Poetic Insight will be on April 25th.  Like this month, there won’t be a theme, so let your creative juices flow and feel free to speak your mind on anything you want.  If you want to perform, email me at

Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following @youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, liking Young People Insight on Facebook and subscribing to the Young People Insight YouTube channel.

How Would You Define Freedom of Speech?

Freedom of speech was the topic of conversation at the YP Insight forum on March 21st, and as you can probably imagine, it was an intriguing and thought-provoking one.  With all of us having the freedom of speech, the conversation jumped from one topic to another throughout, but that’s what made it all the more fun.

I started by asking, how would you define freedom of speech?  Responses included:

  • “The freedom to say what you want, when you want.” – Kyle
  • “It’s when you can say whatever you want and not be chastised for it… But it’s very difficult in this world.” – Alana
  • There’s no true freedom of speech, as everybody’s vetting themselves.  We have to be careful about what we say now. – Steven
  • “I don’t think it’s that free.” – Rhianna

Hakeem brought in a different element, expressing that some people are more free than others and that it all depends on who you are, as the more people that are watching, the less the freedom of speech.

We then spoke about whether we think freedom of speech has its limits.  Rhianna thinks that there are limitations, because we have to think about what we say, as there are things we can say that someone won’t like.

Jason thinks that it depends on what the message is, while Alana believes that there are limits according to a person’s status or appearance.  Hakeem said that it’s all changed, especially with social media, which many of us agreed with.

Steven made a great point, saying that it’s now pushed for us to be politically correct that freedom of speech is limited.  He added, “I don’t vet [I say].  I just think whether it’s worth it.”  However, Steven believes that what you think and what you say should be two different things.  Jason also made reference to vetting, as he said that we all have to vet what we say, but a lot of that vetting is subconscious.

When I asked if freedom of speech is even a reality anymore, responses back included:

  • “You’ve got to pick something.” – Steven
  • “I feel the freedom of speech is slowly coming into reality – more people are having an open mind and seeing that the media is a lie.” – Alana

This led on to us speaking about the differences in culture and how culture may have an effect on what we say.  We also spoke about the differences between what we might say in public and behind closed doors, which led to Jason saying, “To say something and knowing you shouldn’t be saying it is an inner conflict.”

My final question for the night was, how can we encourage freedom of speech?  Alana thinks it through authenticity and being yourself, but Hakeem doesn’t think that you can because of the way society is – “A lot of people are afraid to speak, because of the consequences.”

However, Jason thinks that freedom of speech starts within and that some people are not free at all.  Kyle backed up this point in a sense and made a great statement of his own, saying, “You can’t tell me what to say.  I’ll say what I want… If you can’t say what you want, you’re not really free.”

We’ll be back on April 18th when we’ll be talking Synthetic Beauty vs Natural Beauty from 6.30-8.30pm in Project B.  This is set to generate a whole lot of questions and raise a variety of points, so come chill with us and join the conversation while we munch on some snacks.  And don’t forget to tell a friend to tell a friend.

Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following @youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, liking Young People Insight on Facebook and subscribing to the Young People Insight YouTube channel.

Introducing You to Our YouTube Channel

One of the things I’ve mentioned a number of times on this blog is starting a Young People Insight YouTube channel, but I think I may have failed to mention that the channel has been set up!  You can now enjoy the visual element of YP Insight, as well as the written element, which is what I’ve always wanted.

If you couldn’t make it to the first Poetic Insight of 2017 or if you want to re-live some of the amazing poetry, you can catch some of the best bits here.

If you want more, here are some more of the best bits, but be aware that these are just a little more explicit.

And if that wasn’t enough, you can now catch half of the performances from last month’s Poetic Insight.

Part 2 will be coming soon with the rest of the performances, so keep an eye out for that.  In the meantime, enjoy watching these videos as many times as you want and please subscribe to our YouTube channel, Young People Insight.

See you next Tuesday at Project B for the youth forum and then on March 28th for this month’s Poetic Insight.



Info for March’s YP Insight Forum & Poetic Insight

We’re into March, my favourite month of the year, solely because of my love for college basketball in the USA and that beautiful thing called March Madness.  It’s not about college basketball here at Young People Insight, but I’m looking forward to all that we’ve got coming up all the same.

On March 21st, we’ll be discussing Freedom of Speech at the YP Insight forum, as requested by Jamal.  With opinions being blasted and an increase in sensitivity, it seems that freedom of speech does not really mean the freedom to speak anymore, unless what we say makes the masses happy or comfortable.

We’ll be asking how you define freedom of speech.  Does it have its limits?  Does it even exist anymore?  And as always, come ready with your own questions, as they take the discussions in interesting directions I never would have thought of.

So if you’re 16-25, come down to Project B from 6.30-8.30pm to join in the conversation at the YP Insight forum.  If you want to let us know you’re coming down, register here:

Speaking of freedom of speech, this month’s Poetic Insight won’t have a theme, so every poet will have the freedom to speak out on whatever subject matter they choose.  It’s bound to make the night a whole lot more interesting and provide new insight into each young individual.  If you want to perform, just send an email to or message me 07910092565.

Come and enjoy an inspiring night of poetry with us on March 28th, when we’ll actually be back at Project B, due to unforeseen circumstances.  Doors open at 7pm, with performances starting at 7.15pm and the event concluding at about 9pm.  If you plan on coming down, get your free tickets here:

Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following @youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, and liking Young People Insight on Facebook .

Poetic Insight: Love & Hate

On Tuesday 28th February, it was time for the ‘Love & Hate’ edition of Poetic Insight, bringing dsc_0049together more special young talent who made their voices heard
through poetry and spoken word.

It was a beautiful night, filled with sultry sayings, emotional dsc_0024expressions and wonderful words.  Different ideals of love or hate,
sometimes love and hate combined.  Everyone brought a different element to the evening, especially the first time performers, who we welcome with open arms to Poetic Insight.  Most of all though, love filled the room as we all supported each other.

The night would not have been possible without Mr Grimez, Sh’kira, Rhianna, Emili, Josephine, Jeffery, Tony, Abigail, Nyasha, Jennelle and Melvis.  They were all amazing and I’m so thankful to them for performing.


However, a few days later, I got inspired by the word hate myself, as I found myself reading about a case of injustice that brought home why I hate injustice all over again.  I was driven to write a poem, which I would like to share with you:

Words cannot express how much I hate injustice,

Words cannot express how much I despise cruelty,

How much it makes my blood boil;

Words cannot express,

Instead my body manifests;

Lips twitching,

Fists clenching,

Head shaking,

Heart racing,

Eyes spilling

With salty tears.

Forced to face

A human race

Turning into feral, savage creatures,

Forced to watch a system



Almost broken beyond repair.

Notice I said almost,

Because there’s still good out there,

Something can be done;

Let’s make our voices heard,

Create ripples of change,

Flip the bird

To those saying we can’t;

Cos we can’t let injustice persist,

Cruelty endure

And those in authority

Abuse power as they wish.

No more banning immigrants,

Killing black men,

Wrongly incarcerating youths of colour;

Forcing life-changing decisions on us,

Judging by race or gender,

Hating the unfamiliar.

We’re human beings,

We should be better than this,

Fighting for the good of each other;

Spreading love,

Re-igniting hope,

Righting wrongs of the past

For our present and future.


The next Poetic Insight will be on March 28th.  This time around, there is no theme, so let your creative juices flow and feel free to speak your mind on anything you want.  If you want to perform, email me at

Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following @youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, and liking Young People Insight on Facebook .