This month we’re starting a new segment called YPI Spotlight, where we shine the spotlight on a member of the YP Insight Family, giving them the opportunity to speak about their involvement with YPI and the great things they’re getting up to. First up is Poetic Insight veteran and long time YP Insight Family member, Annotate, who is doing great things in the world of poetry.
Where do I start? Well, firstly, I want to say it’s a pleasure to be the first entry into this, now monthly, segment for the Young People Insight blog. I hope I can do this initiative justice and “use this as a Launch Pad to deliver Power Points” through blogging.
You see what I did there? The Last Stand, my recent poem, you know? The one where I include a John Cena reference? You remember, right? I hope you do. Anyway! On a more serious note, thank you, Shaniqua, for the opportunity.
Over the last two+ years, I have had the pleasure of performing at a number of Poetic Insight events run by the founder of Young People Insight, the extremely talented and dedicated, Shaniqua Benjamin. What many of you don’t know, however, is that Poetic Insight is essentially where I got my start! I was, let’s just say, a little rough around the edges (okay, a lot rough around the edges) and was very nervous about finding new spaces to perform in.
I had become accustomed to performing at events where I didn’t expect much in terms of audience reception, which at the time, made me comfortable and less anxious. In 2017, I decided it was time to try something new and attended – along with another incredible performer, Khattab the Poet – Poetic Insight for the very first time. And let me tell you, I left that event feeling like a new poet! The talent on display was of another level.
That night, I was introduced to a lyrical display from fellow poet, Sid, whose stage presence simply blew me away. And he was just one of many fantastic performers on hand at the event. I can honestly say, that Poetic Insight event left me feeling both inspired and motivated to become an even better poet and performer.
Fast-forward to 2019, and I have, all praise be to God, been blessed with the opportunity to commence my own poetry platform, known as, Just Rhyme, perform in various venues across the UK, including places in London, Birmingham, and Luton, and have released a number of spoken word poetry videos on YouTube – some of which have garnered upwards of 5,000 views!
So, my people! Make sure you check out my latest release, Street Tales, on YouTube now, a short poetry film that explores the consequences of gun crime and the devastating impact it has on the family of its victims.
In addition to holding my own event, I also have a weekly podcast with Just Nayeem, where we discuss relevant issues revolving around our youth and what solutions there are for supporting young people in our communities, and that’s not to mention the fact that we have an incredible guest on the show each week. The Outspoken Podcast is available to listen to now on SoundCloud and Castbox, and if you’d prefer to view the podcast, it is also available to watch on YouTube.
Lastly, I invite you all to attend the next Just Rhyme event on March 23rd, headlined by some outstanding poets, including Vala, Patchy, Luke AG, Makeda and The Smiling Akh! And that’s not all, every open mic performer will have a chance to headline the following Just Rhyme event should the audience vote them their favourite on the evening.
Once again, thank you Shaniqua for featuring me on YP Insight Spotlight. I hope I’ve provided just a small idea of why Young People Insight is an initiative truly worth supporting and celebrating.