YPI Spotlight: Zhanai Wallace

In August, we’re shining the YPI Spotlight on Poetic Insight favourite and YP Insight Family member, Zhanai Wallace, who has come to understand who she is through her beautiful poetry and spoken word.

Young People Insight… where do I even start?

During a hard time in my life in 2018, I saw a flier advertising Poetic Insight at Project B, and with a deep passion for poetry, and at the time feeling as though it was my only escape, my dad and I decided to attend this open mic night. This night brought me out of the dark into the light.

I walked in with no intention to perform or ever perform – but I was so inspired I had goosebumps from head to toe, my fingers were nearly falling off from the amount of clicks and I had eyes glazed with tears – and by the end of the night, I was itching to get on that stage. The person I will always remember is in fact Annotate – he performed a story styled poem about his dad and for the rest of the night I was speechless.

These vibes brought me back to the YPI stage a couple of months later where I became known for my poem ‘Supernova’. From then onwards, Shaniqua developed endless opportunities for me and grew a passion that I’ve had since the age of four into something bigger – a weapon that I can use to not damage but inspire. From then onwards, I became a familiar face in the poetry scene, I have now performed at three festivals, a homeless shelter, my school, various open mic stages and became an ambassador for Croydon Council through writing a poem for their culture and arts bid.

The future holds so much like my published book, my own show and for people to know of Zhanai, all thanks to the passion I felt sitting in the audience of a YPI show. I endlessly thank Shaniqua and the poets that performed that night.

I am Zhanai. It’s taken me a long time to understand what that means to myself and the world. From the age of four, poetry has helped me to determine who I am, but from the age of 15, spoken  word has helped shine a light on who Zhanai is to the world.

I am eternally grateful for poetry and the people who build platforms for aspiring inspirations like me. A perfect example of a person like that is Shaniqua, so thank you!

Remember to follow your passion and take control by feeding your soul with what you love, in my case it’s poetry and hearing clicks.

Keep updated on my poetic posts and quotes on my –
Instagram: @zha011
Twitter: @Zhanai13

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